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.

Public Archaeology and Education

As far as the author Moe is concerned for public education and archaeology going hand in hand, it appears that they are completely complacent with archaeology being used in the context of public education to teach students or children the importance of appreciating and preserving their cultural heritage. Moe elaborates that if the idea of introducing archaeology to children is for the purpose of instilling in them a sense of respect for their heritage, and for archaeological sites and cultural material, that it should certainly be implemented into the existing curriculum of public school education.  His justification for this is that the public school system already is set up in a way that requires of educators teachers to attempt to mold children into well-doing and well-being citizens, and consequently be partly responsible for the outcomes.

Jeppson is not opposed to the idea of incorporating archaeological teachings and principles into the public school educational system, however she does strongly believe that presenting this principle of archaeology, and only this one, fosters a negative narrative in the perception of what archaeology can accomplish, and it feels a general lack of enthusiasm for the field of study. She also argues that to present archaeology as a field that only attempts to preserve and protect culture neglects the fact that archaeology and anthropology have an ugly side or origin that, although largely perceived as liberal, is at times rarely activist or progressive or just.

As far as local education goes, I suppose that for a younger audience, Moe’s approach can prove to somehow still rile up interest in the field of anthropology and archaeology. However, for an older demographic, it is not absurd to attempt to educate them on the reality of anthropology and its origins and scholars, both past and present, as well as the importance of it for the future.

Archaeology in Schools

I find it important for universities to have archaeology  as a major.Learning archaeology helps the students develop various skills across many disciplines including critical thinking. Archaeology can be included in a comprehensive curriculum for social science, history, mathematics,environmental studies,and art. It also touches on the entire spectrum of human behavior and a series of questions. Archaeology helps students appreciate history from different points of references, and also teaches students about other cultures.  Hands on experience is very important when it comes to Archaeology. It’s a great experience for students to have, and they get to learn to do field work at the same time. There’s not many schools that offer Archaeology, and it makes it very difficult for students that what to major in that. It was amazing that UTRGV  offers a hands on experience. Fields schools are very expensive, and theirs not many of them either. In conclusion there should be more universities that offer archaeology as a major, as well as more field work so students can have the opportunity to experience hands on experiences.

Public Archaeology and Education

Both Moe and Jeppson believe archaeology should be taught in public education. Where they differ is that Moe (2002) explains the Project Archaeology program while Jeppson (2008) explains that archaeology is considered a “social study” that is taught from kindergarten to fourth grade. However, Jeppson continues to explain how social studies then branches into specific educational fields from fifth thru 12th grade. As this occurs social studies is becoming less of a focus for studies.

Moe did a fantastic job painting a picture of the project that was being held, however, in the time it was written only nine states had adapted the Project Archaeology program. Those states include Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Alaska, New Mexico, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Alabama. The program is a great hands-on experience that allows students to better understand the general concept of the approach archaeologist take. This project has allowed for students to be filled with beneficial information that encourages them to ask more questions, especially as they age. Project Archaeology is not only a hands-on approach, it also provides lessons. These lessons teach the students about the past and how to better understand culture. Not only are the students learning something new, but most educators as well. The schools that engage in this project train their educators so they could properly inform and engage the students.

Jeppson (2008) takes a bit of a different approach. Jeppson informs the reader about the lack of teaching being done. Jeppson tells us how most archaeologist do not wish to become educators and how teaching archaeology in schools is controversial. By allowing schools, k-12, to teach about archaeology is compared to teaching about creationism. This becomes problematic because of the separation that needs to be made between schools and religion.  Through thought and review I believe there needs to be a combination of what Moe and Jeppson address.

Compare Project Archaeology to the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP). Our class is a hands-on experience while also offering lessons. I believe our project could be considered a gate-way to teaching archaeology in public education. When teaching students at a younger age about all the unanswered questions we almost all ask will intrigue the students. We will have already introduced the subject to these students that may find a passion for it. Through education while growing up it is a responsibility to teach the students everything they can to allow them to find their passion. In middle and high school, we learn a lot about the important wars and challenges that changed a portion of our history (i.e. WWII, The Great Depression, 9/11, etc), but a lot of schools are not teaching about what came before that. In offering hands-on teaching experiences and more relocatable historical changes we can better encourage students to learn and understand not only ourselves but others. They will understand local cultures as well as others. (This could encourage against the possibility of ethnocentrism). I can confirm, had my high school offered similar opportunities to the ones I have been offered in college I would have enjoyed myself a lot more and I would not feel behind. Our project could offer high school students the chance to broaden their knowledge.

Public Archaeology and Education

The articles by Moe (2002) and Jeppson (2008) explore the potentials of archaeology within public education. Moe argues that the purpose of public education is to produce good citizens, while the purpose of most archaeological education is the care of archaeological resources and their conservation. Jeppson would agree with this sentiment, but while Moe thinks these approaches can be successfully harnessed for public education, she argues forcefully that limiting public education of archaeology to these themes has served to undermine public appreciation of archaeology.

What programs to Moe and Jeppson propose for public education and archaeology? How are these similar and how are they different? Which approach do you think would be the most effective for local education?