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Trash, Histories, and Community Engagement: Integrating Service Learning into the Archaeology Curriculum

Author(s): Jennifer Zovar

Year: 2016

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As educators teaching archaeology at the introductory level, it can be challenging to develop hands-on exercises that allow students to discover how archaeological knowledge is generated, especially when teaching at institutions without large labs or active field projects. Another major challenge is helping students to understand the relevance of archaeological research in the modern world. One way to achieve both goals may be to bring the archaeological classroom into the community, as students engage in community service projects that draw on their archaeological training in recording and analyzing material culture. For example, students could conduct a "garbage project" at a local park or historic area, curate artifacts for a veteran’s group or retirement home, work with Native communities on archaeological outreach, help to clean up and/or record data from a historic cemetery, etc. This poster reports the results of a pilot project designed to make connections with potential community partners and describes the integration of the resulting student studies into an Introduction to Archaeology classroom. Projects like this one teach students that archaeology is not simply an academic exercise, but a project through which we can substantially contribute to our communities and the world at large.

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Trash, Histories, and Community Engagement: Integrating Service Learning into the Archaeology Curriculum. Jennifer Zovar. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404253)


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America