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So where does archaeology happen and who

can play?
And as you might expect at this point, my
answer is pretty much everywhere and
pretty much everyone, or at least,
everyone who wants to.
First, we are, all the time, creating a
material world and one that will survive
So if you like it or not, you are
implicated in archaeological practice.
Tell your family and your friends that.
They are implicated in archaeology and
they too should pay attention.
But where is archaeology going on?
Let's review some various spaces leaving
aside "in the field".
So one space where archaeology happens.
In the classroom, if not nearly enough.
I would argue that archaeology would be a
great subject for teaching at all ages.
It requires a diverse and integrated mix
of skills, and it encourages everything
from thinking about the arts and the
humanities to learning how to do math.
An archaeologist's best friend can be an
artist, a poet, an engineer, a geologist,
and all of the above together.
Now, in the United States, most people
don't get to formally learn about
archaeology until they hit college, if
then, and that's really too bad.
I applaud teachers who encourage its
study at earlier ages and those
organizations that work to promote kids'
learning, such as the Archaeological
Institute of America.
You see here how archaeologists at Brown
for example, are reaching out to schools
in Providence, Rhode Island.
We're evolving exercises used now
elsewhere in the states and in the
Caribbean with the Montserrat project.
And archaeology is not just for the
young, but as the old saw goes for the
young at heart which is one reason I
thought archaeology would be a great
topic for a Massive Open Online Course.
I want to ask you a question, when did
you first have the chance to learn about
Good to know.
So the classroom is one space, the museum
is another.
A museum comes from the Greek word for
the Muses, the goddesses of the arts.
And museum is the general title for
institutions that care for, conserve,
curate, whatever, collections of
artifacts or other objects of interest
and importance.
They are also normally places of public
exhibition and public access.
Now, that's a definition that covers a
lot of ground from fine arts museums to
museums celebrating industrial heritage.
From museums where children get frowned
at by guards to museums where kids are
the audience and everything is touchable.
From museums that focus on a particular
place and time, even sometimes, a
particular house or a street to universal
museums whose collection span the globe
and across the centuries.
And I could go on and on.
Now, at the start of this course, you
might not immediately have thought of a
museum curator, someone who works with
and curates collections as an
I mean they're not out in the fields,
they aren't actively finding things, but
they are doing those important next steps
of caring for objects,
studying them, publishing them, and
making them understandable, and
accessible to the wider world.
Another important body of people are
museum conservators, who were the first
line of defense against the inevitable
decay of things from the past, especially
It takes ceaseless vigilance to keep
things safe and everything from special
climate-controlled conditions to
ubiquitous bug traps.
You need to do lots of things to guard
against infestation.
And I'm told if bugs get into a textile
collection, it can be gone in a matter of
I would also describe visitors to museums
as archaeologists in a way.
I mean, as you go through a museum,
you're not just reading labels and
staring or you're not just fleeing to the
gift shop or the restaurant, at least I
hope not.
But instead, you're putting a story
together in your head about what these
objects are and what they tell us about
the past, and that is an act of
archaeological interpretation.
Now, having said that, I'll admit that my
feet hurt in museums after about an hour.
So, where else?
You will find archaeologists in
government service.
This will vary from country to country,
and I invite you to find out what exists
in your area.
In the United States for example, there
are archaeologists associated with the
National Park Service.
rich culture mains, remains, not just
natural beauties exist in our national
parks, and with the National Space and
Aeronautical Agency or NASA.
Enormous amounts of archaeological data
has been discovered by NASA activities as
we saw when we talked about remote
Individual states have state
archaeologists, often backed up by
community based historical societies.
One more overarching, more international
authority is UNESCO, the United Nations
Educational Scientific and Cultural
UNESCO sponsors the world heritage list
almost 1,000 cultural and natural
locations worldwide that are considered
to have "outstanding universal value".
There's enormous competition to receive
this designation.
Since it's often taken to boost tourist
interest and thus be of economic
benefit to the community and the country
where such sites are located.
Though actually, the results, actual
results of that they're someone, somewhat
Now, among the legal instruments of
UNESCO is the convention on the means of
prohibiting and preventing the elicit
import export and transfer of ownership
of cultural property.
Adopted in 1970 and coming into force in
1972, this is one of the landmark, benchmark
pieces of legislation aiming to
control the trade of cultural objects.
Archaeologists are also involved in
non-governmental organizations, NGO's or
other non-profit associations.
Many of these are dedicated to
conservation and preservation basically
showing concern for the stability and
integrity of sites and monuments
In some cases, actually reconstructing
parts of them.
The World Monuments Fund one good
example, dedicated to saving the world's
most treasured places, they do work in
more than 90 countries.
The International Council on Monuments
and Sites, ICOMOS, based in Paris is
another non-governmental international
organization dedicated to monument and
site conservation.
Finally, following a somewhat different
paradigm is the Sustainable Preservation
Initiative, whose motto is, Save People
Not Stones.
And which believes the best way to
preserve cultural heritage is by
providing sustainable economic
opportunities to poor communities,
creating or supporting locally-owned
businesses, whose success, this is the
key, is tied to the preservation of
endangered archaeological sites.
So there are numerous models out there,
this is only the tip of the iceberg on
the landscape of individual, groups,
foundations, and organizations concerned
about preserving the past.
And then, there are the straight up
archaeological societies.
Some of these are more
academically oriented.
The Society for American Archaeology, the
Society for Historical Archaeology, the
American Anthropology Association, though
members of the lay public are welcome to
One body with a broader mission is the
Archaeological Institute of America, the
It's the oldest, founded 1879, and the
It has nearly 250,000 members.
North, this is the oldest, largest North
American organization devoted to the
world of archaeology.
The AIA's mandate is to excavate,
educate, advocate, which it performs in
various ways, not least by publishing
Archaeology Magazine from which you
should be reading selections for this