For Archaeologists...


What is Public Archaeology?
Public Education, Community Archaeology, Heritage...??
Is there a logic to not defining Public Archaeology?
What insights and developments can you contribute?

Explore Public Archaeology
Outreach Activities, Best Examples, Skills and Strategies
Partnerships, Collaborations, & Community Archaeology Examples 
Scholarly and Practical Public Archaeology


Civic Engagement and Media Outreach at the President's House site, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, PA, July, 2008. NPS Northeast Regional Archeologist Jed Levin speaks with visitors at the viewing platform constructed at the site while URS Cultural Heritage specialist Cheryl LaRoche guides a Fox Cable News production team as they broadcast a story live from on site. (Photo courtesy of P.L. Jeppson)

What is Public Archaeology?

Is All archaeology inevitably "public"? Are individual areas of "public" expertise a legitimate area of specialized archaeological practice --  Community Archaeology, Heritage, Public Education, Technology, Politics and Archaeology, Journalism, Performance, Museums, Tourism, Civic Engagement, CRM, etc?

Public archaeology has become much more than just exposing the public to the products of archaeological research. Most, if not all archaeological projects consist of some type of public archaeology and, from this, new related archaeologies have developed with their own theory, methods, and research objectives. These pages are designed to bring the evolving state of public archaeology into greater relief by examining current issues and trends in public archaeology in terms of potential future developments. The discussion is active and on-going here and elsewhere. 

A logic for not defining Public Archaeology...

Much recent conversation about public archaeological practice reveals a certain ambiguity about what the term "public archaeology" means. For a long while, and still in some corners, archaeology characterized as "public' has been limited to narrow descriptions of how-tos of engaging the public. Today, the reality is that, worldwide, many practioners of public archaeology are conducting and writing theoretically informed scholarship that goes far beyond the practical. These colleagues investigate the implications of this growing specialization, both within archaeology and in terms of public awareness.

In fact, there are different national and regional styles of doing 'public archaeology (e.g., Heritage, CRM) as well as different areas of specialization within public archaeological practice (such as museums, education, descendant involvement, ethics, cultural tourism, etc.). There are also different research objectives including, among others, educational archaeology, archaeology activism, community archaeology, civically engaged archaeology, and the archaeology of social justice.

As such, no fixed definition of public archaeology is used for these web pages. Rather, this virtual portal is designed to provide an evolving snapshot of what public archaeology has been, an understanding about the ways it is practiced in the present, and some insight into how this realm of archaeological practice is galloping towards the future.

What insights and developments do you have to share?

This public archeology clearing-house project seeks input and content that explores the different goals pursued under the rubric "Public Archaeology". This includes those efforts that attempt to provide critical and self-reflexive assessments of what we actually do with our "publics", and (perhaps more importantly) what our work with our publics does, within archaeology as a discipline and in social life more generally.

Like the rest of this project, this portion dedicated to the 'theory and practice of reaching out' is an on-going development. Hundreds of archaeologists, archaeology educators, teachers, and members of various publics have contributed to this project to date. All growth is dependent upon practioners 'coming to the table' to share their thoughts and expertise.

This portal is a place to share with your colleagues and your publics your insights and your products including, but not limited to, your creative mitigation efforts and theoretical treatises, your conference themes, books and videos, your publicly-directed web pages, your high school and college course syllabi, your blogs, etc., etc., etc. To contribute to this clearing-house project, please start here...


Updated 03/05/2008