Conclusion: Ignorance is no Longer an Option

We finish with an observation about the importance of regarding evaluation as an intrinsic component of DPA, rather than either forgetting about it entirely or leaving it to the very end because of lack of time, resources or, as happens sometimes, the knowledge and skills needed to undertake it.

New digital media are opening up further opportunities to assess the effectiveness of archaeological communications in relation to the stated aims and objectives of specific projects. The move from a unidirectional Web 1.0 to a more dramatically interactive Web 2.0 and 3.0 has led to the generation of a data deluge. Aside from its impressive if not daunting quantity, these data are characterised by velocity and variety, a fine-grained and relational nature and flexibility. When we use web platforms for public archaeology, we also collect information that can be extraordinarily useful in reviewing our work. Informed by relevant theory and mixed with small data methods offline, this data deluge may help us understand where we stand and how we can improve DPA.

Digital practices are still finding their place within UK public archaeology, and there is an immediate need for more research focusing on monitoring and understanding impacts and sustainability, as well as more general critiques and reflections (e.g. Henson 2013; Walker 2014). At the same time, there are innovative projects taking place, some of them generating resources that are likely to be of wider and longer-term value. Most archaeology, like most traditional theatre, operates with an imaginary 'fourth wall' separating the performers from the audience. The most exciting thing about DPA is the extent to which it enables or might come to enable the breaking down of that fourth wall.