Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Evaluating the value of community archaeology: The XArch Project

Faye Simpson


Over the last decade the UK has seen a boom in community archaeology projects. These projects have taken many different forms and have stretched from the public-face of research and developer- funded programs to projects run by museums, archaeological units, universities and archaeological societies, as well as the communities themselves. Community archaeology claims to offer the public an opportunity to become engaged with and involved in the interpretation and understanding of the past. It has been claimed that this interactive approach, one of participation in the archaeological process, develops both intangible and tangible values from the past for individuals and communities in the present. Such values range from educational to economic and from political to social, however these supposed results of community archaeology have yet to be critically analyzed. This paper will focus on accessing the values of the University of Exeter’s, Heritage Lottery Funded XArch Community Archaeology Project. It sets out a self-reflexive, ethnological methodology for evaluating what community archaeology really does. Drawing on research from a variety of community archaeology projects in the UK and US this paper will aim to propose a future model community archaeology projects, enabling them to become integrated within a community and in turn more sustainable.

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