The Future Of American Archaeology: Engage The Voting Public Or Kiss Your Research Goodbye!

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alice Wright Ph.D, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Over the past several years, we have seen many attacks on publicly funded and mandated archaeology in the United States. These attacks occur at the state level, where governors and state legislatures try to defund or outright eliminate state archaeological programs and institutions. We have also seen several attacks at the federal level. Some members of Congress showcase archaeology as a waste of public tax dollars, and others propose legislation to move federally funded or permitted projects forward without consideration of impacts on archaeological resources. These attacks continue to occur, and we expect them to increase in the future. In the past, a vigilant network of historic preservation and archaeological organizations was able to thwart such attacks. The public, however, largely remains an untapped ally. As a discipline, we have not built a strong public support network. We have not demonstrated the value of archaeology to the public, beyond a scattering of educational and informational programs. In this article, we - a group of archaeologists whose work has focused on public engagement - provide a number of specific recommendations on how to build a strong public constituency for the preservation of our nation's archaeological heritage.

Additional Information

Klein, T., Goldstein, L., Gangloff, D., Lees, W., Ryzewski, K., Styles, B.W., & Wright, A. (2018). The Future of American Archaeology. Advances in Archaeological Practice. 6. 1-18. 10.1017/aap.2017.34. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2018
archaeology, archaeological programs, historic preservation, public engagement

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