To my understanding, public archaeology is for the public, and largely by the public. Public archaeology means community involvement, consideration for and preservation of local heritage, collaborative work between institutions of education and investigation, and it can also very much be activist archaeology. I think our project aligns with this in that it directly affects members of the community or the public, and it encourages the public to contribute to the completion of the project. This means that it covers community involvement and the intention to preserve something but significance to our local heritage. I also strongly believe that by putting together the pieces of the story of the Hidalgo County public Cemetery, we are inherently making this a matter of activism because we are uncovering truths about inequality and marginalization, in the history and in the present day of this community.
The lines of investigation that I am interested in pursuing for this project are the questions of social justice, like the racism and poverty that is apparent was present in the region. I think it’s important to reflect on the impacts of these acts today, not just for the cemetery but for the people. Outside of what is already established at the moment, some of the aspects of public archaeology that I would like to more solidly incorporate into the HCPC project are collaborative work between the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and museums or galleries or sister/neighboring institutions of education.
Additionally, it could be exciting to see community involvement grow with the hosting of events relevant to the culture of the region, like Day of the Dead celebrations. Community involvement could also mean club involvement, like the university’s Anthropology Club.