Assessing Outcomes in Public Archaeology: Imperatives, Perils, and Frameworks

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Public archaeology is an important means of advocacy and ethical practice for many archaeologists. In planning and seeking funding for such work, scholars consider the specific sociopolitical circumstances of their research area, including how they can assess the outcomes of their projects. Because public outreach and community-engaged practice is so context-specific, evaluation of public archaeology has not been a major topic of discussion. How and when is it appropriate to "evaluate"? And how is evaluation entangled with theoretical and ethical concerns about the role of archaeologists in society?

This session is dedicated to drawing together ideas and proposals surrounding evaluation in public archaeology. Topics in this session include: examples of outcome assessment within and between public projects, the ethical dimensions of assessment, theory and practice-driven discussions of how assessment functions within public archaeology projects and public outreach efforts, and proposed tools for assessing the broader impact of engaging non-archaeologists in archaeological work.

Geographic Keywords
EuropeMesoamericaSouth Asia

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Archaeological Commitment to Participation: Discovering the Local to International El Pilar Community (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anabel Ford.

    The El Pilar community is dynamic and includes the most proximal villages, the general communities of Cayo and Peten, the nations of Belize and Guatemala, and from there the greater international community interested in the culture and nature of the tropics. From its first archaeological recognition in the 1980s, El Pilar was destined to be play a role in the conservation and development of the Maya forest. Large and imposing, with monuments straddling the political line that separates Belize...

  • Archaeology and Experiential Learning: The Unique Impact of Learning Experientially for the Field Sciences (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hanna Marie Pageau.

    This paper is an education and curriculum development perspective on hands-on research, including the process of evaluation of learning outcomes. Field Schools are an integral part of education in the field sciences, and particularly in archaeology where field identification of artifacts and features is not reproducible in other contexts. Field schools in general are targeted toward advanced undergraduate students,those already in graduate school, and students able to pay thousands of dollars to...

  • Archaeology Education for Children: Measuring Success and Avoiding Pitfalls (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jeanne Moe.

    In the past 30 years, archaeologists have taught children and youth about the processes of archaeological inquiry and the results of archaeological research. Hundreds, if not thousands of education programs have sprouted over the last 30 years; some have endured while others have faded away. Some efforts and programs are aimed at formal learning in school classrooms while many others are based in informal settings such as museums, outdoor learning centers, after-school programs, and many others....

  • Dig the Past: Evaluating a Campus-Based Public Archaeology Program (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Adrianne Daggett. Erica Dziedzic.

    Over the 2013-2014 academic year, Michigan State University’s Campus Archaeology Program facilitated a series of public archaeology workshops called “Dig the Past: A Hands-on Introduction to Archaeology.” Targeting both children and adults in the Greater Lansing community, these workshops aimed to disburse fundamental information about the real practice of archaeology in lay-friendly language as well as to provide archaeology students with opportunities to practice public engagement. The “Dig...

  • Diggers Evaluating Diggers: A Collaboration between SAA and the National Geographic Channel (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maureen Malloy. Crystal Alegria. Robert Connolly. Giovanna Peebles.

    Since 2014 the SAA has collaborated with the National Geographic Channel to evaluate episodes of the cable television program Diggers,and to recommend changes to help ensure a more ethical and accurate portrayal of archaeology.Our paper will examine the history of the collaboration, guidelines developed for reviewing episodes,and a suggested framework for crafting accurate and ethical portrayals of archaeology in the context of a reality television show. Lastly, we will evaluate the outcomes of...

  • Effective or not? Success or Failure? Assessing Archaeological Education Programs – The Case of Çatalhöyük (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Veysel Apaydin.

    Recent decades have witnessed an increasing involvement of archaeology projects in planning and carrying out heritage education programs to increase heritage awareness among the public. This paper aims to explore ways in which models of education programmes in Public Archaeology could be more effective in ensuring the protection of heritage sites by examining the one of the worlds longest education program that has been run by Çatalhöyük Research Project in Turkey. It is important to pay...

  • On the Case: Methodology in Public Archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Gould.

    Public engagement by archaeologists has become well-entrenched in the ethics codes and practice of the profession. Specialized journals now present reports on public and community archaeology projects, usually in the form of individual case studies. However, the growing number of public archaeology projects been accompanied neither by the development of standard practice methodologies nor by a tradition of assessment of project outcomes against defined objectives. As a result, the...

  • The People, the Megaliths, and the Changing Times in Cherrapunjee (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sukanya Sharma.

    The megaliths of Cherrapunjee, are part of a prehistoric cultural tradition which is intricately woven with the socio-cultural life of the Khasis and Jaintias. But material changes in the nature of society and the economy in the latter half of the twentieth century have resulted in new identity formations in Cherrapunjee and this has undermined some of the presumed certainties of cultural identity. This study documented local community attitudes regarding the megaliths and how the community...

  • Satisfying and Reflecting on the Urge to Evaluate in Public Archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katharine Ellenberger. Lorna-Jane Richardson.

    The only way to know if archaeological outreach and community engagement is working is to ask. We need to ask the right questions, to the right people, and incorporate that feedback into our work. Yet evaluation is a fraught pursuit. When directing our projects directly at, and working with, the public, our projects are ever more embedded in the politics of cultural heritage and reverberate throughout the communities where we work. Archaeologists and heritage workers have been struggling with...

  • Why We Need to Succeed: Assessing the Outcomes of Community Archaeology Practices in County Galway, Ireland (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Shakour.

    Public involvement and collaboration with communities are major concerns for archaeologists around the world. Community outreach efforts are major components of research projects and require an immense amount of resources. Further, different stakeholders have varied responses to those efforts. This paper uses data from the Cultural Landscapes of the Irish Coast (CLIC) project’s community outreach on Inishark and Inishbofin, County Galway, Ireland, islands five miles into the Atlantic Ocean. This...