Archaeology and the Public presents case studies of the practice of archaeology in a global context. Public archaeology serves as a necessary complement to traditional academic archaeology, providing a link between the consumers and producers of information about the prehistoric and historic past. Archaeological research has changed significantly since the 1980s, today dominated by legislative based archaeology and goals of disseminating archaeological data beyond the academy. Therefore, this course explores current methods in the collection, curation, and interpretation of archaeological materials from the perspective of museums, private consulting firms, government agencies, the amateur public, and Indigenous communities. The course investigates the complex social landscape that practicing archaeologists must navigate in the modern day as well as coming decades. The course reviews the legislation that shapes archaeological practice, media representations of archaeology, career paths and preparation in public archaeology, archaeological ethics, outreach and education in archaeology, community partnerships, looting and destruction of cultural heritage, amateur archaeologists, and heritage tourism. In all cases the importance of civic engagement is emphasized. Engagement is necessary for disseminating archaeological knowledge, considering alternative views and differing impacts of archaeological research, and maintaining the relevance of archaeology in the 21st century.
In this course students will:
- Gain working knowledge of how archaeological data is created, interpreted, displayed, and stored in private and public settings.
- Examine professional ethics from multiple perspectives, including those that produce, interpret and consume archaeological data.
- Witness the diverse career tracks available within the discipline of archaeology.
- Examine the issues of both the destruction and preservation of the archaeological record, viewed from perspectives of archaeologist, museum specialists, descendent communities, looters, and collectors.
- Create projects interpreting and disseminating archaeological data using “real world” examples.
Field WorkCountry: Mauritius
Date: October 19, 2017
The Mauritius field course for ANTH 456 provides students the opportunity to tour the old city of Port Louis and two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Aapravasi Ghat Ghat and Le Morne. Aapravasi Ghat Ghat is an immigration port where hundreds of thousands of indentured workers from Africa, India, and Asia arrived between 1849 – 1920 to work in local sugar farms or transfer to other for similar work. The site includes standing structures from the depot as well as an interpretive center. After touring this site we will take a walking tour of the old city before departing for Le Morne. On the way to Le Morne we will view the sugar cane fields and discuss the history of Mauritius. The Le Morne Cultural Landscape is notable for its preservation of a spectacular mountain and beach landscape where escaped slaves from Africa to Asia took refuge and established maroon communities in the 18th to 19th centuries. We will enjoy lunch on the beach, meet with representatives from the Le Morne National Heritage Trust Fund to discuss the landscape and heritage policies, and visit a recently excavated rock shelter occupied by maroons. Our day ends at the Port Louis citadel to view sunset over the city.
1. Students will describe three aspects of Mauritian heritage encountered in the field course and explain why these are significant to global heritage.
2. Students will describe the archaeological contribution to the heritage sites visited during the course.
3. Students will identify the factors that distinguish heritage sites and heritage landscapes.
4. After their visit students will produce a four page essay that analyzes the sites visited during the course in the context of the above learning objectives as well as the heritage ethics, laws, practices, and other sites discussed in the course. This assignment will emphasize the archaeological, cultural, and heritage value of the sites they visited.