Unintended Collaborations: interpreting archaeology on social media

Chiara Zuanni

Formerly Institute for Cultural Practices, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. Email:

Cite this as: Zuanni, C. 2017 Unintended Collaborations: interpreting archaeology on social media, Internet Archaeology 46.


The spinning statuette in the Ancient Worlds Galleries, Manchester Museum. Image credit: Chiara Zuanni

This article analyses the online reactions to a 'viral' video of an Egyptian artefact displayed in the Manchester Museum. It discusses the circulation of the video and the interpretations of this episode emerging from casual online conversations. Behind professionally led initiatives, audiences are contributing in a variety of ways on social media to disseminate and interpret archaeological news. This article discusses how user-generated data could support research on the public understanding of archaeology and it argues for more research on these casual and unintended collaborations on social media. However, while emphasising the potential for research of these data, the article also considers the impact of these unintended contributions on heritage professionals and the difficulties in negotiating competing and dissenting narratives on social media.

Go to article Table of Contents.