Public: Education, Communication and Various Understandings of the Past

Arwa Badran (Hashemite University); Akira Matsuda (University of East Anglia); Nofa Nasser, (Friends of Archaeology and Heritage, Jordan)


The relationship between archaeology and the public has been widely researched and its practices critically debated. Developments in ideas, approaches and strategies within this field in many parts of the world looked into the role of archaeology within the public realm from various angles, such as community engagement and learning about and from the past; participatory approaches to sustainable heritage management, public interpretation and meaning-making of heritage; teaching about the past in formal education, and the role of archaeologists towards sharing the public the benefit of archaeology.

Sessions and individual contributions within this theme may address a number of questions related to this dilemma: How does public archaeology (theory and practice) and its development differ across the globe? How do archaeologists communicate the past to the public? How should archaeology engage the public and inform their learning of the past? How does teaching about the past, whether within formal or informal education, differ across the globe? What are the effects and implications of these different teaching styles? To what extent are policies and strategies allowing for bottom up public participation in managing heritage? Where does ownership or stewardship over the past lie? We also welcome sessions that discuss successful examples of public archaeology and education.


Local Impacts of Global Heritage

Luis Gerardo Franco (Universidad Nacional de Catamarca); Dante Angelo (Universidad de Arica); Elisangela Morais(Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)


Much of the recent papers dealing with the relationship between heritage and local communities emphasize local discourses that challenge a dominant global discourse. A common response to these claims was to insert them into official codes and legislation; unwittingly or not, acknowledgement and reparation seem to promote the normalization of these interpellations by incorporating them into the official discourse. Nevertheless, as these definitions are internalized in the individual and collective bodies they trigger new processes in which memories connect, build anew and fade. It is in these processes where we locate a prolific vein of analysis of the relationships and conflicts that arise between local communities and global pronouncements on material and/or immaterial cultural practices. We want to encourage conversation about possible lines of flight, and scenarios in which the achievement of consensus is replaced by a deepening conflict between the local and global. Are there a follow up cases in which, having raised the confrontation between local communities and official discourse, we could provide a better assessment of these processes towards a concept of equity through heritage? Are these cases events/processes that tear apart the course of history or just reify them?


Getting Published in Archaeology

Mitch Allen (Left Coast Press, Inc., United States of America)


This workshop is designed to give the researcher guidance on how to publish an archaeological study through standard journals and book publishers. Taught by one of the leading archaeological publishers, the workshop will help you learn to frame your study in terms of multiple article and book publications, to research appropriate publishers for your work, to view your book or article as a publisher or journal editor would, and to develop strategies to have your publication accepted. We will discuss what to do with dissertations, with papers from conference sessions, with large archaeological datasets, and examine alternatives to traditional publication outlets. For junior scholars who are just learning the “rules of the game,” the workshop should provide guidance toward successfully building a body of publications. Bring your own book or article idea for discussion. Handouts included.


The presentation of prehistory

Bill Finlayson, (CBRL, United Kingdom); Aysar Akrawi, (Petra National Trust, Jordan)


Prehistoric archaeology is generally neglected in terms of public presentation and outreach, especially when compared to the efforts made to promote the archaeology of later periods. There are a number of obvious reasons for this, including the remoteness of prehistory in terms of time and lifestyle, the apparent difficulty in understanding prehistory, and because prehistoric archaeology has rarely been part of the historic narratives used to promote modern nation states. There are notable exceptions, but these usually relate to the monumental, such as Stonehenge in the UK, Newgrange in Ireland, or the emerging promotion of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. However, as archaeologists we frequently argue that many of the most important developments in the human story occur in prehistory. If this is the case then it is equally important for us to engage with a wider public on many levels, from on-site interpretation to public outreach and learning. Until recently this has been particularly neglected in the countries of the Middle East, a region of particular significance in prehistoric development. This session will consider a wide variety of approaches designed to promote public engagement with prehistory, and to encourage an identification with our earlier heritage.


Consumers, Producers, or Interactive Partners? Toward Multivocality in Participatory Archaeology

John H Jameson, (U.S. National Park Service; ICOMOS ICIP, United States of America); Harold Mytum, (University of Liverpool); Anabel Ford, (University of California, Santa Barbara)


“Participatory culture” is a term used in contrast to consumer culture. It refers to a culture in which individuals and the public do not act only as consumers, but also as contributors or producers. Most public archaeology perceives non-professionals as consumers, with many forms of successful interpretive schemes, but this session examines the range of ways the wider population can participate in the creation of new understanding about the past. Participatory culture models can be applied to the many ways that archaeologists are increasingly using collaborative approaches in working with the public. Successful programs empower and motivate lay persons to more active involvement in not only archaeological fieldwork but also interpretation/dissemination processes. This conceptual shift allows analyses of public participation in the production of “new” knowledge. The session expands the discussions from previous conferences (2011-2012 symposia, Society for Historical Archaeology) of archaeologist/lay person collaborative relationships within a participatory culture model. Examples are presented of: (1) How non-academics and lay persons create, use, and react to this new knowledge; (2) How, in these variable relationships, professional and lay researchers interact; (3) What sorts of pasts are being created; and (4) How these interpretations complement or compete with traditional archaeological knowledge claims.


Archaeology: Community and Engagement

Hani N El-Din (AlQuds University, Palestine)


The Jerusalem Archaeological Studies Unit of Al-Quds University is hosting this session. The presentation will be based on the findings of a survey conducted within the community of the Old City of Jerusalem. Specifically, it will gather responses and perceptions regarding respective interpretations of archaeology, cultural history, heritage, location, and space. This will consider perceptions of the past, the present, and the future.

The objective of the presentation is to share the findings and analysis to a broader public due to the critical importance of the Old City of Jerusalem. It should be noted that the Old City is a unique paradigm reflecting different layers of archaeology and perceptions which have informed different realities due to its contestation. Moreover, the ongoing transformation of the city provides a dynamic example of the local community’s perception within a changing landscape.

The Unit’s team is comprised of the renowned archaeologist, Dr. Hani Nur el-Din, the University’s Director of Strategic Planning on Jerusalem, Ms. Sonia Najjar, and the Planning and Development Officer Mr. Omar Zaro.


The past is living in the present: towards a living heritage approach

Neel Kamal Chapagain (Independent Researcher/Professional, Nepal); Gamini Wijesuriya (ICCROM, Rome); Jagath Weerasinghe (Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, Sri Lanka); Nida Nayci (Mersin University, Turkey); Valerie Magar (Archaeological Conservator, Mexico)


Is past a distant truth or is it living in the present? Are local communities’ everyday interaction with archaeologically important objects and sites ‘threats’ to heritage or ‘opportunities’? Are we – professionals and researchers, able to understand the non-professional everyday notions of heritage and its maintenance? How do we respond to continuity and change? These are just a few of the key questions this session will dwell upon. This session emphasizes on a proposition that ‘community’, ‘continuity’ and ‘change’ should be important drivers in defining and preserving many heritage objects and sites. This makes us to comprehend that the past is living in the present and that the continuity of community engagement is as important as material existence.

Within the light of recent developments – particularly at the ‘Living Heritage Approach’ at ICCROM,the session aims to share and discuss conceptual and ethical issues, methodological tools, and potential directions in ‘living heritage approach’ through understanding, enhancement and integration of local people, traditional knowledge systems and intangible values into current management systems of archaeological sites. The session will also feature case studies from different countries and a dedicated half-hour discussion at the end to explore further people centered approaches for defining and conserving heritage.


Increasing multivocality through technology

Dan Thompson (Global Heritage Fund); Veysel Apaydin (Institute of Archaeology, UCL); Lorna Richardson (Institute of Archaeology, UCL)


Multivocality has received a great deal of attention in recent years, and this session will explore ways in which technology can be used to increase multivocality and extend its audience. Increasingly, researchers are taking into account the perspectives of indigenous communities and other primary stakeholder groups around cultural heritage sites, but this input is often filtered or edited before its dissemination. How, then, can technology be employed to allow for more extensive and direct multivocality? Inexpensive video recording devices and the internet provide obvious possibilities, but are there other approaches as well? Indeed, though the democratization of online communication and production has stretched the boundaries of belonging, the internet remains an exclusive enclave for those that can access and use it. Inequalities propagated by the internet are subtle and nuanced. The digital divide, access to equipment, socio-technical ‘capital’ and the concept of archaeological authority perpetuate the balance of inequalities of production, access, voice and community in online ‘Public’ Archaeology. This forum-based session seeks input from researchers promoting multivocality as well as indigenous community members and others who can provide varying perspectives on the origin, purpose and use of cultural heritage sites around the world and methods to communicate that knowledge.


Experiences with museum-based cultural heritage programs at the Smithsonian Institution

Nihad Shabbar (Yarmouk University, Jordan); Carol Butler (Yarmouk University, Jordan); Nancy Micklewright(Yarmouk University, Jordan); Qasid Mallah (Yarmouk University, Jordan)


Over the past 5 years Smithsonian staff have collaborated across different museums to lead programs for visiting international professionals who work in some aspect of cultural heritage preservation or museum collections management, with the aim of sparking collections care and management, exhibition, or public education projects or programs that can be executed at the participant’s institution. This forum aims to discuss the different approaches, techniques, and activities offered from both art museum and natural history museum perspectives and explore what has been effective, challenging, and innovative based on the experiences of participants in recent programs.


Museums in the Middle East region

Fatma Marii (The Jordan Museum, Jordan); Abd Al Rahman Al Srouji (Yarmouk University, Jordan)


Museums in the Middle East, especially the national museums, were established in most of the countries at the beginning of the last century. There was a diversity of purposes to establish these museums, as well different techniques to exhibit and display the objects in these museums. Functions of these museums are different, are still developing with the needs of its nation, and are moreover changing with the latest developments of museology in the Western World.

In this session there will be presentations about museums in Egypt and Iraq, as well we hope to get at least two presentations from the Jordan Museum, which is established recently in Jordan, and the focus will be on establishing a national museum in modern times, and how it is affected with both purposes of establishing a museum for the nation and the new theories and applications of museums in the modern Western World. We look forward to receiving more presentations about museums in the regions that can enrich this session with different narratives about the story of museums in this region.