Public Benefits of Public Archaeology

Barbara J. Little

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Public Benefits of Public Archaeology

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  • Archaeology
  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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Public archaeology means something far broader than archaeology that is completed to comply with legal and regulatory requirements or paid for by public funds. Professional archaeologists practise at least three main categories of public archaeology: cultural resource management or cultural heritage management under public law; outreach and education with the intention of preventing looting and vandalism of archaeological places and to combat the illicit international trade in antiquities; and archaeology that aims to help communities or individuals in some way or to solve societal problems. Archaeology plays a large part in the growing worldwide heritage movement, which recognizes a broadening array of tangible places, including landscapes and very recent archaeological sites, as well as diverse stakeholders. Archaeology raises consciousness and awareness, and encourages different ways of seeing the world, thinking about it, and acting in it. The study of it has the potential to explain the contingency of all human endeavour.

Keywords: public archaeology; heritage movement; cultural heritage management; societal problems; archaeological sites

Article.  8611 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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