The Interpretation and Presentation of Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Sites: Evolving Horizons

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

New philosophical trends in public interpretation are reshaping the messages delivered at archaeological and cultural heritage sites worldwide. The role of the expert, as well as the participatory engagement of audiences and stakeholders, is being redefined and reassessed. For example, facilitated dialogue is being utilized by professional interpreters to connect and interact with audiences and is designed to engage and foster an environment where the experiences of participants are shared and explored. It is designed to join the experiences and expertise of participants to think through the conditions and opportunities necessary to impact the topic or issue being discussed. Dialogue facilitators do not need to be experts on the topic being discussed. This session examines new trends in public interpretation. Do these actions represent new emphases in interpretation, or more fundamental pedagogical shifts? Therefore, are they resulting in more effective interpretation in creating connections and facilitating perceptions and meaning for audiences?

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-18 of 18)

  • Documents (18)

  • Community Archaeology and Collaborative Interpretation at a Rosenwald School (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Love. Emma Mason.

    Of more than 5,000 Rosenwald Schools built during the 20th century in the southern United States, the Fairview School in Cave Spring, Georgia was constructed to provide an educational facility for the local African-American community. Following the site’s rediscovery in 2009, the local Cave Spring community and alumni of Fairview have spearheaded efforts to preserve and interpret Fairview’s historic campus. Most of the buildings located on the Fairview campus were demolished, originally...

  • Conflict Landscapes: Mitigating Inter-generational Trauma through Collaborative Archaeology (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Diane L. Teeman. Sarah E. Cowie.

    Traditional Indigenous landscapes are imbued with cultural meaning and value. After contact, Indigenous trails often gained uses for military conflict, immigrant travel, and removal of Indigenous people from their homelands, adding additional meaning to the landscape. Nevada’s historic Stewart Indian School is another Indigenous landscape later used in the federal effort to assimilate Native children. Both case studies demonstrate that processes of governmentality, disciplinary power, and...

  • Dialogues on the Experience of War: Difficult Heritage (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer F McKinnon. Anne Ticknor. Anna Froula.

    War in the Pacific: Difficult Heritage recently engaged veterans, veteran families, and WWII survivors on the Pacific island of Saipan in considering how conflict heritage can be seen as universal to humanity and how it can be used to examine the veteran’s experience. The starting point for this consideration was to focus on the historical and contemporary warrior/veteran’s experiences as it relates to collective human experience of war and how we might come to understand and interpret the...

  • The Evolution of Public Interpretation: Instagram, Promotion, and the Passive Narrative (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristin Barry.

    Following the rise of digital media in photography, the average historic site visitor has more ability than ever to influence the presented narrative of a particular place. While the "expert" interpretation is still a predominant method, the volume and availability of amateur or community user impressions provides a consistent program for engaging these viewpoints in the interpretation. Many archaeological sites have moved to somewhat control this narrative, providing Instagram accounts or...

  • Evolving Native American Participation in the Excavation and Interpretation of a Tutelo Site in Ithaca, New York (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sherene Baugher.

    In the 1990s, Cornell University students partnered with community members when service-learning courses were a fairly new concept for archaeological education. Native students participated in the excavation to locate a neutral Tutelo village that was destroyed in 1779 in a punitive military expedition by American forces.  The Cornell team also worked in partnership with local farmers, property owners, developers, and town officials in Ithaca, New York.  The site was open to the public and tours...

  • Facilitated dialogue: A new emphasis, or pedagogical shift for the interpretation of cultural heritage sites? (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Jameson.

    Facilitated dialogue (FD) is a communication technique increasingly utilized by professional interpreters to connect and interact with audiences. It is a conversation between individuals in which a facilitator helps to overcome communication barriers regarding an issue of mutual concern. It is designed to join the experiences and expertise of participants to think through the conditions and opportunities necessary to impact the topic or issue discussed. FD is designed to foster an environment...

  • Geo-locating Community Memory and Archaeological Heritage Via an Adaptive App (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jun Sunseri.

    The New Mexican dicho "cada cabeza es un mundo," is especially true as hordes of tourists, academics, and others descend on rural northern communities and misunderstandings erupt between keepers of heritage places and those for whom those spaces are invisible. As the result of community-engaged archaeology, partnered research into historically-silenced pasts has led to expanding mandates for project deliverables. One innovation is the development of a smartphone-based historical tour for which...

  • The Heritage Education Network: From Individual Efforts to Professional Action (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carol Ellick.

    The force behind public outreach and archaeological education has been individuals within agencies, those who’ve formed committees, and those who have dedicated their professional careers ensuring that we communicate beyond ourselves. However, after 30 years, this "profession" still basically exists at the whim of professional organizations and volunteer committees, and through dedicated individuals. In 2015, at the Archaeological Institute of America sponsored Educators’ Conference in New...

  • Integrating Teacher Professional Development with Archaeological Summer Camps (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sheli O. Smith. Calvin Mires.

    The sheer joy of being a kid at an archaeological summer camp is not lost on adults. In fact, by involving teachers in summer camp and other investigations, in a "kid" role, allows them to experience the wonder of hands-on discovery. Add in some additional professional development and you create empowered teachers who infuses their lesson plans with engagement, rich content, authenticity, and relevancy.  In recent years the PAST summer field teams introduced this new type of teacher professional...

  • Interpreting Fur Trade Sites: A View from the Pacific Northwest (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas C. Wilson. Robert J. Cromwell. Katie A. Wynia. Theresa E. Langford.

    Academic partners and volunteers help the National Park Service interpret Fort Vancouver and other fur trade-era sites in the Pacific Northwest through the lens of historical archaeology.  Archaeologists interface directly and indirectly with curators, re-enactors, interpreters, and other supporters of these protected places. Together, specialists, citizen scientists and interpreters represent these colonial spaces to the public.  At Fort Vancouver, historical archaeology has been of particular...

  • Issues in Interpretation and Presentation of Cherokee Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Johi D. Griffin. Kathryn E Sampeck.

    A crucial challenge in the public interpretation of Cherokee archaeology and cultural heritage is for Native community members to be able to inform the interpretation and presentation in every step of the process, from formulating research design, carrying out investigations, and the dissemination of the results. The emphasis in both formulating and interpreting cultural heritage work conducted by the authors is to use frameworks and approaches that start from Cherokee perspectives and goals....

  • A New Attitude: Balancing Site Confidentiality and Public Interpretation at Delaware State Parks (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jonathan Wickert. John P McCarthy.

    It is generally an article of archaeological faith that the location of archaeological resources needs to kept confidential, secret even, to protect resources from vandalism and to respect the sacredness of ancestral sites. That was the attitude that dominated in Delaware State Parks to such an extent that only a handful of interpretive waysides mention Native Americans in any way at all and only one mentions prehistoric archaeology. This resulted in a public unaware of the stories of Native...

  • The Politics of Landscape Representation and Kamakhya (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Priyanka Tamta. Sukanya Sharma.

    The archaeological site of Kamakhya is a religious site but it is also an important marker for studying the changing dynamics of socio-political and economic shift of this region. The 1512 years habitation history of the Kamakhya temple shows a gradual development of the site from a religious site to an archaeological site and finally as an historical landmark. Since the 5th century AD there was a continuous struggle between different beliefs, faiths and power on the site to become the dominant...

  • Programme to Practice: Public Archaeology Is Feminist Archaeology (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kim Christensen. Jodi A. Barnes.

    Margaret Conkey and Joan Gero published "Programme to Practice: Gender and Feminism in Archaeology" in 1997 to underscore the ways feminist critiques of science could transform the practice of archaeology. In this paper, we argue that their feminist critique profoundly shaped the practice of public archaeology. We explore the nature of scientific inquiry, multivocality, politics and collaborative forms of knowledge production, and the necessity of making interpretations more meaningful as...

  • The Ralph J. Bunche Community Project (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah A. Grady.

    Built in 1930 in southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the Ralph J. Bunche Rosenwald-type school transitioned from a Jim Crow-era school to a community center after integration and a fight from the community to preserve the building and use it as a community center. The surrounding African American community still uses this building to celebrate its history and culture. The University of Maryland and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center partner with the center in preserving the school...

  • Restoration and Archeology at San Jacinto: Dividing Legend from Fact through Dialogue (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Boyd R Harris. Katelyn Shaver. Ruth Matthews. Michael Strutt.

    The Battle of San Jacinto resulted in the defeat of Mexico and the establishment of the Texas Republic in 1836 against overwhelming odds.  The site, however, has been altered by the many commemorative contributions, landscape modifications, ground subsidence, and park operations.  These have made interpretaion of this decisive battle difficult.  It is only through archeology and environmental restoration projects that park interpreters are able to create historically correct vistas.  The...

  • "We can do better, we have to do better": Reevaluating and Remounting a Traveling Exhibit (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Pruitt. Stefan F. Woehlke.

    When approaching the evolving horizons of interpretation and presentation, it is important to reevaluate our own efforts. In 2013, archaeologists from the University of Maryland mounted an exhibit based on their research at the Wye House Plantation. The exhibit ran at a museum in a nearby town. It was a culmination of years of excavation and cultivating relationships with descendants. Despite the archaeologists' efforts, the exhibit fell short of their goals. This prompted reflection and...

  • What Do All These Broken Things Mean? Collectively Interpreting the Archaeology of The Hill Neighborhood in Easton, Maryland (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tracy H. Jenkins.

    The Hill neighborhood in Easton, Maryland, is a place where people have come together over the past 200 years to fight slavery, racism, economic marginalization, and gender inequity.  These efforts are reflected in the archaeological record.  However, the legacy of earlier generations is threatened by decades of disinvestment and a tide of gentrification.  The Hill Community Project therefore aims to use research, public interpretation, and preservation to revitalize the built and social fabric...