Centers of Public Archaeology

While all archaeologists have an ethical obligation to include the public in their work, these organizations aim to improve society's relationship with archaeological resources through dedicated study of public dialogue, community outreach, technological research, and policy development.

Archaeology In the Community
A not-for-profit organization that “promotes and facilitates the study and public understanding of archaeological heritage” with informal educational programs, hands-on learning, professional development, and community events.

The Center for Public Archaeology at Hofstra University
The Center for Public Archaeology was founded by Christopher Matthews and Jenna Coplin of the Department of Anthropology at Hofstra University in 2008. The Center works with Hofstra students and the greater community to think critically about the relationships between the past and present and the experience of place on Long Island, focusing on the the archaeology of poor and marginal people, such as enslaved and free African Americans, historic Native Americans, and others whose histories are hidden by mainstream conceptions of history on Long Island.  

The Center for Heritage Resources Studies
Associated with the University of Maryland, this program is dedicated to “responsible heritage development”. The program brings scholars and practitioners together to support a comprehensive approach to the study of heritage, especially the relationship between heritage and the environment.

Center for American Archeology
A not-for-profit organization that investigates the pre-contact history of Illinois through “integrated programs of archeological investigation, educational outreach, and cultural stewardship”.

Council for British Archaeology
This UK educational charity is dedicated to involving people in archaeology and to promoting the appreciation and care of the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Among many other doings, The CBA has been closely involved with the development of archaeological syllabuses for national education exams, and argued vigorously and successfully for the inclusion of archaeology content within the English National History Curriculum.

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
A not-for-profit organization that strives to “empower present and future generations by making the human past accessible and relevant through archaeological research, experiential education, and American Indian knowledge”.

The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN)
A network of professional archaeologists throughout the state of Florida whose mission it is to “educate the public about the wealth of archaeological resources within our state” and to reach out to communities interested in archaeology.

The Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) and Community Archaeology Program (CAP) Binghamton University, NY
The PAF provides CRM work and practices public archaeology by increased visibility in local communities. This is the training facility for undergraduates and graduates in the archaeology program at Binghamton University. The CAP allows the lay public to participate in archaeological excavations conducted by the PAF; an alternative program is geared toward local youth educators.

Community Archaeology Projects

These example projects demonstrate some of the current innovations that are transforming society's relationship with archaeological resources. The methods employed include public dialogue, community outreach, technological research, and  policy development. Collaborators include specific or at large communities, business or public interest groups, descendants, stakeholders, and or public officials. The context may involve, among other factors, gentrification, tourism, race relations, national memory, and community empowerment.

New Philadelphia, Illinois
Since 2002, archaeology at this lost town, the first founded by an African American since the Civil War, has been a collaborative effort among archaeologists, the local community, and the descendants of the town’s former residents.

Archaeology in Annapolis, Maryland
On-going discourse in archaeology through field school excavations and public tours; focus on critical anthropology and diverse interpretations of historical events through a partnership with the University of Maryland and Historic Annapolis Foundation.

Hampden Community Archaeology Project, Maryland
This project is geared toward empowering Hampden residents (an urban Baltimore neighborhood) through archaeology to determine the heritage value of their neighborhood in the face of gentrification.

The Beeswax Wreck Project, Oregon
An underwater archaeology investigation, begun in 2006, involving the site of the “Beeswax Wreck” of Nehalem Bay that attempts to identify the origin of the shipwreck. Archaeologists working on this investigation emphasized community outreach during this project, including the use of local historians, radio shows for public outreach, an archaeology “road show”, and volunteers.

The President's House: Freedom and Slavery in Making a New Nation, Pennsylvania
A joint undertaking of the City of Philadelphia and the National Park Service, the President's House project is in response to community interest, in particular that of the Avenging the Ancestors Coalition (ATAC) and the Independence Hall Association. This web site hosted by the Mayor's Office of the City of Philadelphia, has, among other resources, the President's House Site Archeology Briefing Paper, texts of several Community Roundtable Discussions, and links to the Independence Hall Association’s extensive coverage of the President's House history, re-discovery, expanded interpretation, and commemoration.

Levi Jordan Plantation, Texas
This web site was a dissertation research project designed to help us learn "more about how people talk about archaeology and history on the Internet", 1998-circa 2000. Based in multivocality, these web pages are built collaboratively by archaeologists, community members, and other interested people. The page content involves interpretations about the lives of Levi Jordan, his family, and the people who worked for them, first as slaves and, later, as tenant farmers and sharecroppers. This was dissertation research for Carol McDavid (MPhil Cantab, 2002).

Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project (Scotland)
A heritage project that incorporates oral history, research, and archaeology in the investigation of a site spanning from the 16th to 19th century, including the coal industry, a mill, and the glassworks industry.

Chocolá Archaeological Project (Guatemala)
Archaeological research of this Mayan site is intrinsically linked with community development, rejecting the exportation of knowledge away from the community.

Web-Based Public Archaeology

The following are some examples demonstrating the power of the internet for web-based public archaeology. These examples serve various needs including archaeology tourism, public CRM reporting, academic research initiatives, remote engagement, or other ventures.

Web-based Outreach

Archaeology’s Interactive Digs
Archaeology Magazine produces this web page which features a current dig that is updated regularly by archaeologists in the field so that visitors to the website can follow the progress of the research. Five years of previous digs are archived on the site. Although each site is different most include field reports, dig diaries, and interviews with staff and students.

Texas Beyond History
This web site was developed by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with 16 other organizations. Begun in 2001, its purpose is to interpret and share the results of archeological and historical research on the cultural heritage of Texas with the citizens of Texas and the world. In this virtual museum you will find information on and images of many different aspects of the cultural legacy of Texas, a legacy spanning at least 13,500 years.

Web-based CRM Reporting

Archaeological Exploration and Historic Preservation in Delaware
This web site developed by the Delaware Department of Transportation (Del DOT) shares information with both the public and professionals interested in Delaware history.

Putting the "There" There: Historical Archaeologies of West Oakland
This web presentation of the Cypress Archaeology Project is an outstanding example of reaching out to the public with CRM research. Both an extensive interpretive narrative and individual technical reports are available.

Excavation and Archaeological Investigation at Bartow County's (GA) Leake Site
Archaeological studies were conducted at the important American Indian Leake Site before the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) widened Highways 61 and 113. Between 2004 and 2006, archaeologists from Southern Research, Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc. of Columbus, Georgia, excavated portions of the site that were to be impacted by the highway widening.