Communicating Archaeology

The “Hidden Audience” described by Allen (2002) is like writing to your biggest critic. In working on our project I feel as though we do not have a biggest critic, other than ourselves maybe. Our project is being conducted in such a positive and excited way that I do not think any of the members fear reaching a critic. Our “hidden audience” could be someone and it could be no one. It may even be people in academia. There is a fear in not sounding smart enough in front of a professor, professional, anyone who is knowledgeable in something you may not be. However, our project has received nothing but positivity from the audience it has reached. I feel our “hidden audience” may not be as hidden as we anticipate.

Next, I personally do not exactly see Allen’s 10 Rules applied to pieces I have read. A lot of articles that are assigned in my classes are written for a mature, educated audience. The articles will state many pieces of information that is likely not understandable to an individual that is not a part of the project. I have had a similar conversation with other students and they agreed that a lot of articles that are assigned are statistical and contains very strange math. However, there have been a few readings I have been assigned that were far easier to understand because it was written as a story. The author stated in the beginning of the story that it is often complicated for an anthropologist/ archaeologist to write their story and findings without sounding egocentric (thinking of oneself). With this information stated in the beginning, I was unaware of what to expect. The book was well-written and engaging. He explained his experiences while also focusing on the data he collected. I noticed that there are few articles or academic books that provide an insight as explained, but I found when they do the reading is far more easy to read and understand.

For our project, we should be telling positive stories of our time there and our discoveries. Usually, the second I tell an individual that I attend class at a cemetery it is automatically assumed I will be digging up bodies. Or awkwardly standing and observing the cemetery. We should tell stories that educate and provide a positive insight on what is being done at the cemetery. After I correct the individual on their preconceived notion I share with the, what the project is about and our short and long-term goals. I tell the individuals that on our very first day we ever went out to the cemetery to perform our work, the very first grave I came across happened to be an individual that died the same day and date, except 40 years prior. I tell the individuals about the offerings we find, or even the animal remains. I share these stories in ways they understand and relate to. I share the stories with such excitement and knowledge about what our project is about that they become informed of the cemetery now, or I am thought of from time-to-time when they stumble upon other cemetery research.

0 thoughts on “Communicating Archaeology

  1. In this project, since we are working in a cemetery with personal information and highlighting potentially negative views toward certain groups, we could be exposed to some forms of criticism. Some community members may feel that we are acting disrespectfully by taking photographs of graves, or some may become embarrassed to be associated with negative views of our community. I think on the whole, however, our project will avoid this criticism if we maintain respectful and open communication with the community.

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