Public Archaeology Presentation

The Public Archaeology Presentation invites you to evaluate the public archaeology outreach of a site such as an archaeological excavation that is open to the public, an outdoor museum that is hosting or has hosted archaeological excavations, a museum with archaeological collections, etc.* Using the insight you have gained in this course about important topics in archaeology such as archaeological method and theory, subsistence, cultural patterns in prehistory, and environmental interaction, evaluate the ways in which, at the site you have chosen, the knowledge gained from archaeological excavations is being used, or is not being used, to highlight and address issues in the local, regional, or global communities. For example, current issues often addressed in public archaeology include historic preservation, economic growth, environmental degradation, looting, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education, volunteer opportunities, and more. You will present your findings to your classmates in the Week 8 Public Archaeology discussion in the form of a multimedia presentation.

Any of the sites listed above are ideal for this project. If you are considering a site and are unsure whether it would be suitable for the Public Archaeology Presentation, discuss the site with your instructor. If you are having trouble locating archaeological excavations or museums in your area, check with your local Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Bureau or the Anthropology department/professor at the nearest college or university. Some small sites have limited funding and are not able to advertise extensively.


Your assignment will take the form of a multimedia presentation, such as a YouTube video, blog, PowerPoint presentation, etc. Ideally, your presentation will include audio, but if this is not possible, your presentation must include sufficient text to explain your findings and conclusions.
By Wednesday of Week 8, you will submit a short introduction and a link to your presentation in a designated discussion area AND in the Assignments Folder (this allows me to provide you with private feedback and a grade). Your presentation must be shared online, but you may choose how to do so. There are many free tools out there. Check out the following website for some ideas:
Speak and/or write professionally using standard English. If speaking, pay attention to correct grammar and enunciation. If writing, check your spelling and grammar carefully. Poor grammar, spelling, and/or enunciation may affect your grade.
Your presentation must include a written References section in proper citation format detailing the sources you used.
Initial Research

Once you have chosen a site and your instructor has approved it, conduct research using the UMUC Library databases, the internet, and other sources (nearby public libraries, local historical societies, local archaeological societies, etc.) to obtain more information about the site you have chosen. You must use and cite at least three scholarly sources in your presentation.


Your multimedia presentation should include the following sections:

1) Introduction

Introduce the site you have chosen (or the original site of the artifact collection), including such information as the region in which the site is located, the time period it belongs to, the people who lived there, and the type of site (village, city, sacramental site, shipwreck, hunting camp, etc.).

2) Method and Theory

Summarize the excavations that have taken place at the site, including field seasons/dates and information about the archaeologists who have studied the site. Note their affiliations (e.g. who do they work for?). Describe the methods used at the site (excavation, remote sensing, etc.) and theories about the site proposed by the excavators and other archaeologists.

3) Public Outreach

Discuss the insights gained through excavation. What significant artifacts (including structures and features) have been located? Were any of these artifacts, structures, or features on display, including as reconstructions either on or off site? What kinds of markers or signage described the excavations or artifacts? Were there suggestions on how to learn more?

4) Important Issues

Did the public outreach of the site relate the archaeological insights to any local, regional, or global issues? If so, discuss the issues and the ways in which archaeology is or could be applied to address the issues, as according to the public outreach of the site. If not, discuss how you think public outreach based on the archaeology of your site or the museum’s artifact collection could be used to address current issues. As described above, public archaeology focuses on many issues, such as looting and treasure hunting, the safeguarding of archaeological and historic sites for the future, archaeology tourism and other activities that boost the local economy, climate change in the past and present, volunteer opportunities and continuing education, environmental changes caused by humans (deforestation, overfishing), and educational opportunities offered through archaeological research (especially the STEM fields).

5) Conclusions

Assess the public outreach at the site or museum you chose, highlighting both the pros and cons. Offer suggestions for improvement. Discuss any ideas or approaches that you feel worked well in bringing archaeology to the public and relating archaeology to current issues in the wider world.

6) References

Provide a written list of all references used for your presentation in alphabetical order by last name of author or primary author.

Alternative Public Archaeology Project

If you are unable to visit a local site which features public archaeology outreach, whether this is due to military, medical, or other reasons, you can complete the Alternative Public Archaeology Project. Be sure to notify your instructor right away of your need to complete the Alternative project and, as above, make sure your instructor approves your project before proceeding. Failure to do so may result in a failing grade for not correctly completing the assigned project.

The Alternative Public Archaeology Presentation involves a virtual visit to:

the website of a public archaeology project
a blog/Facebook page/other social media page that discusses an archaeology project in depth. If choosing #2, an archaeologist or archaeology student(s) who are/were involved in the excavation must have written the blog/page. In addition, the excavation organizer (university, museum, etc.) must have officially sanctioned the blog/page.
Globally, archaeologists are harnessing the power of the internet to spread information gained from archaeological excavations. If you are having trouble locating a public archaeology project online, try narrowing your search to a specific archaeological region or culture that interests you (Madagascar, Egypt, the Mayans, prehistoric Ireland, Mississippian, etc.). Contacting professional archaeologists working in your area of interest or institutes/agencies that focus on the region that intrigues you may also net you some excellent leads. In addition, Archaeology Magazine ( offers breaking news on archaeology sites around the world and links to project websites.

Follow the instructions for the Public Archaeology Presentation above, except for the two differences outlined below.

3) Public Outreach

Discuss the insights gained through excavation. What significant artifacts (including structures and features) have been located? Did the graphics and text of the public archaeology site adequately illustrate the excavations conducted? Were there links to related information and suggestions on how to learn more?

*** the site I choose for the alternate project is linked below***

I would like to do my project on the topic of the Ness of Brodgar.

Site for the site Ness of Brodgar, a site in Orkney (Scotland) that appears to be a religious gathering point in the Neolithic. The website has 3D renderings, an excavation blog, and more.