Public Participation in Archaeology

Public Participation in Archaeology

Suzie Thomas
Joanne Lea
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 219
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt5vj829
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Public Participation in Archaeology
    Book Description:

    Across the world public archaeology, the way in which it is understood as well as the way it is practised or delivered, has many facets. In some countries it is not only unknown, but is actively discouraged; in many other places it has been embraced fully and is considered normal practice, whether this appears in the form of so-called "community archaeology", active school and college programmes, (re)thinking the strategies of museums, or as simply encouraging on-site visits and demonstrations during archaeological fieldwork. However, in a difficult economic climate public archaeology is often adversely affected; funding cuts can mean changes in priorities for heritage organisations and local and national governments, and even to the loss of entire projects. This volume examines the various facets of public archaeology practice globally, and the factors which are currently affecting it, together with the question of how different publics and communities engage with their archaeological heritage. With case studies from across the globe, ranging from Canada to Turkmenistan and from Ireland to Argentina, it presents a contemporary snapshot of public participation in archaeology, covering both successful initiatives and the threats posed to such opportunities by local, regional and global changes. Particular strands addressed are international models; archaeology and education; archaeology and tourism; and site management and conservation. Joanne Lea is an educator with the Trillium Lakelands District School Board in Ontario, Canada. Suzie Thomas is University Lecturer in Museology at the University of Helsinki. Contributors: Shatha Abu-Khafajah, Crystal B. Alegria, Arwa Badran, Michael Brody, Blanca A. Camargo, Joëlle Clark, Mike Corbishley, Jolene Debert, Gaigysyz Jorayev, Thomas Kador, Sophie Lampe, Joanne Lea, Lilia L. Lizama Aranda, Cathy MacDonald, Natalia Mazzia, Alicia Ebbitt McGill, Jeanne M. Moe, Theano Moussouri, Aino Nissinaho, Alejandra Pupio, Virginia Salerno, Dinç Saraç, Tuija-Liisa Soininen, Suzie Thomas,

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-301-0
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
    Suzie Thomas and Joanne Lea
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Peter Stone
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)
    Joanne Lea and Suzie Thomas

    Public participation in archaeology has been an ongoing facet of humanity’s interaction with its past, rather than a recent discovery. It has included a range of activity, from millennia of grave robbing, translating in the present time to criminal looting and trafficking of antiquities (Brodieet al2000), through to the foundation of learned antiquarian societies that organised excavation outings for members and spectators at the mounds, barrows and tells of their choosing (Renfrew and Bahn 2004, 31). It was the 20th-century development of archaeology as an academic pursuit and profession, as more than a hobby, which imposed a divide...

  8. Public Participation in Archaeology:: International Models

    • 1 From ‘Telling’ to ‘Consulting’: A Perspective on Museums and Modes of Public Engagement
      (pp. 11-22)
      Theano Moussouri

      ‘Communication’, ‘education’, ‘learning’, ‘outreach’, ‘participation’ and ‘engagement’ are all terms that have been used when referring to the public–archaeology interface. The terminology issue reflects both the diversity of understandings of the public engagement field and of the approaches that exist. This, in turn, reflects the diverse theoretical backgrounds of the researchers and ‘practitioners’ who work in this field, the remit of whom is to develop and understand the relationship between the public and the content, methods, processes and practices used to study the past through archaeology. Despite the differences, a common thread in all of the definitions and approaches...

    • 2 Making Archaeological Heritage Accessible in Great Britain: Enter Community Archaeology
      (pp. 23-34)
      Suzie Thomas

      This chapter provides an overview of the way in which archaeology has been presented, interpreted and made available to the wider public in Great Britain – England, Scotland and Wales – over the past few years.¹ The chapter begins by examining briefly the phenomenon of ‘community archaeology’ in Great Britain; a term which in recent decades has, arguably, become synonymous with public participation in British archaeological heritage. What this means in the British context is explored below. Some examples are given of participation, both community-led and organisation-initiated; recent changes to the landscape of archaeology in Great Britain are presented, and...

    • 3 Public and Community Archaeology – an Irish Perspective
      (pp. 35-48)
      Thomas Kador

      Ideally this chapter would provide a ‘definitive’ summary of ‘where things are at’ with public and community archaeology on the island of Ireland in the second decade of the 21st century. Unfortunately however, much of the necessary information to produce such a summary – akin to Thomas’ (2010) review for British community archaeology (and see Thomas, Chapter 2) – is not available for Ireland. Therefore I will instead provide a background on doing public and community archaeology in Ireland. This is important, as the Irish situation (in both Northern Ireland and the Republic) is very different from that in England,...

    • 4 The Scope and Potential for Community Archaeology in the Netherlands
      (pp. 49-60)
      Sophie Lampe

      As an archaeologist who sees archaeology as a product, and who loves to share history with people rather than keeping archaeology for future generations, I became interested in an approach to archaeology that shares cultural heritage with people. My goal was to identify an approach to archaeology that would allow people to interact with their past in the ways they wanted to. I learned about the concept of ‘community archaeology’ and was faced with a question: is there a demand, and are there possibilities, for community archaeology in the Netherlands? Most of the results presented in this chapter are based...

    • 5 Public Archaeology as a Reflexive Practice: An Argentine Case Study in the Pampean Region
      (pp. 61-70)
      Natalia Mazzia, Virginia Salerno and Alejandra Pupio

      In this chapter we summarise the development of public archaeology in Argentina, discussing some of the difficulties encountered and introducing, by way of an example, the work of the Grupo de Arqueología en las Pampas (GAP). The GAP is comprised of 17 people, including professional archaeologists and students. Their goal is to share the results of archaeological research carried out in three towns of the Buenos Aires province in Argentina: Bahía Blanca, Necochea and Chascomús (see Fig 5.1). Based on their population sizes, these are classed as small and mid-scale towns.¹

      The communities of the three towns are culturally diverse...

  9. Public Participation in Archaeology Through Education

    • 6 Accessing Archaeology in the School System: Powerful Partnerships – a Case Study of the Challenges and Rewards for Archaeologists, Teachers and Students (Canada)
      (pp. 73-80)
      Cathy MacDonald

      My first experience of archaeology education began with a day-long field trip to Sainte Marie-among-the-Hurons, a recreated 17th-century Jesuit mission in Ontario, Canada. Originally, I thought of the visit as a reward for diligent students in my ‘Ancient Civilisations’ secondary school course. Fortunately, it turned out to be an ideal opportunity for us to learn outside the walls of the traditional classroom. From that humble beginning evolved a completely revised, fully accredited high school course in archaeology and, most recently, a board-wide programme in archaeology for elementary school students. It would not have happened without developing powerful partnerships. This case...

    • 7 Hook ’em When They’re Young: Using Enquiry-Based Learning Workshops in Archaeology
      (pp. 81-88)
      Jolene Debert

      The inspiration for this chapter has come from the observations of several years of public participatory archaeology seminars and workshops in both the UK and Canada. The audiences of these sessions have varied from school groups aged between 12 and 19 to prospective archaeology students, their families and undergraduate archaeology students. This chapter will describe the development of three different workshops, their trials and possible future developments. The ultimate goal is to share good practice and encourage other archaeologists to seek out public interaction as a means of enriching both the discipline and the public’s understanding of archaeology.

      Archaeology has...

    • 8 Archaeology as Culturally Relevant Science Education: The Poplar Forest Slave Cabin
      (pp. 89-104)
      Michael Brody, Jeanne M Moe, Joëlle Clark and Crystal B Alegria

      While archaeology is not typically taught as a school subject (Kindergarten through to 12th Grade; ages 5–18 years), it is proving to be effective for teaching and learning in upper elementary grades in the United States of America (USA) and Canada (Smardz and Smith 2000). Because archaeology is interdisciplinary, teachers can use it to integrate usually unrelated subjects such as science, social studies, history, language arts and mathematics within traditional schooling contexts (and see MacDonald, Chapter 6). Historic preservation is an important part of archaeological practice and the issues of preservation, such as mitigating the threats that development poses...

    • 9 Heritage Education in Jordanian Schools: For Knowledge or Profit?
      (pp. 105-116)
      Arwa Badran

      Halfway through the interview, the author posed a question to the teacher: ‘So, do you think that our archaeological heritage is important?’ The teacher answered with confidence: ‘Of course!’, and went on to explain: ‘Our archaeological heritage is more expensive than oil … It has to be preserved, it brings hard currency through tourism into the country …’ (Teacher R 2005,pers comm).

      The teacher’s response was alarming. Questions were beginning to arise: why has she focused so much attention on the benefits of archaeology to tourism? Is there a link between what she taught and the curriculum aims and...

  10. Public Participation in Archaeology Through Tourism

    • 10 Politics, Archaeology and Education: Ancient Merv, Turkmenistan
      (pp. 119-128)
      Mike Corbishley and Gaigysyz Jorayev

      Turkmenistan is a large country (as large as Spain; more than twice the size of the United Kingdom), sparsely populated (4–5 million people, according to unofficial estimates) and predominantly covered by one of the world’s largest deserts. In summer the temperature is rarely below 35°C and can reach 50°C in the desert; in the winter it can drop to -20°C. Turkmenistan also has different landscapes, ranging from mountains to fertile oases.

      Immediately before 1991, Turkmenistan was one of a number of the Soviet provinces which then became republics. The borders of modern Turkmenistan were drawn in the 1920s as...

    • 11 Situating Public Archaeology in Crooked Tree, Belize
      (pp. 129-138)
      Alicia Ebbitt McGill

      In north-central Belize, less than one hour from the Caribbean coast, is the village of Crooked Tree. Tropical trees of bright yellows, pinks and purples line the two-lane highway from the airport to the village ‘roadside’, where a sign marks the only way of accessing the community by ground transportation: a 3.5 mile bumpy, dirt and loose-stone causeway crossing the Crooked Tree lagoon. Crooked Tree is an Afro-Caribbean community located on an island surrounded by seasonal lagoons. These lagoons are part of a complex wetlands environment that includes rivers, creeks, savannahs and logwood thickets and is home to a diversity...

    • 12 Access to Archaeological Heritage in Mexico: Its Impact on Public Participation in Archaeology
      (pp. 139-146)
      Lilia L Lizama Aranda and Blanca A Camargo

      In Mexico, and particularly in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula, archaeological heritage has a solid presence in the lives of the public. Although not strong, the relationship, interaction and participation of the public with its archaeological heritage are being encouraged in several ways, through pedagogic initiatives, government–private industry alliances, heritage tourism and online dissemination, including social networks. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the initiatives undertaken to promote access to archaeology, paying particular attention to heritage tourism, which is not only an important revenue generator for archaeological conservation but also a medium for...

  11. Public Participation in Archaeology Through Site Management and Conservation

    • 13 ‘They are hiding it … Why do they hide it? From whom, and for whom?’ Community Heritage at Work in the Post-Colonial Context of Jordan
      (pp. 149-160)
      Shatha Abu-Khafajah

      Within the context of Jordan, the term ‘heritage’ is verbally and mentally more approachable for lay people than the term ‘archaeology’. Thus, in this chapter, community heritage is used interchangeably with community archaeology to describe a discipline that explores people’s engagement with material of the past. Basically, community archaeology ‘create[s] an open, participatory and rational-critical debate, which is presumably the only way to integrate public opinions into decisions about archaeology’ (Matsuda 2004, 66). This critical engagement with contemporary issues, using a participatory approach, enhances archaeological theories and practices related to heritage management, given that ‘archaeological theory falls short in addressing...

    • 14 Site Management in Turkey
      (pp. 161-174)
      Dinç Saraç

      In 2004, significant changes were made to the 1983Law on the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Properties(no 2863), the principal law pertaining to all heritage sites in Turkey. Among these changes was the inclusion of the novel (for Turkey) concept of site management. The aims, scope, administrative and legal grounds associated with site management were proposed in a 2005 Regulation (Regulation on the Substance and Procedures of the Establishment and Duties of Site Management and Monument Council, and the Identification of Management Sites 2005; hereafter, referred to as the Regulation for Site Management). Specifically, this 2005 Regulation seeks...

    • 15 Adopt a Monument: Social Meaning from Community Archaeology
      (pp. 175-182)
      Aino Nissinaho and Tuija-Liisa Soininen

      The social significance of archaeology is an issue that has attracted a great deal of attention in archaeological circles in recent years. At a time when the world is becoming increasingly technological and constructed, it seems that both history and archaeology are gaining importance in the experiential sphere. According to the German journalist and archaeological writer Dieter Kapff, people no longer seek information or training as part of an all-round education; instead, the main motivation is to be entertained (Kapff 2004). Regardless of one’s views on this matter, it is certain that archaeology has great entertainment value (Holtorf 2007). The...

    • 16 Public Archaeology in Canada
      (pp. 183-194)
      Joanne Lea

      The structure under which archaeology in Canada is governed and undertaken is fragmented due to history, geography and venue of practice (eg academia, avocational organisation, museum, private company). Canada is a multicultural and bilingual society by law (Canadian Multiculturalism Act(RSC, 1985, c 24);Official Languages ActRSC, 1988, c 31), with different linguistic and cultural regions. As a result, the jurisdiction for cultural heritage has been safeguarded regionally, ie at the provincial or territorial level (Moore 1997, 126, 238). There are ten provinces and three territories, each of which has separate heritage legislation and guidelines for archaeology. Museums, universities...

  12. List of Contributors
    (pp. 195-200)
  13. Index
    (pp. 201-206)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 207-209)