Diggers and Relic Hunters: Popularizing Archaeology

Miss the SHA conference this month?  Then join our host Dr. Joe Schuldenrein and recently elected president of the Society for Historical Archaeology Dr. Charles Ewen as they discuss Public Archaeology and the importance of communicating what we do as archaeologists with the general public!  Tune in on Voice America’s Variety Channel tonight at 6pm EST

Everyone agrees that engaging the public to make archaeology relevant to society and promote stewardship of the past is a good idea, but how we go about it is a different matter.  On the one hand, many criticize academics for talking over the heads of a general audience; on the other, many archaeologists feel that popularizing archaeology with shows like National Geographic’s Diggers compromises our ethics.  The task of finding a balance between the two is a challenging one.  As we come up on the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, what do we have to show for the billions that have been invested in Cultural Resource Management?  What do we have to show that the general public will think was worth it?

Ewen2Besides being the president of the SHA, Charlie is also a full professor in the Department of Anthropology at ECU as well as Director of the Phelps Archaeology Laboratory.  He is the author or editor of five books, including Searching for the Roanoke Colonies, (NC Division of Archives and History) and X Marks the Spot: The Archaeology of Piracy (University Press of Florida).  He is currently under contract with University Press of Florida to co-author a book with Tom Shields to be entitled Roanoke Reconsidered: What Happened to the Lost Colony and another book on the archaeology of piracy.

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