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Thinking Outside The Panel: Using comics to engage with multiple audiences during archaeological field schools

Author(s): John Swogger

Year: 2016

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Comics are an effective medium for promoting engagement with archaeology, as they are able to communicate complex and detailed archaeological information to audiences unfamiliar with its concepts and practice. This communication is facilitated both through the comic itself and the process of creating it.

During the University of Oregon's Palau Archaeology 2015 field school on the island of Palau, Micronesia, comics were used to present the ongoing results of excavations to multiple audiences. These audiences included "the public" in its broadest sense (tourists, local residents, schools and colleges, etc.), but also more specialist audiences: the Palau Bureau of Arts and Culture, state and national government executive officers, the community of Palauan Heritage Protection Officers, the National Museum, other science and field researchers on the islands, as well as students participating in the five-week field school.

Making comics introduced different kinds of discourse with each of these audiences. The end result was comics (as documents) which presented the results of the archaeological research, but also comics (as process) which built outreach relationships with fieldwork stakeholders. This use of comics on Palau demonstrates how the medium can create effective and innovative communication at multiple levels within archaeological field practice.

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Thinking Outside The Panel: Using comics to engage with multiple audiences during archaeological field schools. John Swogger. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404744)


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min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

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