1. *Corresponding author. Deputy Head of Archaeology, Historic Environment Scotland, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SH, Scotland, UK. Kirsty.firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Head of Archaeology and World Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SH, Scotland, UK. Rebecca.email@example.com
Cite this as: Owen, K. and Jones, R. 2019 Presenting an Archaeology for Everyone: Changing our approach to publicly funded archaeological investigation in Scotland, Internet Archaeology 51. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.51.3
We explore the idea of the 'public benefit' of archaeology and argue that our definition of what this means needs to be broadened, so that those that fund and consume archaeological information, and those that currently do not, can better understand the full breadth of its importance and significance.
Archaeological information is relevant to, and in many cases actively contributes to, discussions of climate change, the promotion of diversity, the construction of sustainable communities and the appreciation and understanding of place. We will present and discuss some of the range of projects that are currently being supported through Historic Environment Scotland's Archaeology Programme, which is now focused on the delivery of Scotland's Archaeology Strategy. Many of these projects bring together professional archaeologists and members of the public, but how do we get a greater variety of people interested? It will be argued that one of the key roles of a national body is to bridge the gap between people's day-to-day lives and archaeology, making clearer why it is important to everyone. There are clearly challenges inherent in this approach.
We argue that different forms of media can be used to amplify the relevance of archaeological information, and that this could be done more effectively. At present, archaeological information is largely consumed as an academic text-based narrative, hard to understand by the general public, and its relevance to everyday life is rarely clearly conveyed. We are seeking to improve this through better, more relevant, stories and imagery. The scientific endeavours of archaeologists, varying from landscape reconstruction to analysis of ancient diet are often relevant to contemporary issues – this could be better explored and promoted.
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