Community Archaeology at the Trowel’s Edgea

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Community Archaeology at the Trowel's Edgea

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Advances in Archaeological Practice


Miroff, Laurie; and Versaggi, Nina

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Cambridge University Press




The Public Archaeology Facility's (PAF) Community Archaeology Program (CAP) at Binghamton University began 25 years ago in response to intense community interest in participating in archaeology. Although non-archaeologists have unlimited access to programming and social media about archaeology, there is more limited access to professionally supervised opportunities. PAF developed CAP to provide non-archaeologists with the opportunity to participate in highly supervised archaeological research projects to share in the process of discovery at the “trowel's edge.” CAP recognizes the challenges and critiques of community programs and mitigates these by creating a climate of ethical practice. Our goal is to educate individuals about the presence of a rich and fascinating past in their own communities and create the sweat equity that can result in advocates for preservation. We operate under the principles that the heritage story embedded in an artifact is worthy of our respect and protection, and that an educated public is more likely to support the preservation of this heritage. Making a connection to people through artifacts builds not only a deeper understanding of the past but also an empathy for preservation. In this article, we introduce the program and reflect on the 25-year history of CAP and future directions.


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