Make history: public archaeology as a way of life

Author(s): Kevin M. O'Briant

Year: 2017


Archaeologists, historians, and other scholars in the heritage sector share a responsibility to public interpretation, education, and the dissemination of our current understandings of the past often while challenging myths and dominant histories that clash with those interpretations. Use of dense academic jargon in archaeological publications represents a significant barrier to public engagement with our work, and narrow specializations prevent us from deploying our investigative tools to illuminate the past in our own local regions and communities. This presentation highlights ways to engage the public in our own communities through heritage tourism, school outreach, adult education programs, plant identification walks, and neighborhood archaeology projects. By literally digging in our own backyards and leveraging peer-reviewed journals, student papers, and the "grey literature" generated by local cultural resource management projects, we can educate our friends and neighbors about the value of archaeological research methods, interpret the histories and prehistories of the landscapes we inhabit, and counter the erasure of indigenous people from local historical narratives.

Cite this Record

Make history: public archaeology as a way of life. Kevin M. O'Briant. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428840)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15251