To an archaeologist, the past is over and must be reconstructed through its material remains; to indigenous peoples, it is often still alive.
Due in part to the spirit of post–processualism, some archaeologists have begun to actively enlist the assistance of indigenous peoples likely to be descended from those under study.
Tribal elders cooperating with archaeologists can prevent the excavation of areas of sites that they consider sacred, while the archaeologists gain the elders' aid in interpreting their discoveries.
Looters damage the integrity of a historic site, deny archaeologists valuable information that would be learnt from excavation, and rob local people of their heritage.
Soon, teams of archaeologists were working around the world, discovering long lost ruins and cities.
The central ethical question facing modern archaeologists, especially in the United States, is how to remain respectful of the descendants whose artifacts are being studied.
Nevertheless, surveying a large region or site can be expensive, and so archaeologists often employ sampling methods.
CRM archaeologists face considerable time pressure, often being forced to complete their work in a fraction of the time that might be allotted for a purely scholarly endeavor.
CRM is a thriving entity, especially in the United States and Europe, where archaeologists from private companies and all levels of government engage in the practice of their discipline.