A Global Dialogue on Collaborative Archaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Active collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders forces practitioners to rethink how and why we do archaeology, indeed even to question what archaeology is and can be. This seminar explores the tenor, breadth, and practicalities emerging from a decade of collaborative practice. Drawing from a wide range of practitioners with different temporal and regional foci, this session takes an international view of collaboration in archaeology. The moderated session presents global collaborative archaeology, both as a challenge to current practice and an impetus for the future. Presenters were asked to grapple with big questions such as:

How does archaeology change with a focal shift from product to process?

What ontological and epistemological challenges and promises arise in this work?

How does collaboration destabilize and invigorate method and theory?

What are the best ways to train a new generation of practitioners in collaboration?

What changes to institutional structures will be required for collaborative archaeology to reach its full potential?

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-11 of 11)

  • Documents (11)

  • Can Archaeology help Decolonize the way Institutions Think? How community-based research is transforming the archaeology training toolbox and educating institutions (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sonya Atalay.

    Community-based research requires systemic shifts within institutions, from the way research is funded, protection of human subjects/IRB reviews, ethical guidelines, and what is legible/valued in tenure & promotion decisions. Some of the most important yet least discussed changes must happen in the classroom, in terms of what & how we teach. For community-based archaeologists, we know that process matters. How we conduct research with community partners is essential. The relationships and trust...

  • Collaborating on the Federal Level: Moving beyond Mandated Consultation in the Section 106 Process (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kelly Britt.

    Collaboration versus Consultation—while both terms involve working with stakeholders, consultation implies a formulaic, reactionary response or product and can produce negative connotations while collaboration suggests a voluntary, shared method and a mutual goal, invoking more positive connotations. Within archaeology, collaboration is not a new practice. Yet within this post-colonial approach to conducting archaeology there is little discussion around what this looks like within the public...

  • Collaboration, collaborators, and conflict: ethics, engagement, and archaeological practice (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Audrey Horning.

    Collaboration in contemporary archaeological parlance principally refers to active engagement with one or more selected groups of stakeholders and co-producers of knowledge. But knowledge is always produced for a purpose, and collaboration, or to be a ‘collaborator’ in conflict settings implies an allegiance, often deceitful, to one cause or another. When embedding archaeology in conflict transformation activities, being seen as a ‘collaborator’, or partisan, can actively work against the aims...

  • Going beyond science: the tangible and intangible contributions of community Archaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Shakour. Ian Kuijt.

    It is widely recognized that archaeologists have the potential to contribute in meaningful ways to local communities. However, it is also important to consider the tangible and intangible nature of these contributions given the diverse and, sometimes, competing interests among various stakeholder groups along with the seasonal nature of academic archaeological and heritage research. Multi-year collaborative projects often facilitate greater general awareness of local heritage, open new...

  • Good Collectors of Archaeological Artifacts from the Holy Land? (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Morag Kersel.

    In an ideal world there would be no looting, selling, or collecting of archaeological artifacts. But, given the centuries old lure of material from the Middle East, it is unrealistic and naïve to think that there will be a cessation of collecting. This desire for Holy Land antiquities has resulted in a bifurcated community of consumption: those willing to purchase undocumented artifacts, and Good Collectors, the discerning individuals and institutions who ask questions about archaeological find...

  • Grounding Futures in Pasts: Eastern Pequot Community Archaeology in Connecticut (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Sebastian Dring. Stephen Silliman. Natasha Gambrell. Ralph Sebastian Sidberry.

    Collaborations between archaeologists and Native communities have expanded significantly in the past 20 years. For most, this is recognized as an important and healthy development on methodological, theoretical, practical, and political grounds, especially when anchored deeply in the communities themselves and designed to address political as well as professional issues. We have worked together in different capacities for more than 13 years on the Eastern Pequot Archaeological Field School, a...

  • Healing through Heritage: Collaborative Archaeology as Process (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Bonnie Clark.

    Heritage is never static, rather it is a constantly evolving set of practices, beliefs, and tangible touchstones. Collaborative archaeology sits firmly in that thicket, whether through the data we uncover, the stakeholders we engage, or even the media attention we draw. The archaeology of Amache, the site of a WWII-era Japanese American incarceration camp, is an exemplary test case for how research intertwined in a contemporary community can recast our discipline’s relationship to heritage. ...

  • "It comes from gathering": Collaborative Archaeology and Future Directions (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meredith Chesson.

    This session interrogates the practice, theoretical foundations, and outcomes of collaborative archaeology, and explores how collaborators are transforming our discipline today. Today’s papers demonstrate how collaborative archaeology offers epistemological resources that traditional, public and even community archaeology cannot provide, and how collaborative approaches force us to reexamine the disciplinary goals, practices, and outcomes of archaeological practice widely. We have divided the...

  • The Pragmatic and Epistemological Challenges Of Collaborative Research (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephen Mrozowski.

    This paper outlines some of the lessons learned from more than a decade of working with the Hassanamisco Nipmuc of Massachusetts. During the course of this evolving collaboration there have been many epistemological and ontological challenges. Chief among these has been finding common ground between the questions pursued archaeologically and those that hold relevancy for indigenous peoples. Rather than seeing these as contrasting purposes the Hassanamesit Woods Project has found productive ways...

  • Risk in Collaborative Archaeologies of Place as Engaged Scholarship (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jun Sunseri.

    Drawing on examples from my community-engaged work in post-apartheid South Africa and post-annexation New Mexico, I want to talk about the kinds of risk my community partners navigate in our collaborative archaeologies. Both communities are focused tightly on colonial-era processes that have translated into dimensions of racialized inequalities, against which we hope archaeological partnerships might be employed and produce tools that do more good than harm.

  • Wedded to Privilege? Archaeology and Academic Capital (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Raphael Greenberg.

    If archaeology is by definition strongly attached to certain academic ideals (or "scholastic fallacies"), to a particular secular, rationalist way of looking at the world, and to ever-proliferating specializations that require scarce technological resources and expertise; and if, moreover, academic symbolic and cultural capital is constantly and increasingly measured by membership in the correct status groups and by access to these scarce resources, can academic initiation of, or even...