Public Archaeology & what it means to me…

The 7 different types of Public Archaeology that are pictured by Gabe Moshenska, provide a great insight into the prosperous world of public archaeology and its growing influence towards the public and current/future archaeologists. When asked directly, what public archaeology means to me, one must first have a better understanding of what it means, in itself. I think it is important to know that it is not meant to be “an exhausting list” but rather a nice platform of what it represents. It’s flexibility further emphasizes critical key concepts that are needed of its representation.

Public archaeology means that archaeologist and the public can work collectively for the benefit of society. Professionals can work separately in a public sector, educational setting or individuals seeking open archaeology, popular and by the public. What I see in common with most, if not all of these certain categories is, whether you are a professional archaeologist or working as an individual, it ultimately benefits the public overall as each coincide. What raises the question are its ethical issues. In what ways are both parties benefiting. Is one or the other being affected. Can it be truly defined as public archaeology?

This semester, the HCPCP has provided me with some hands on experience and knowledge. As a service learning course alone, its description speaks a thousand words. What better way to understand public archaeology than to work directly with and for the community. In collaboration with the Hidalgo county, we are able to provide assistance to them while also gaining educational experience for us students. Not only is it influencing our personal growth and future career paths, but we are also able to give back. This project is also made readily accessible to the public by means of a Blog, as an introduction to the project and to keep the people informed on ongoing work. It is a wonderful partnership with exciting progress.

Image result for community togetherness

What lines of investigation are you interested in pursuing?
My interest lies more towards working alongside the public and in open archaeology. I have learned that working together with the community is more beneficial and rewarding. It is usually in the best interest of both parties and it is great to see the amount of work that can be done when people are working together. I also think that ethical issues may not arise as often due to its universal consensus. Which I am sure is not so simple but still very collaborative. While in open archaeology, it allows people to be informed and possibly involved in important work that is being done. Even if some people may not agree, there is still a potential open understanding that people can view and speak freely. In a way, both of these are very informative and educational. You can gain experience and knowledge from both aspects. In the end, isn’t that what public archaeology is all about. It is not limited to these or seven categories but open to a broad range of approaches, ethical and practical engagements, and working with and for the public. This is my understanding of public archaeology.

0 thoughts on “Public Archaeology & what it means to me…

  1. I agree, Public Archaeology is a collaboration between professionals and the Public because it allows both to build off one another and progress the project at hand. With the HCPCP we are collecting data and sharing it with the public through this website and from there individuals from the community are coming forth and sharing their stories of the deceased and filling in the blanks of the main story that is this portion of the Rio Grande Valley and the different cultures/people that settled here.

  2. I definitely agree! Public Archaeology would not be possible without the community. Many seem to forget that the land they are trying to understand is home to many. I believe by receiving a mutual understanding with those who live there will benefit the whole purpose of the project on both sides, from the archaeologist side and the communities side. With the HCPCP both sides benefit, it is a rewarding feeling to know we are helping those in the community and the county by giving identification to those graves that are unmarked. Families can finally be reunited after years! It is all done with respect towards the graves and the loving family members. We as students, and future anthropologists/archaeologists receive a bigger understanding of the culture and people who have lived there.

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