Strategic Approaches to Digital Public Archaeology

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

Archaeologists have rallied around digital public archaeology and, while scholarship is growing in this area, a more critical approach is vital. The pervasiveness of digital technologies is clear: approximately 87% of American adults use the Internet, 64% own a smartphone, and 58% have a Facebook account (Pew Research Center). Such technologies are an important tool for archaeologists and the discipline’s presence online is already enormous. However, an abundant presence does not equate success. We must do more than join the digital bandwagon; we need to take the ideas and goals that have been a part of public archaeology and embed them in digital platforms. Strategic use of digital technologies will have the greatest impact in supporting our larger interests. To produce measurable results, digital public archaeology projects require goals, strategy, intentionality, and assessment. We must apply the same academic rigor to public archaeology as we do in archaeological research so we understand what success in these projects actually looks like. Unfortunately, few resources exist to support these efforts. This session seeks to address that gap by sharing research and case studies on digital public archaeology projects and strategy from project inception through evaluation.