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The Future of American Archaeology: Engage the Voting Public or Kiss Your Research Goodbye!

  • Terry H. Klein (a1), Lynne Goldstein (a2), Deborah Gangloff (a3), William B. Lees (a4), Krysta Ryzewski (a5), Bonnie W. Styles (a6) and Alice P. Wright (a7)...
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.

En los últimos años, la arqueología en los Estados Unidos, que por ley se realiza y se financia con fondos públicos, ha recibido muchísimas críticas. Estas críticas surgen en el nivel estatal, donde los gobernadores y las legislaturas estatales han tratado de eliminar los fondos, así como los programas arqueológicos estatales y las instituciones relacionadas. Las amenazas también se han dejado venir del nivel federal. Algunos miembros del Congreso han exhibido a la arqueología como un malgasto de fondos públicos, mientras que otros proponen una legislación que deje de apoyar los proyectos federalmente o que estos proyectos se realicen sin medir los impactos sobre los recursos arqueológicos. Estas amenazas no cesan y seguramente aumentarán en el futuro. Con anterioridad, una red observadora de organizaciones dedicadas a la preservación histórica y arqueológica ha sido capaz de detener estas amenazas. El público, sin embargo, no ha sido un aliado potencial. Como disciplina, no hemos construido una red sólida de apoyo público. No hemos demostrado el valor de la arqueología al público, más allá de una serie dispersa de programas educativos e informativos. En este articulo, un grupo de arqueólogos cuya labor se ha centrado en la participación del público, proveen un número específico de recomendaciones sobre como construir una red sólida de apoyo público circunscrito para la preservación de nuestra herencia nacional.

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Corresponding author
(tklein@srifoundation.org, corresponding author)
References
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Advances in Archaeological Practice
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  • EISSN: 2326-3768
  • URL: /core/journals/advances-in-archaeological-practice
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