Public Archaeology and Education

Both Moe and Jeppson stress the importance of having archaeology taught in schools. Moe describes Project Archaeology, which is an education program aimed at providing educators with the materials they need in order to teach archaeology in their schools. Moe’s strategies for incorporating archaeology into youth education were ideal and apparently successful. Jeppson, on the other hand, seemed rather cynical and instead attacked the issue of “culture wars”, which directly affects what gets taught in schools, including archaeology. She claims that the political right makes teaching social studies (which archaeology and anthropology are classified under) difficult, if not impossible. She takes it a step further, however, by arguing that archaeologists do nothing to stop this. According to her, archaeologists should take more active roles as “culture warriors”. I think while Moe’s Project Archaeology is good for schools, Jeppson is also right in arguing that we need to perhaps be more aware and active in our current political climate for archaeology to even have a future. Hopefully while remaining politically vigilant, we can continue to have projects to teach children archaeology. It is incredibly important to have a younger generation interested and engaged in archaeological pursuits because without them, archaeology will likely fade from existence. I think initiatives such as the CHAPS program from our own university do an excellent job in providing archaeological and historical information to school children, as well as adults. Having an annual archaeology fair has also helped to make more children (and again, adults) more aware of archaeology in general. Initiatives such as these are vital to the development of archaeology in our local community, and starting with children is a sure way to ensure its survival. Hopefully these programs will pave the way for more archaeological conceptions in the education realm. I believe that our local students will not only benefit from such conceptions, but also become truly interested in archaeology not as a subject, but as a possible career.

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