What is Public Archaeology?

To me, public archaeology is archaeology that is accessible to the public, serves the public, and aids underrepresented communities. Accessibility to the public is crucial because it allows the public to gain more knowledge about the projects and the goals of public archaeology. Furthermore, more accessibility allows for community involvement and input, helping public archaeology serve the public through collaboration and helping archaeologists address concerns from the community. In general, the perspectives of archaeology, and the broader field of anthropology, provide more open-minded and inclusive approaches to projects, allowing for public archaeology to aid underrepresented communities.

The project we are conducting at the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery (HCPC) aligns with my definition in several ways. For example, we keep the projects accessible to the public through the blog, contact with news organizations, and contact with family members and other community members. Our project also serves the public through connecting family members with their loved ones. Furthermore, we are recording the gravestones and mapping the cemetery to provide a resource to the public. Finally, our project serves underrepresented communities, such the poor, which are represented in the HCPC.

The lines of investigation I am interested in pursuing are exploring patterns or trends that are present in the cemetery, as well as the overall evolution of the cemetery. It would also be interesting to involve more family members in the project to learn more about their backgrounds and histories.


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