My engaged archaeology project was the combination of the survey and writing aspects in which I analyzed the components of engaged archaeology and the guidelines that are followed by the archaeological community when addressing the public. In conjunction I conducted a survey in which I analyzed a sample of the general public in order to determine the success of the archaeological community’s direction of archaeological information to the public. Questions that were addressed include:
– What are common association that you make concerning the field of archaeology?
– Has the archaeological community shared enough information concerning archaeological study?
– If so, how have you obtained this information? If not, what are some suggestions that can be used to improve the spread archaeological information?
From these questions, I discovered that majority of the sampled public had incorrect assumptions of the field of archaeology ranging from Indiana Jones (of course) to The Mummy and other Hollywood based depictions. Others associated the field of archaeology with that of paleontology or dinosaurs, again, another misconception provided via the media. In other aspects of my investigation, it was revealed that the general public feels that the archaeological community does not reveal enough information concerning the field of archaeology and offered manners to improve it such as; targeting elementary school education, or providing college credit in high school by operating in digs and other archaeological related processes. Another suggestion offered the option of requiring that archaeology related courses be required as a prerequisite. This is a smart option because it will provide all collegiate educated individuals with some grasp upon archaeological inquiry. This is important because in the surveys conducted many of the collegiate population lacked correct knowledge concerning the field of archaeology. A mandated archaeological study will address this lack of knowledge.
In correlation to this point it is important to recognize that the archaeological community has began targeting the younger populations because it has been discovered that they do not have interest based desires. Essentially, that targeting the younger populations will ,potentially, originate interest for archaeological information if that is what they are exposed to . Another interesting point that was found in my study is that, the percentage of participants that agreed that the archaeological community shared enough information, revealed that majority had obtained their information from non scholarly sources such as media and other sources of that nature. I, also noticed the lack of effort in some responses that were given and it furthers the point that the public does not view archaeology with much importance. This is completely false due to the fact that archaeology is directly tied to that of other areas of study such as the natural sciences and
Therefore, it is through my survey that I realized that the aspect of engaged archaeology is not as dispersed as we have thought. The public seems to be becoming increasingly influenced by the media into thinking of misconstrued perceptions. As a community we need to spread information to the public! We need to correct these misconceptions!