Public Consultation in the Management of Archaeological Sites

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Submitted By hebiscus93
Words 3434
Pages 14
Managing Archaeological Sites Essay 1

Given that the involvement of local communities is important in the management of archaeological sites, what could be done to encourage their participation?

Despite periodic and geographical fluctuations in participation rates throughout the history of the discipline, local communities have always formed the pulse of archaeological developments across the globe, weaving the past with the present to form a living tradition paradosi (the transmission of tangible and intangible particles of a still evolving history), as opposed to kleronomia (heritage, or things inherited from a dead relative) (Lekakis 2008, 315). The histories excavated and dusted off by archaeologists belong to these communities, who not only give them context and meaning, but also support and fund the process of restoration, and it is their participation and endorsement that guarantees the longevity and sustainability of that process. This essay will first examine the theoretical implications of defining ‘the local community’ – in various ways – upon its relationship with the heritage industry, and, by extension, upon its levels of participation. It will then attempt to answer the question of whether these local communities should be included in the decision making process as a means to sustain archaeology, or if in fact archaeology should be harnessed as a tool to rehabilitate and develop local communities in a self-sustainable manner, while cultivating a healthy, heuristic relationship to their built and intangible past.

Before we can identify strategies to encourage the participation of local communities in the management process, we must first delineate the ‘local community’; who it includes, who it excludes, and the kind of power it possesses (or in fact should possess) in the decision making process. The Macquarie Dictionary defines a community as…...

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