Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Friend or enemy? Community archaeology in the United Kingdom

Don Henson


There is a long history in the United Kingdom of local people doing archaeology and history for themselves in their own local communities. The earliest local archaeology societies were formed in the 1840s, university classes in archaeology were run for part-time adult students from the 1930s, local metal detecting groups began in the 1960s and national lottery funding has been given to local heritage projects since the 1990s. The attitude of professional archaeologists to these local groups has varied from partnership and support to outright hostility. This paper will look at the importance of archaeology for local communities, how it has developed and changed and how the professional sector has responded. It will cover the latest efforts by the CBA to support community engagement with local heritage.

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