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 American Perceptions of Archaeology Poll 2018 Minimize

Poll Finds Overwhelming Support for Archaeology in the US
Funding and Preservation of Archaeological Sites Should Be a Priority

Washington, DC A majority of Americans overwhelmingly value the work of archaeologists, according to a recent poll released by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and Ipsos, with a clear majority supporting increased protections and funding for archaeology.

The poll found that 93% of Americans say the work archaeologists do is important. More than half believe the US should increase funding for archaeology and enact stronger laws to protect sites and artifacts.

“We’re gratified but not surprised that Americans place a very high value on archaeology and the knowledge it gives us about our heritage,” said SAA President Susan Chandler. “Public support is crucial. Especially now, when archaeologists are seeing increased threats to US archaeological sites and artifacts from climate change, regulatory rollbacks, and looting.”

Poll respondents also strongly believe in archaeological education, with 87% saying that students should learn about archaeology in school at some point in their academic career. The poll shows a majority of Americans learn about archaeology at school and in museums, and finds that up to 60% of people familiar with archaeology who have not previously engaged in archaeological activities, such as visiting a site, would like to do so.

“Summer is a great time to visit archaeological sites,” Chandler said. “Many heritage sites have public archaeology days. Museums and historic sites also have special summer programs for visitors and children. Visiting a site really connects people to the work and to the past.”

The two infographics below show highlights of the poll results. Click on the images to view the full-size PDFs. The full report provided by Ipsos (PDF) is available to read online.

This poll, commissioned by the Society for American Archaeology, is an update of a poll conducted by Harris Interactive in 2000. The results of the Harris poll are available to read online. Because the Ipsos poll asked different questions and used a different methodology, the two results should not be directly compared.