Recently formed but quite popular Public Archaeology is a science with a wide framework of researches. It’s aimed to serve at the same time to the discovery and investigation of the archaeological monuments and also to the life activation of the community around the archaeological heritage.

Our purpose is to present the descriptions and the methodology of the public archaeology and to show what kind of new ideas suggests this science and what kind of prospects there will be.

Public Archaeology, in other words Communiy Archaeology is quite young as a several discipline and has a long way to pass from the point of view of clarification of the methodological provisions.

One of the founders of this science is S. Moser who gave the most comprehensive descriptions. Also British researcher David Faulkner addressed to the phenomenon of the public archaeology. He emphasized the importance of this science considering it as a preferable version of the practical knowledge. He also made suggestions for the future, to make that investigations more spreaded. The term has been promoted by Peter Liddle.[1]

Since 2000s many publications appeared with the term of “Public Archaeology”. During the following years appeared a virtual magazine with the title of “Public Archaeology” wich was reporting the results of the investigations of each year, also presenting the new publications.[2]

Great Britain and USA are two main schools of public archaeology. Except generalities there are also some methodological features between these schools. However the origin of the public archaeology is related with Great Britain, cause the first steps were done here.

Great Britain was taking attention to the archaeological heritage in the whole country. It was given public-participant character to the archaeological investigations.

More than a century ago there was a tradition to inform to local residents and to make them participant to the excavations and investigations. Volunteer groups got an opportunity to participate to the archaeological excavations.

USA was taking attention to the education, considering that the awareness is the main advantage for the community to manage own archaeological heritage and to make the community life more prosperous.

There were implemented monitorings connected the results of the public archaeology and also educational projects in GB and in USA.

The research-sphere of public archaeology is extended. At first it investigates the realization of the cultural heritage by the community, and also the participation of community in cultural life and the awareness due to many projects.

It’s important to emphasize that this science takes attention to all of the spheres and factors which are effecting to the cultural life of community such as economy cause commercial profit brings prosperity to the community and also tourist flows.

Public Archaeology is discovering historical heritage, cultural landscapes, which are speaking about the people and the past. It’s an extended sphere of interests, with participation of archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, economists, journalists.

Except the fact that public archaeology recently appeared as a several discipline, now it’s spreaded in many countries. There were implemented investigations in Northern America, Sought America, Africa, and also in European and Asian countries. There are some examples which are expressing the productivity of the application of public archaeology, such as project in Buthrint national park in Albania. Commercial profit and tourist flows came to this poor region. They also could decide arguable problems connected with national identity.[3] Buthrint is in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.[4]

There is also another beneficial project in the context of the public archaeology in Angkor archaeological complex of Cambodia. Angkor archaeological complex is in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.[5]

We marked that archaeological heritage can’t be just an archaeological area for the expeditions, or just an area for the tourism, it must be an available property for the community. That’s why American researchers began to spread those principles in countries where the cultural heritage was not so much public as private and the services were paid. Basically during the colonization cultural heritage was available only to elite.

Today there are being implemented measurments towards the awareness, museum exhibitions (sometimes free) and trainings. Educational centers are provided with practical knowledge and people are informed about their tangible and intangible cultural heritage.[6] Basically poor countries are under the attention, cause cultural heritage is damaged in these countries and human factor is always as a threat, sometimes turning into vandalism. And the barriers can’t decide this problem. So the best barrier is the community which needs to see emotional and economical contacts towards the heritage.

The participation of the community in researches of the cultural heritage gives an opportunity to the same race and ethnic groups to address to the cultural heritage like owners, concerving and using their cultural heritage with responsibility.

For inhabitants some archaeological values such as caves, rock art and cultural landscape around there have not only cultural meanings also sacred, so they concerving their heritage with responsibility. Of course the destruction of cultural heritage is anxious for each country, but extreme poverty is the main problem for the poor countries.  Community is the owner of the cultural heritage but doesen’t realize, and always is like a bystander, while  the heritage is important resource which can be a commercial source and decide the prosperity problems of community.[7]

Public Archaeology is using the methodology of the community-research, which lets to implement commercial activity due to the values of past and cultural resources. For example, we can see residents who are sailing souvenirs, dishes from the national cuisine, or some goods which are presenting the same cultural area around the archaeological monuments.

The economical activity of community around the monuments needs to be stimulated not disturbed, cause it’s the best way to make community to become the owner of that heritage. Of course it’s about the activity which doesn’t injure the historical-cultural heritage.

It’s a growing research sphere which exctends and develops day by day.

Public archaeology suggests theoretical and practical projects to bring the awareness to a high level and to use the resources more targeted.[8]

Before the main investigations it’s preferable to implement pilot-survey, it lets to realize what kind of environment is it, what kind of barriers there are, and then to decide the adventages, defaults and the main steps of the project.

There were implemented projects of public archaeology In GB, USA and also in many European countries.

The choice of the methodology is connected with the target group. For example if we are aimed to bring the awareness to the high level for schoolchildren, so it’s accepted to create guides or new tipes of maping, which are more expressive. It’s also accepted to provide the archaeological area with informational panels, or create the dummies of the monuments which are maintained partly. It’s important to concider to people with limited physical abilities to decide the problems connected with movement and to provide the area with the informational panels for the blind people. It’s also profitable from the point of view of development of tourism.[9]

The methodology of the public archaeology needs to be more elaborated, maybe cause it’s a new science and has a long way to pass. The problems are connected with comprehensive sphere of this science.

However, it’s a fact that the projects of public archaeology are aimed to promote the development of tourism, record economical growth and to fix the profit towards the investigation, conservation and promotion of archaeological heritage.

Although there are not being implemented researches in the context of the public archaeology in Armenia, the phenomenon is acting, it has been in the past and will be in future, whether everything. People won’t stop to do festivals, to deal with local trade and to present their heritage to tourists, only it will be more coordinated and targeted in the context of the public archaeology.


Liana Vardanyan




  1. Gould G., Burtenshow P., Public Archaeology, London, 2014.
  2. Angkor-UNESCO World Heritage Centre http//
  3.   Butrint-UNESCO Heritage Centre http//
  4.  Community Archaeology
  5. 5. Public Archaeology



[1] Community Archaeology

[2] Public Archaeology

[3] Funari P., Public Archaeology, A Regional Perspective on Gavernment, Archaeology and Economic

Development, London, 2014, p. 93-94.

[4] Butrint-UNESCO Heritage Centre http//

[5] Angkor-UNESCO World Heritage Centre http//

[6] Funari P., Public Archaeology, A Regional Perspective on Gavernment, Archaeology and Economic

Development, London, 2014, p. 94-95.

[7] Borona G., Little T., Public Archaeology, Can Rock Art in Africa Reduse Poverty, London, 2014, p. 178-180.

[8] Public Archaeology

[9] Public Archaeology



2017-09-20T13:54:11+00:00 14 / 09 / 2017|Recent News|