A Vision for Archaeological Literacy

M. Elaine Franklin and Jeanne M. Moe

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 A Vision for Archaeological Literacy

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  • Archaeology
  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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Many archaeology educators routinely use current educational research and best practices to design and deliver high-quality educational materials to the public. Debates exist concerning whether public archaeology refers to archaeology with the public, for the public, of the public, or archaeology of public resources. Archaeological literacy refers to the knowledge, ideas, and habits of mind that, as a profession, one wants citizens to possess. An archaeologically literate citizenry concerns itself with saving the past for the future. It understands that history matters. Many parallels can be made between the profession's desire for archaeological literacy and that of American scientists to develop scientific literacy; work on the public understanding of science is dominated by empirical studies of the understanding of scientific issues and research amongst the non-scientific public. A purposeful effort is proposed among archaeologists to guide public understanding around essential archaeological concepts, knowledge, processes, and beliefs, with the goal of developing an archaeologically literate citizenry.

Keywords: educational research; archaeological literacy; scientific literacy; archaeologically literate citizenry; empirical studies

Article.  6945 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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