Communicating Archaeology

The “hidden audience” that Allen describes is both similar and different from the audience of our cemetery project. Firstly, those engaged with the cemetery are generally families of very real and impoverished individuals, not abstract individuals with a hobby. However, it could be argued that both audiences must hold a certain passion to remain engaged with the subject. Allen claims that the hidden audience is not only organized and numerous, but also relatively rich. In regard to the hidden audience of archaeology, I do not believe that being rich is a substantial indicator of its enthusiasts. While it is admittedly beneficial, and often times even necessary, to pander to those with thicker wallets, including other “hidden audiences” in our addresses can also be beneficial. By other hidden audiences I mean those that are not as described by Allen, namely those without money. For example, there are likely poor individuals out there, or even very young ones, that access their archaeological readings through free internet content. Of course, this has likely only been possible in more recent years. Regardless, addressing all those who share a passion in archaeology can only help to solidify and strengthen its future.

I definitely do not usually see all of Allen’s 10 rules for addressing the hidden audience, especially not in articles I have read for other classes. Many articles or readings, while definitively educational, are not truly written for the casual or unfamiliar reader. For students, I believe this might be a little unavoidable. However, even writings that are a little too convoluted for those with a casual interest in archaeology could benefit from being more personal and to a certain degree, embellished. That isn’t to say that for a reading to be interesting it should be exaggerated and fantastical, but everyone enjoys an honest story. In most cases, it would make articles easier to read and easier to relate to. As a student who has now spent several years reading academic articles, I can attest to the fact that storytelling in writing is truly more engaging.

I think the best way to really engage the community is by telling the stories of interesting graves and grave offerings we find. Considering that most of us in the Rio Grande Valley are familiar with local occult practices, telling stories of the more spiritual offerings we have found could prove to catch the community’s interest. I think the best format in which to engage the community would be through social media. We live in an undeniably technological era so it only makes sense that we make the most of our environment. With that being said, I think it would also be beneficial to reach through newspapers so that we can also engage older generations that are still attached to traditional media. Specifically, getting our stories on the university’s Facebook page, or even creating our own Facebook page, could gather a good deal of attention. This may especially prove useful in the future, such as for the Dia de Los Muertos event that we hope to organize.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *