ABSTRACTS
PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES, DEBATE AND CRITIQUE

Session Abstract

Much recent conversation about 'public archaeology', 'heritage', 'archaeological heritage management', 'cultural resource management', and other terms referring to 'public' archaeological practice has revealed a certain ambiguity about what the term 'public archaeology' means. Is all archaeology inevitably 'public'? Or, are there individual areas of expertise (education, legislative, technological, political, journalistic, performance, museums, tourism, etc.) that are beginning to form a legitimate area of specialized archaeological practice, analogous to geographic, technical, temporal, and other specializations? If this is so, what are the implications of this growing 'specialization', both within archaeology and in terms of public awareness? While there will be an introduction to provide an organizational framework for the session, the session organizers will not set out an a priori definition of what 'Public Archaeology' is or isn't. Rather, individual participants will explore the different goals pursued under the rubric 'Public Archaeology', and will attempt to provide critical and self-reflexive assessments of what we actually do with our 'publics', and, perhaps more importantly, critical examinations of what this work with our publics does, in terms of archaeology as a discipline and in social life more generally. While it is true that archaeology characterized as 'public' is often limited to narrow descriptions of how-tos of engaging the public, the reality is that, worldwide, practitioners of 'public archaeology' (however they define themselves) are increasingly conducting and writing theoretically informed scholarship that goes far beyond the ''practical''. Papers in this session will highlight the nature of this recent work in public archaeology, and different national and regional styles of doing 'public archaeology' (or Heritage, CRM, etc.) will be represented. Active discussion will be a primary feature of this session; papers will be grouped in several sections, interspersed with discussion segments, so that the audience can be included in an exploration of these issues throughout the session.

Individual Paper Abstracts


MC DAVID, Carol (University of Cambridge)
INTRODUCTION TO SESSION AND PAPER -- FROM ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION TO PUBLIC INTERPRETATION: COLLABORATION WITHIN THE DISCIPLINE FOR A BETTER PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY (PHASE ONE)
As the 'public archaeologist' recruited to develop public participation in the archaeology of the Jordan Plantation, my paper will begin a dialogue between two different 'types' of archaeologists (see Ken Brown abstract). I will critically examine whether 'within-archaeology' collaborations can enable archaeologists with different skills, priorities, and temperaments to create public interpretations of archaeology that are both meaningful in local contexts and successful in professional ones. I will also discuss how embedded assumptions about individual authorship and intellectual ownership have played out in this collaborative project. The first part of this paper will also serve as the introduction to the session. (8:00am)


BROWN, Kenneth L. (University of Houston)
FROM ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION TO PUBLIC INTERPRETATION: COLLABORATION WITHIN THE DISCIPLINE FOR A BETTER PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY - PHASE TWO
This second of a two-phase paper (see Carol McDavid abstract) concerns inter-disciplinary collaborations between different 'types' of archaeologists. As the 'research archaeologist' at the Levi Jordan Plantation, I saw, early on, the need for public involvement in this project. Initially I saw this as a way to interpret certain archaeological contexts. I soon learned that involvement of both black and white descendants could lead to radically different questions about the past, and to different ways of looking at continuities between past and present. In Phase One I will discuss the role of public involvement in the research process itself. (8:15am)


MESSENGER, Phyllis Mauch, (Center for Anthropology and Cultural Heritage Education/Hamline) and POHLMAN, Don (Peoples and Cultures Program/Science Museum of Minnesota)
WINDOW ON ÇATALHÖYÜK: PUBLIC ACCESS TO A SCIENTIFIC WORK-IN-PROGRESS
The on-going research project at Çatalhöyük, a world-famous Neolithic site in Turkey, emphasizes the multi-vocal, self-reflexive approaches of an international team of researchers. This paper examines the development of public programs for the Science Museum of Minnesota's "Window on at Çatalhöyük" as access for diverse public audiences to archaeology as a scientific work-in-progress, rather than as a completed investigation. This NSF-funded project focuses on providing museum visitors, web users, and school audiences with a view of archaeology as a dynamic and social process of constructing knowledge, and with an understanding of the tools and perspectives on which that process depends. (8:30am)


HATTON, Alf (Hunterian Museum/University of Glasgow)
AN ETHNOMETHODOLOGICAL STUDY OF STRATEGIC DECISION-MAKING IN UK MUSEUMS
The museums literature is littered with promises of what museums can do, but the reality of museum services to the public seems less expansive. This leads to thinking about museums management: is there a deficiency in training, opportunity, mindset, or something else? Do museums have missions - Yes. So, what is a 'strategic decision' in terms of a museum? This paper will discuss a study in which museum directors in the United Kingdom reveal what they regard as a 'strategic decision'; the results suggest a professional heuristic that operates in both negative and positive ways for their museums. (8:45am)


9:00am **Discussion**


GIBB, James G. (Independent Scholar)
PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGISTS AS TEACHERS AND ACTIVISTS
Debates about the nature of archaeology, its relevance and role in society, often overlook a perhaps too obvious point: archaeologists--people--do archaeology. Any discussion about the field should include a consideration of its practitioners and their relationship to the field and, as professionals, to society at large. This paper examines the role of archaeologists in the USA and Canada, making the case for archaeologists as community leaders and activists, teachers whose special knowledge and understanding can direct social change in a positive way. (9:15am)


JEPPSON, Patrice L. (Center for Archaeology/Baltimore County Public Schools) and BRAUER, George (Center for Archaeology/Baltimore County Public Schools)
PITFALLS, PRATFALLS, AND PRAGMATISM IN PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY
'Engaging the public' means that archaeologists take on responsibilities that both complement and compete with their primary aim of 'researching the past'. Whether 'presenting data', 'sharing methods to empower others', or 'tailoring pedagogy to meet curricular needs', publicly active archaeologists face a range of new choices/compromises. These 'choices' are generally made through a disciplinary lens calling for 'stewardship' or 'preservation' (i.e. preservation through enhanced public awareness). Drawing on examples from the formal education sphere, and incorporating a pragmatist philosophical position, this paper will evaluate discipline-based goals for public archaeology against the potential civic role that archaeologists could play in society. (9:30am)

McCARTHY, John P. (Greenhore & O'Mara, Inc.)
PRIVATE RESPONSIBILITIES AND PUBLIC INTERESTS IN THE LORTON TOWN CENTER PROJECT
The Lorton Town Center project was an unusual public/private partnership confronting conflicting cost minimization imperatives of private development and the interests of public authorities seeking to maximize site preservation and data recovery. The critical factor in this partnership has been the commitment of public staff and volunteer resources to "leverage" the effectiveness of the private developer's financial commitment. This paper will describe how this project developed, its goals, the roles of the parties, and the frustrations and successes that resulted. The question of public involvement in a private undertaking will be briefly explored. (9:45am)


NOBLE, Vergil E. (U.S. National Park Service)
SIGNIFICANCE VS. VALUE IN ARCHAEOLOGY
There has been much written and more said about ways to assess the significance of archaeological resources in terms of cultural resource management. The significance of a particular site to an archaeologist, however, does note necessarily equate with its value to society. This paper examines the concepts of significance and value as applied to archaeological sites, with particular reference to public perceptions. Among the issues explored are those related to heritage tourism, especially reconstructed sites, and how archaeological sites compare with other cultural resources. Parallels to the environmental conservation movement are also drawn. (10:00am)


10:15am **Discussion**


SANCHEZ, Julia L. J. (UCLA) AND LEVENTAL, Richard M. (UCLA)
MANAGING THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
Archaeologists have carved out an interesting niche for themselves in today's society. In particular, academic archaeology has emphasized the study of the past, avoiding connections between the past and the modern world. However, the world has changed, and archaeological sites are important symbols of cultural identity and political power. Archaeologists can not ignore these changes. Universities must develop new programs with both theoretical and practical study of archaeology's new role. New programs in conservation at the UCLA Institute of Archaeology and in "Archaeology and Social Context" at Indiana University are two examples of the changing nature of archaeological training. (10:30am)


WATKINS, Joe (Bureau of Indian Affairs-Anadarko)
TRIBALIZING PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY
With the development of an accute awareness of archaeology by indigenous people, more and more archaeologists are finding themselves in situations where they must explain their research to "tribal" groups as well as to other, non-tribal publics. While the Public Face of Archaeology continues to seen as a science-based, esoteric discipline, the reality is that the Face of Public Archaeology is growing more tribal, not only in the sense of American Indians but also in the development of such programs by indigenous populations in the industrialized societies throughout the world. This paper briefly discusses some problems and opportunities inherent in working directly with seven American Indian tribes in the state of Oklahoma, while also briefly examining situations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden. It closes with a brief synopsis of the changing face of Public Archaeology as it becomes more "tribalized". (10:45am)

BLACK, Eve
FROM SITE TO PRESENTATION - PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS
The way we present our archaeology is the clearest expression of the value we place on our historical resource. My talk will address the crucial role played by presentation of the archaeological resource - both land based and underwater - as central to public perception and understanding, the preservation of tradition, and as expression of a global connection - as the focus of archaeology turns toward cultural tourism in the 21st century. A number of models in Israel - a coastal site, a shipwreck, and a newly created 'ancient' village - will be presented. (11:00am)


FUNARI, Pedro Paulo A. (Estadual de Campinas)
PUBIC ARCHAEOLOGY FROM A LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE
The paper begins discussing the definition itself of public archaeology, turning then to some issues in a Latin American context. Attention is paid to archaeological policies at international, national and regional levels, to politics and ethnicity in archaeology, as well as public involvement, contract archaeology, cultural resource management and tourism. The exploitation of archaeology and heritage for economic purposes both in the leisure and tourism industry is addressed, as is the actions of private archaeological companies. Archaeological policies are dealt with by using examples from several countries (notably Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay) and regions within them. (11:15:00)


11:30am **Discussion**


11:45am ***End of Session***


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