Advancing Public Perceptions of Sustainability through Archaeology

Part of: SAA Electronic Symposia Papers, 84th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM (2019)

This collection contains the abstracts of the papers presented in the session entitled "Advancing Public Perceptions of Sustainability through Archaeology," at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Archaeologists offer a unique viewpoint to sustainability discourse. We have claimed our place in that conversation thanks to our ability to document deep histories of social, political, economic, and environmental change. Archaeology also enjoys a broad public appeal, and this symposium will explore how we might capitalize on that appeal to advance public perceptions of sustainability. Participants will outline the contributions their research makes to our understanding of sustainability in the past, and then shift to a discussion of specific and creative strategies that their research could generate for communicating sustainability science to the public. Participants will consider this challenge through two approaches. First, a localized approach: how can archaeology be used to communicate sustainability science to local communities we engage with in the field, and how can our work address the environmental concerns affecting the landscapes we study? Second, a globalized approach: how can the findings from our particular archaeological case studies be tailored to build public support for sustainability initiatives at a larger scale, in our home countries and internationally? By exploring imaginative yet practical ways that we can communicate our data to the public, we can expand the potential of archaeology’s contribution to sustainable development.