Public Archaeology and Indigenous Archaeology

Joe Watkins

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 Archaeology and Indigenous Archaeology

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  • Archaeology
  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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Public archaeology, as a method of involving public groups in the practice of archaeology, has a powerful possibility of benefiting tribal groups by allowing their full involvement. Indigenous archaeology utilizes the general elements of archaeological theory associated with cultural historical, processual, and post-processual approaches. This article discusses public archaeology and indigenous archaeology in terms of each branch's utility to Native American groups in the United States. It provides a brief history and description of indigenous archaeology, and then examines some of the intersections and divergences between public archaeology and indigenous archaeology. The article discusses how public archaeology can benefit tribal groups, some of its strengths and weaknesses, and some of the shortcomings within current public archaeology programmes and ideas. Suggestions are presented for making public archaeology better suited to Native American use, either as a part of a hybrid public indigenous archaeology, or as a means in and of itself.

Keywords: public archaeology; indigenous archaeology; Native American groups; post-processual approaches; cultural historical approach

Article.  5948 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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