A Model Graduate Training Programme in Public Archaeology

By Weisman, Brent R.; White, Nancy Marie | Antiquity, March 2000 | Go to article overview

A Model Graduate Training Programme in Public Archaeology


Weisman, Brent R., White, Nancy Marie, Antiquity


Key-words: universities, USA, post-graduate training, public archaeology

Introduction

As cultural resource management (CRM) in the United States struggles through another period of introspection, one need for improvement consistently identified is in the area of graduate training of future practitioners of CRM archaeology (Fagan 1996; Green & Doershuk 1998; Schuldenrein 1998; Messenger et al. 1999). To what extent training in the practicalities of the field needs to be embodied in curricular coursework, the relative role of research versus applied emphases in the graduate programme, the most appropriate terminal degree for CRM practice, and the very specifics of what constitutes adequate preparation for the diverse and dynamic challenges that constitute contemporary archaeology in the United States, all provide points for the emerging discussion between professionals operating in the field and those in academia who design programmes (e.g. Society for American Archaeology 1995). Conventional academic training in archaeology does not adequately prepare the archaeologist to meet the actual practical demands of the discipline as it has expanded and diversified in the 1990s, especially the needs of the cultural resources management profession (e.g. Schuldenrein 1995). New academic directions will almost certainly follow, particularly because the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) intends to disseminate its recommendations to all anthropology departments in the US, but it remains to be seen whether or not real programmatic changes will result beyond the addition of single courses developed to meet specific training needs.

Several US universities do in fact offer short courses, workshops or continuing education courses on aspects of cultural resource management, but these offerings are not embedded in anthropology programmes and presume that students have received prior training in archaeology. In this article we present a model programme of graduate training in public archaeology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, one of only two such programmes mentioned in a favourable light in a recent critical synthesis of CRM contributions to American archaeology (Green & Doershuk 1998: 140). Three key features make our programme unique. First is the integration of the archaeology specialty with the overall graduate programme in applied anthropology; thus it both shares in and contributes to the departmental commitment to practicing anthropology. Second is the curricular emphasis within the archaeology track on method, theory and application. Finally is the internship (secondment) as part of the student's formal archaeological training, a requirement that firmly reinforces the applied philosophy of the programme. Inasmuch as the public dimensions of archaeology, including such issues as responsible preservation and stewardship, relationships with Native Americans, the presentation (and representation) of the past and ethical dilemmas of collecting and the ownership of cultural property are among the many challenges faced by contemporary applied social science and have real world consequences, there could be no better home for graduate training in public archaeology or CRM than in an applied anthropology programme.

Applied anthropology at the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) Department of Anthropology anticipated this academic need in the early 1970s by concentrating on applied anthropology, both as active practitioners through the Center for Applied Anthropology and in graduate training programmes. One such development was an MA-level specialization in Public Archaeology, the first of its kind in the US. Today, in addition to the formal archaeological specialization, applied anthropology at USF emphasizes medical anthropology, educational anthropology, network analysis and community studies and has more than 125 active graduate students at the time of writing. …

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