MA Theses & Ph.D. Dissertations
on Public Archaeology-Related Topics
An annotated bibliography project by Kim Christensen.
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Appler, Douglas Ross. 2011. Understanding the community benefits of municipal archaeology programs. Ph. D. Dissertation, Cornell University.
Abstract (by author):
Archaeology's ability to recover hidden information about the past creates many opportunities for engagement and collaboration with a variety of community groups. Within this context, few efforts at sustaining long-term relationships with the public have been as successful as the municipal archaeology programs found in Alexandria, VA; St. Augustine, FL; and Phoenix, AZ. For decades, these cities have successfully mixed the enthusiasm and curiosity of local residents, the professional and technical expertise of archaeologists, and the regulatory and structural support of local government in order to produce a variety of place-specific public benefits. Yet despite the sustained success of these programs, they have received surprisingly little attention in academic or professional circles.
This dissertation begins an exploration of the social environment that surrounds the municipal archaeology programs in these three cities. The data used are drawn from archival and published sources, as well as from interviews with the members of the public, the archaeologists, and the city staff most strongly associated with the three programs. The historical information brings to the forefront the role of the public in the process of creating each program. In each case, members of a concerned public were responsible for taking the first steps toward making archaeology a city priority, and none of these programs could have taken their current shape or lasted as long as they have without the continued input and participation of private citizens. It also explores how zoning and the development review procedures in each city have been structured to allow for the recovery of archaeological information that would otherwise be destroyed during the construction process. The dissertation identifies some of the ways in which these archaeology programs have shaped other municipal amenities, such as local museums, parks, heritage walks or trails, and public art that interprets local history. This research contributes to the wider discourse linking archaeology and the public, and makes evident some of the ways in which the public benefits from having access to the archaeological process.
Atalay, Sonya. 2003. Domesticating Clay: Engaging with 'they'. The social life of clay balls from Catalhoyuk, Turkey and public archaeology for indigenous communities. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
Three primary research themes are addressed in this dissertation: archaeological stewardship and public outreach; the social life of the clay ball materials found at the 9,000 PB site of atalhyk, Turkey; and the practices and daily life interactions which the people who lived in that community had with clay and clay ball materials.
Stewardship and public archaeology are addressed in Chapter 2, and in a group of accompanying educational materials. Chapter 2 addresses the ethics and practice of making archaeological research accessible and useful to diverse public audiences, with a particular focus on Indigenous groups in North America. The educational materials are for use in K-12 Turkish and Native American classrooms, and bridge academic research with popular education, in an effort to democratize archaeological knowledge. They present cross-cultural comparisons of the changing practices of clay use and cooking in Turkey and Native North America and are particularly oriented to addressing issues crucial for contemporary Native American communities including sovereignty, heritage, repatriation and decolonization processes.
The remaining chapters present an examination of clay ball materials from atalhyk, Turkey, and utilize ball data and multiple lines of evidence to move from the clay balls to interpretations of the people who lived at this site. The social life of the clay balls is investigated by moving through each stage in their use-life. The symbolic meanings of the balls are examined and joined with interpretations of the activities related to their production, use, re-use and discard.
Through an examination of clay ball social life, I demonstrate that people at atalhyk were not only involved in domesticating plants and animals, but were also domesticating clay through their everyday practices and interactions with it. They transferred clay from the wild landscape into the domestic domain, and were able to form and transform it into the shapes and uses they desired. After production, the clay balls and objects played an important role in domestic practice, and were used in daily acts of cooking and food preparation to transform plant and animal resources into meals.
Beard, Jennifer A. 2008. Late Homestead Period Householding at Benmore and Tintic Junction: Comparing Rural and Sub-rural communities in Tooele and Juab Counties, Utah. M.A. Thesis, Brigham Young University. Abstract (by author)
Historical archaeologists are turning more and more attention to the study of capitalism in post-Industrialist nations. The concept of householding considers networks of families or groups that operate outside of the mainstream capitalist economy, and may be a useful tool in the study of American West homesteading. This thesis considers the feasibility of applying the concept of householding to Benmore, a small homesteading community in Tooele County, Utah where 20 families sought to survive by dry farming in a marginal environment. The study relies heavily upon the unpublished journal of Israel Bennion which was offered by Bennion’s family after nine years of volunteer research gained their trust and approval. U.S. Forest Service Passport-in-Time volunteers donated several thousand hours of fieldwork toward documenting visible evidence of the town. This thesis is both a feasibility study of the householding concept in Western archaeology and a positive evidence of the impact public archaeology can have in furthering historical and archaeological research.Available online.
Birch, Jennifer. 2006. Public archaeology and the cultural resource management industry in southern Ontario. M.A. Thesis, Carleton University.
The growth of the archaeological consulting industry in Ontario has drastically changed how archaeology is done in this province. This new public context has raised questions about accountability, and it has been suggested that archaeologists have an obligation to public education and outreach. This thesis will investigate the public role of consulting archaeologists in Ontario, with reference to a recent survey undertaken among archaeological practitioners in the province for the purposes of this study. The results suggest that the current system of cultural resource management in this province is lacking in policies and practices that permit meaningful communication with the public.
Boland, Dale Elizabeth. 2006. Social identity in historic Fish Creek: An archaeological investigation. M.A. Thesis, University of Calgary.
This study is an archaeological examination into social identity in an historic settlement context. Focussing on two Calgary homestead sites first settled in the late nineteenth century, the research concentrates on discerning facets of past social identities from the material remains of daily activities. Architecture is included in this study along with excavated materials that have been categorized according to function. From functionality a recreation of past activities and lifestyles has been realized. And from these behaviours, working under a postprocessual framework, a more comprehensive understanding of ethnicity and gender roles, coupled with better detail of the socioeconomic status of those living and working on these two farms, has been gained. The field and laboratory component of the research were largely performed by avocationals through the Programme for Public Archaeology, which worked to draw connections between past and present and fostered a sense of community within this western Canadian city.
Fedorak, Shirley A. 1994. Is Archaeology Relevant? An examination of the Roles of Archaeology in Education. M.A. Thesis, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.
The recent re-evaluation of archaeology's raison d'etre has opened up the new field of public archaeology, which focuses upon increasing the public's awareness of and appreciation for archaeological research, the value of conserving archaeological resources and ultimately, the richness and diversity of past human cultures. Educational archaeologists have supported this emerging emphasis through development of educational materials and programs which bring archaeology to elementary and secondary students.
As the field of educational archaeology has matured, a gradual evolution of thought has resulted in the initial emphasis on excavation and discovery of artifacts being replaced by an emphasis on conservation of archaeological resources and utilizing archaeology as a vehicle for presenting culture history. Recent educational archaeology programs have espoused a stewardship message and have focused on archaeology's relevance as an educational medium.
Examination of archaeology's roles in education suggests archaeology's integrative, multidisciplinary nature and holistic perspective constitute a discipline well suited to education. Development of educationally, archaeologically and culturally valid educational archaeology programs ensures the continuation of archaeological research in a society which values knowledge of the past and supports a conservation ethic.
Gonzalez, Sara Lynae. 2011 Creating Trails from Traditions: The Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail at Fort Ross State Historic Park. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California Berkeley.
Abstract (by author):
Weaving together Indigenous, feminist and archaeological approaches, this dissertation examines the frameworks we use for understanding and representing indigenous colonial experiences and identities. Within the context of North American archaeologies of colonialism, how we interpret and represent the impact of colonial encounters upon Indigenous communities can directly impact these communities' control over their cultural heritage. My dissertation presents a case study of these issues and offers an alternative practice of archaeology that empowers tribal decision-making in the study, preservation and representation of their own cultural heritage.
This dissertation applies a community-based approach in the study of the Kashaya Pomo's 19th Century colonial heritage at Fort Ross State Historic Park and asks two related questions: 1) how can an archaeology of colonialism best envision colonial encounters between Europeans and Indigenous peoples? and 2) how do contemporary political and cultural landscapes relate to our representations of the colonial past? My dissertation addresses these questions through a case study of the North Wall Community, a historic multi-ethnic village site that was part of the Russian Colony of Fort Ross (1812-1841). Investigation of the community's interethnic households, occupied by Kashaya women and their Russian and Creole partners, provides the basis for the development of interpretive content for the Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail at Fort Ross State Historic Park. The goal of this dissertation project is the creation of a low-impact archaeological methodology that minimizes the trail and archaeology's impact upon Kashaya ancestral sites, and upon the tribal community.
The dissertation is divided into four parts. In Part I, I outline a decolonized approach to archaeology that integrates indigenous epistemologies into archaeological theory and practice. Drawing upon the work of Patricia Hill Collins, Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Devon Mihesuah, I use an intersectional, indigenous and feminist approach to the archaeology of colonialism at Fort Ross, CA. In Part II, I introduce the Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail Project, focusing on how this collaborative project has engendered decolonized representations of archaeology and Kashaya heritage at Fort Ross State Historic Park.
In Part III, I develop a low-impact archaeological approach for the study of Kashaya ancestral sites that minimizes archaeology's disturbance to both the ground and the tribal community, who views archaeology as a potentially dangerous activity. Drawing upon this framework, I present the results of field and laboratory analyses the inter-ethnic households located at the North Wall Community. In Part IV, I discuss the implications of combining archaeological research with the development of public outreach programs that engage the public in productive dialogues about heritage. Collaboration with the tribe on this project has resulted in community-specific guidelines for the study, care and disposition of Kashaya cultural resources. Creating a community-based cultural education and outreach program has also been critical for establishing an archaeology of colonialism that not only integrates Indigenous views on science, spirituality and heritage into the study and representation of the colonial past, but which also remakes the practice of archaeology into an ethically and morally just endeavor.
Kellar, Elizabeth J. 1996. The Public Trust: Educational Responsibilities and Objectives Beyond Preservation and Awareness. Masters Paper, December 1996, on file in the Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.
Public education, in concert with stewardship, is a stated ethical responsibility within the field of archaeology. While many public education programs in archaeology today highlight both principles, the public and the education have been defined differentially by various individuals and institutions. Examination of the educational goals of archaeological institutions and the many publics recognized, indicates that they are often self-interested and do not reflect the wider role of archaeologists today. Archaeological education has been emphasized by individuals and institutions, yet it is archaeology as education which is suggested should be our emphasis. Our goals in educating our many publics can no longer be self-serving.
This paper addresses our ethical responsibilities as narrowly defined and expands them to incorporate educational objectives beyond awareness and protection. We must be more attentive to the goals and agendas of our publics and understand how to communicate with these publics. The archaeological record as a public trust is often ignored by the archaeological community. Our responsibilities and especially those of academia could be successfully accomplished through the creation of partnerships between academic institutions and the local community public school systems.
Keremedjiev, Helen. 2007 Public Archaeology in Montana: A Sample of University of Montana Students' Perceptions of Archaeology and Knowledge of Local Sites. M.A. Thesis, University of Montana, Missoula.
Abstract (by author):
Archaeologists have an obligation to disseminate publicly their research and theories. To do this effectively, they need to know how each public perceives archaeology. A voluntary Institutional Review Board certified questionnaire was given to 606 University of Montana undergraduates and graduates. It included topics on the basics of archaeology and sites in Montana. After the results were tabulated, a website was created to show the overall results. Its location is at www.umt.edu/publicarchaeology. This online resource includes the questionnaire, the total raw results of all classes responses, and a discussion section. (See Appendix E for screenshot images of the website.) This project is a pilot program to see how archaeology is understood by non-professionals. Their input will help researchers communicate better their data.
Two hypotheses are tested with this sample. First, individuals who attended high school in Montana have more knowledge and interest in local archaeology. Second, non-anthropology majors have less knowledge and interest in archaeology than anthropology majors. Overall, the responses produced mixed results for both hypotheses. One cannot predict always that where someone was educated in high school, he or she will be aware more and have a strong curiosity for local archaeology. Though individuals who are specializing in anthropology may be more knowledgeable, they may not be aware or care about all aspects of the topic. Overall this sample had a basic understanding of archaeology and little knowledge of Montana archaeological sites. Available online.
King, Amanda. 2008. Archaeology and Local Governments: The Perspectives of First Nations and municipal councilors in the Fraser Valley, B.C. MA Thesis, Simon Fraser University.
Abstract (by author):
Local governments are in a position to act as bridges between the publics they represent and the management of archaeological heritage. Since First Nations and municipal councillors in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, make decisions on behalf of their communities, I focus this thesis on their perspectives of archaeology. Through surveying and interviewing local government representatives, seven key themes emerged: Relevance, Knowledge, Interest and Exposure, Value, Protection Issues, Management Responsibility, and Working Together. First Nations and municipal councillors' perspectives reveal general areas of divergence on the relevance, protection, and management of archaeological heritage, and convergence on the values of archaeology and working together on heritage issues. Although local governments uniquely situate archaeology through distinct views, they can bridge this disconnect through dialogue on shared perspectives. I provide recommendations to encourage this process of communication between First Nations and municipal governments, and their publics, on the management of archaeological heritage.
Keywords. Archaeological heritage management; Local government perspectives; Public archaeology; First Nations councils; Municipal councils; Cultural tourism.
Krass, Dorothy Schlotthauer. 1995. Public High School Teachers and Archaeology: Exploring the Field. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts.
Abstract (by author)
Archaeology belongs in the schools. Students and teachers both find it interesting, and it has been shown to be an effective vehicle for teaching a wide array of topics and skills. However, there are at least two serious reasons why it is important for students to understand what archaeologists do and why: (1) an informed public is a potential ally in identifying, protecting and managing endangered archaeological resources; and (2) archaeology as a mode of inquiry can help students understand the social construction of the world in which they live.
Archaeologists and educators have been working together to develop materials to help teachers use archaeology in their teaching. Some excellent materials are now available for middle and junior high school teachers. But if students are to take archaeology seriously as a tool for social analysis, they need to be exposed to a more mature understanding of it in high school.
Interviews exploring the ways in which archaeology is currently understood and used in all aspects of the curriculum in one high school indicate that teachers use it to capture students’ interest, or to reward them for learning some other subject. Teachers do not use archaeology to teach analysis and interpretation of evidence, or critical thinking skills, or the role of human beings in the creation of social systems. Since very few teachers have received formal education in archaeology, they do not associate these goals with archaeology as a discipline.
Teachers’ sources of information about archaeology are television, newspapers and general circulation magazines. These popular sources do not provide them with the understanding they need to recognize archaeology as a tool for intellectual and social analysis. Archaeologists should take advantage of more professional channels for reaching teachers with serious material linking archaeology to the various disciplines traditionally taught in high schools.
To reach high school students with a more sophisticated understanding of archaeology, we need first to present that knowledge to their teachers as fellow professionals.
McDavid, Carol. 2002. From Real Space to Cyberspace: The Internet and Public Archaeological Practice. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cambridge.
The primary purpose of this thesis is to examine whether Internet web sites are effective communicative media for archaeologists to interact with their publics in open, democratic and relevant ways; particularly when the archaeological interpretations themselves are 'sensitive' and 'charged' in contemporary social and political contexts. That is, does the Internet allow a more open and democratic archaeology, and can it provide a voice for the multiple, shifting and sometimes contested understandings of past and present which archaeology frequently engenders? A corollary issue will be to observe what people do when they look at archaeology on the Internet, and to consider what archaeologists should understand about this medium in order to communicate with it effectively.
This work is situated within a number of disciplinary contexts. First, it is situated within American postprocessual historical archaeology, and represents part of a growing movement within that field to make it more relevant to people outside archaeology and to embrace the inherently political nature of archaeological practice. Second, as important, it falls under the rubric of public archaeology; that is, the study of the public dimensions of doing archaeology; or, the interaction between archaeology as a closed discipline and archaeology in public practice. Within public archaeology it is most clearly aligned with recent politically oriented consultative/collaborative movements in America, particularly those which concern disempowered descendant communities, although it is also situated within more general public archaeology discourses world-wide. Third, it was influenced by American pragmatist philosophy, which provided a framework for the 'conversational' (as opposed to 'educational' or 'presentational') approach which was used as a guiding principle for the web site.
1996. The Levi Jordan Plantation: From archaeological interpretation to public interpretation. M.A. Thesis, University of Houston.
Public interpretations of archaeological sites frequently disregard the social and political contexts in which the interpretations (museums, site tours, etc.) operate. This thesis attempts to determine the feasibility of incorporating these contexts into planning the public interpretation of archaeology; in this case, the archaeology of the Levi Jordan Plantation in Brazoria, Texas. It operates within the framework of critical theory, and argues for a "both/and", rather than "either/or", approach to interpretive issues. It examines how diverse understandings of power and control will affect the feasibility of interpreting this site to the public, and examines ways in which descendant communities (African American and European American) can have a voice in presenting the archaeologies and histories of their ancestors. It also presumes the need for archaeological involvement in public interpretation, in order to mitigate the filters frequently imposed on archaeological data by curators, designers, and interpreters.
Meyer, Jeffrey Scott. 2011 Experiencing the past: Interpreting the past through the senses. M.A. Thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Abstract (by author):
This thesis examines aspects of historical interpretation. An interpretive style, called "experiential interpretation," is presented, tested, and analyzed. Experiential interpretation attempts to present tangible details about the past by appealing to the human senses of taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. The main objectives of this interpretive style are to present intimate histories of past individuals, to foster emotional or relational connections between the learner and the material, and to also utilize creative aspects of learning. The author's work in historical interpretation at Fort Necessity National Battlefield is analyzed.
Available online at: http://dspace.iup.edu/handle/2069/363
Mustonen, Heather L. 2007 Public archaeology and community engagement at Michigan State University: The Saints' Rest Archaeological Project. Dissertation, Michigan State University.
Abstract (by author):
In the summer of 2005, the Department at Anthropology at Michigan State University conducted a public archaeology project focused on the excavation of Saints' Rest, the institution's first boarding hall. As part of the University's Sesquicentennial celebrations, the project was designed to investigate early student life through archaeological excavations while engaging members of the University community in the exploration of their shared past. The goal of this thesis is to present the Saints' Rest Archaeological Project as a case study in public archaeology by demonstrating the ways in which a university can engage a variety of community members in the shared history of the institution through archaeology. The results of archaeological and archival research will be presented along with a discussion of the ways in which the community was able to participate in the project and the subsequent benefits of this interaction. This discussion will contribute to the growing literature on public archaeology, a topic that continues to draw increasing interest within the discipline of historic archaeology.
Nelson, Susan K. 2004. Perspectives on Archaeology and the New Ohio Social Studies Curriculum Standards: A Case Study of an Interdisciplinary Approach. Masters Thesis. Antioch University. (685 KB; 4 - 5 minutes to download on a 56k modem)
Seguin, Jason. 2008. Contemporary use of archaeological parks: Pilgrimage and the sacred at Stonehenge, Chaco Canyon, and Tikal. MA Thesis, Trent University.
The purpose of this thesis is to create a dialogue for discussion regarding access and use at archaeological parks in non-traditional ways. It is based on a comparative analysis of how certain groups have performed ceremonies, and left contemporary offerings, at Stonehenge, Chaco Canyon, and Tikal. The perspective is that these archaeological parks are sacred places for many contemporary groups. As sacred places, a certain portion of the public has used them to create, solidify, or strengthen individual, group, or community identities. This was often done through physical interactions with the archaeological structures and landscapes. These interactions raised issues of concern around the preservation and conservation of these sites.It is concluded that a number of changes need to be made, in part modelled after the more inclusive approach used at Tikal, so as to facilitate a wider variety of narratives at Stonehenge and Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Implementing certain changes means creating a more inclusive presentation of the past. This should allow for a wider variety of interactions while not negating the archaeological presentation of the past.Key words. public archaeology, reflexive narratives, World Heritage, stakeholders, pilgrimage, sacred space, inclusiveness.
Skipper, Jodi. 2010 "In the neighborhood": City planning, archaeology, and cultural heritage politics at St. Paul United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.
Abstract (by author):
What happens to a historically African American church when its local African American community no longer exists? Can attempts to emphasize its historic heritage help it to survive? In this dissertation, I consider the racial politics of urban gentrification and the ways in which one historic Black church community utilizes cultural heritage politics as a survival strategy and resistance to city planning in the city of Dallas, Texas. This case study is part of a much broader phenomenon dating to the post-WWII era whereby U.S. local, state, and federal government officials "redeveloped" urban neighborhoods as part of urban renewal plans. Some of these government actions resulted in drastic changes to neighborhood landscapes, displacing entire "minority" communities. Affected by similar circumstances, the St. Paul Church community chose to remain in its original neighborhood and restore its historic building, rather than bend to the will of Dallas city planners.
In particular, I examine two church heritage projects; a public archaeology project in which a shotgun house site was excavated on the church property and a public history project which resulted in an interpretive history exhibition on the church. I examine how this church community became involved in these two projects and whether these approaches are practical to the historic preservation of this church community.
Basic contributions of this work include: (1) filling gaps in public archaeology research by examining a public archaeology project, beyond the excavation, and critiquing its viability in jeopardized urban contexts, (2) analyzing strategies of political mobilization around heritage politics; (3) determining which Black communities are more likely to engage in and benefit from this type of political mobilization; and (4) problematizing what constitutes giving the power to a community to negotiate its past in the present.
This dissertation project finds that although African-American and other minority groups are often politically and economically disadvantaged when challenging eminent domain abuse, these communities are not powerless. The St. Paul community's utilization of heritage politics as a means to avert eminent domain abuse is one case in point.
Stewart, Lisa Claire. 2005. Public archaeology in action: creating sustainable cultural tourism development plans for the ancient Maya archaeological site of Minanha, Belize. M.A. Thesis, Trent University.
Tourism is the largest industry in the world. Accordingly, many countries are heavily investing in the creation of archaeological parks for tourists. Belize is one such country. Located in Belize, Minanha is a unique ancient Maya archaeological site with immense tourism potential, which is presently under heavy threat from illegal looting, encroaching land development, and the fact that Belize has not yet taken any steps to ensure its conservation and/or development. Thus, the objectives of this study are to create three sustainable cultural tourism development strategies for Minanha, and to recommend to Belize that they implement the most appropriate one. To create these strategies, this study addressed four research questions, followed the "ideal" planning process, and collected data from texts, human subjects, and archaeological sites. In the end, this study recommends that the Government of Belize actualize a low investment development strategy for Minanha in order to ensure its sustainable and fruitful future.
Whiting, Nancy Carolyn. 1997. Presenting a plural past: Archaeology and public education. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota.
Archaeology has an ethical imperative to promote the preservation of cultural heritage materials and to make those cultural heritage materials available to the public. At the same time educators are seeking to provide students with an understanding of the positive nature of diversity, to help them grasp both the commonalities of being human and the inherent differences which enrich various cultures. Clearly, there is a common interest here. Archaeology and its parent discipline anthropology, provide one means of teaching about cultures, both past and present.
Archaeology is a social construction which demands a continuing dialogue between the past and the present. It is this interactive process, this questioning attitude, that is essential to impart to school age children. Interpretations of cultural heritage need to be viewed as selective and varied. Children need to know that the same history creates many pasts and many heritages. By making the unwritten past available to the public, archaeology has the potential to supply children with inclusive interpretations of the past.
This project introduces educators to the value of using archaeological and anthropological concepts to inform a plural past. It also hopes to convince archaeologists of the value of public education. As educators teach children the value of respecting differences, using cultural heritage materials, they are at the same time building respect for the materials themselves. This respect for cultural heritage materials will create support for the study of archaeology and the preservation of archaeological materials.
This dissertation proposes that a grade school curriculum based on archaeological and anthropological concepts will promote intercultural understanding. The project: investigates the theoretical background which justifies utilizing archaeology in public education, examines the current situation in Minnesota public schools and surrounding states, looks at good examples of state archaeology programs, and surveys grade school teachers, assessing what they are now doing, and what they would like to be doing, to promote intercultural education. An archaeology-based multicultural program for grades one to three is proposed. A pilot project for grade one evaluates the proposed program. Appendices present a handbook for grade one teachers and survey research materials.