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A Four Stage Approach to Community Archaeology, illustrated with case studies from Dorset, England

Hayley Roberts, John Gale and Kate Welham

Cite this as: Roberts, H., Gale, J. and Welham, K. 2020 A Four Stage Approach to Community Archaeology, illustrated with case studies from Dorset, England, Internet Archaeology 55.


Standing in a field, participants learn how to conduct a resistivity survey during case study 2. Image credit: Hayley Roberts
Participants learning how to conduct a resistivity survey during case study 2. Image credit: Hayley Roberts

This article presents an approach to guide the planning, development and evaluation of community archaeology. This will assist practitioners of all forms of community archaeology by providing a pathway to ethical practice that will benefit all. The approach focuses attention on four elements that are integral to community archaeology and which should always be considered: Who (the people involved); Why (their motivation); the Archaeology (in the broadest sense, including research questions and research methods); and How (the specific format the community engagement will take). This framework is applied to three case study community archaeology projects in Dorset, England, in order to demonstrate challenging examples of planned and reflexive community archaeology.

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  • Keywords: Community archaeology, public archaeology, methodology, evaluation, Dorset, UK
  • Accepted: 9 July 2020. Published: 22 Sept 2020
  • Funding: The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund Players, Dorset County Council, Dorset Area for Outstanding Natural Beauty, the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership and Bournemouth University funded and enabled this research
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Corresponding author: Hayley RobertsORCID logo
Bournemouth University

Co-authors: John Gale
Bournemouth University

Co-authors: Kate Welham
Bournemouth University

Full text

Figure 1a / Figure 1b : Maps showing the location of case studies 1 and 3. Case study 2 was also conducted close to the village of Portesham, Dorset. Its exact location is not shown owing to the sensitive nature of the site and the wishes of the landowner

Figure 2: : Case study 2: Conducting earth resistivity survey. Image credit: Hayley Roberts

Figure 3 : Results from the earth resistivity survey conducted to the north of the site of the Portesham Mirror discovery. Image credit: Hayley Roberts

Figure 4: The participants in case study 3 during the site visit. Image credit: Hayley Roberts

Figure 5: Valley of Stones field system. Image credit: Hayley Roberts

Table 1: Results of vote within case study 1

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