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Science Communication in Archaeology

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A extensively revised and expanded version of this article was published in July 2018. See my other papers for more information.
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... Public archaeology education can be similarly conceived, with approaches that run the gamut from involving students as passive observers or consumers of knowledge, to those where students are more active hands-on learners, and ultimately co-creators and collaborators in the learning process (Table 21-2). There are indeed a spectrum of possibilities, and numerous others have productively expanded on educational frameworks such as Bloom's Taxomomy of Learning, Rosenblatt's (2010) "engagement pyramid, " and others (e.g., see Melville 2014 andBollwerk et al. 2015). For instance, Crow Canyon's Learn about an experiment and results conducted by others. ...
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Public science communication is widely recognized as an expected and essential part of the scientific enterprise. Numerous skills and strategies are necessary to effectively communicate science and engage with multiple audiences (e.g., Mercer-Mapstone and Ketchell 2015), yet such competencies are often inadequately taught or absent in academic training of students throughout STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) disciplines (Brownell et al. 2013). For archaeologists, such public archaeology skills are especially critical in a wide range of professions-including academia, cultural resource management (CRM), agency, museum, and Tribal archaeology-yet we rarely are explicit in how we train students in preparation for varied archaeological careers and contexts. This essay addresses this curriculum gap, as well as public archaeology in higher education more generally. Public archaeology education is important, and it encompasses diverse undergraduate and graduate student audiences and contexts. We briefly review a spectrum of innovative and alternative approaches to teaching public archaeology in the classroom within a public science communication framework, which includes passive and active forms of learning, as well as creative "dialogue-based" models (active and creative learning through more open or two-way engagement) that facilitate public engagement with science (Mercer-Mapstone and Kuchel 2015:2; Besley and Tanner 2011). We conclude that engagement of diverse student audiences with multiple science communication pedagogies is critical both to the discipline and to improving equity in science. Instructor commitment can be substantial, but support at the institutional level-often lacking-is integral to addressing gaps in public archaeology curricula.
... A considerable amount of public archaeology -those elements focused on engaging public audiences with archaeological processes and knowledge -is directly comparable to SciComm, in the same way that it corresponds to related fields within the public humanities (see above). For a good overview of science communication in archaeology see Melville (2014). ...
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An obsession with origins is a hallmark of pseudoarchaeology, while the celebration of arbitrary anniversaries is one of the more meaningless conceits of the heritage industry. In that spirit, I would like to wish a happy tenth anniversary to AP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology, and to extend my warmest congratulations to the editorial team.
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From their beginnings, archaeology museums have reflected a complex and dynamic balance between the demands of developing, documenting, and preserving objects on the one hand and sharing knowledge, access, and control on the other. This balance has informed and inflected the ways that museums present the past, including both practical aspects of pedagogy and exhibition design as well as more critical and contested issues of authority, authenticity, and reflexivity in interpretation. Meeting the complex requirements of curation, deliberate collections growth, management, and conservation, as well as the need to respond to continuing challenges to the museum's right and title to hold various forms of cultural property, archaeological museums play an active role in both preserving and shaping the public's view of the past and reflect the prospects and perils of being at once a temple to the muses and a forum for sometimes contentious public discourse.
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Over the last decade the concept of community archaeology has become a worldwide phenomenon; a convenient tagline largely describing the involvement of non-archaeologists in the practice of interacting with, uncovering, interpreting, and presenting the past. A plethora of new definitions and methodologies have been postulated, a marked increase in public funds invested in such initiatives is notable, as is the development of more rigorous evaluation strategies. Using Etienne Wenger’s ideas about ‘communities of practice’ (1998), I argue that community archaeology can be conceived as a form of knowledge management. In doing so, this paper reflects on the interactions between a small research team and local community during six months fieldwork on Uneapa, a remote island in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea. It considers the sets of relations that emerged whilst fi?eld-walking, surveying, and excavating Uneapa’s monumental landscape, and discusses how local ideas and knowledge influenced and altered the project methodologies and research questions being asked. This paper also highlights the challenges faced when reifying such engagements into research outputs.
Article
Does community archaeology work? In the UK over the last decade, there has been a boom in projects utilising the popular phrase ‘community archaeology’. These projects can take many different forms and have ranged from the public face of research and developer-funded programmes to projects run by museums, archaeological units, universities, and archaeological societies. Community archaeology also encapsulates those projects run by communities themselves or in dialogue between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ groups and individuals. Many of these projects are driven by a desire for archaeology to meet a range of perceived educational and social values in bringing about knowledge and awareness of the past in the present. These are often claimed as successful outputs of community projects. This paper argues that appropriate criteria and methodologies for evaluating the effi cacy of these projects have yet to be designed. What is community archaeology for? Who is it for? And is it effectively meeting its targets? Focusing on the authors’ experiences of directing community archaeology projects, together with the ongoing research assessing the effi cacy of community archaeology projects in the UK, this paper aims to set out two possible methodologies: one of self-refl exivity, and one of ethnoarchaeological analysis for evaluating what community archaeology actually does for communities themselves.
Article
Over the past few decades the mass media have increasingly shaped public awareness. For many people, television, the radio, or the press are the only sources for archaeological topics and it is essential, therefore, to be able to collaborate with the world of journalism. It is not only sensational news stories that have an opportunity of being covered by the media, but also serious issues — provided that they are well told. Communicating scientific results to an audience outside one's own specialist subject is, however, not only a question of good will, but also of skill. This article focuses on how to get the attention of the mass media, how to exert influence on the quality of a newspaper article, radio or film, and how to communicate what is really important. It provides an overview of public and media relations and tries to give some helpful suggestions.
The Iceman and his natural environment. The man in the ice
  • S K Bortenschlager
  • Oeggl
BORTENSCHLAGER, S. & K. OEGGL. (ed.) 2000. The Iceman and his natural environment. The man in the ice, Volume 4. Wien: Springer.