Karolyn E. Smardz Frost
The idea of presenting an overview of current public and educational archaeology in North America is daunting. This is even true if one limits, as I do here, the discussion to projects whose focus is primarily educational, and whose explicit objective is enhancing popular interest in matters archaeological. A recent appeal for a description of current programs sent out over the Internet resulted in some 122 e-mails, and there are undoubtedly literally hundreds more educational archaeology projects in operation. Accordingly, I begin here with a discussion of the history, purpose and development of educational archaeology on the North American continent. 1 The latter half of this chapter demonstrates the wide range of educational archaeology programs that are available at the moment. These are divided into general categories based on the venue and intended audience of the program, and are usually direct quotes from the many professionals in the field who so generously responded to my request for information.
Archaeology as a subject has always garnered quite a lot of general interest - witness the many newspaper articles, television programs, videos and Web sites devoted to discoveries all over the globe. And, almost since the birth of the discipline, we have recognized that cultural tourism has both economic and proselytizing benefits, that immense amounts of dirt can be moved by enthusiastic volunteers, and that garnering public support beforehand is essential to ensuring the passage of protective heritage legislation. Cultural research and preservation has always required the support of the well-to-do, be they private patrons or governments. Antiquarian pictures are full of Victorian ladies with parasols on the arms of frock-coated gentlemen, perusing the finds being made at Giza, or Pompeii, or Stonehenge. In
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Publication information: Book title: Public Archaeology. Contributors: Nick Merriman - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 59.
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