You need to
understand some of the political and ethical debates about ownership and presentation of the past
have a knowledge of a range of methods of communicating archaeological understanding
know some case studies in depth to use as examples
be able to critically assess the merits of different modes of communication.
Before considering how archaeological remains and knowledge might be best communicated it is worth reflecting on what the social and cultural implications of explanations about the past might be. Archaeological knowledge and the images of the past created by archaeologists are not value free. As with history and literature, the selection of what is significant and how it should be interpreted partly derives from the political and social values and structures in present-day society. Archaeology and history have in turn been used either consciously or unconsciously to justify present-day values and social structures.
Extreme cases are fairly easy to identify. Recent centuries have seen a succession of rulers who have sought to justify their regimes and their territorial ambitions by claiming precedent from the past. Mussolini, the Fascist dictator of Italy (1922-45) claimed to be following in the footsteps of the Romans with his plans to establish an Italian empire in Africa and to turn the Mediterranean into an Italian lake (Mare Nostrum). Saddam Hussein in Iraq has drawn parallels between his regime and the ancient civilisation of Babylon, which dominated the region in the second millennium BC. Israel, Bosnia and the Indian city of Ayodhya are three of many places where archaeology is