A Summary of the Project at the time of its formal launch at SAAWeb (July 2006)
The Society for American Archaeology, through its Public Education Committee, has created a set of informational web pages on the topic Archaeology for the Public. These new pages are expected to form a major point of contact between the discipline of archaeology and its many publics. Site descendants, Land owners, and Smart Growth advocates…Heritage Tourists, Metal Detectorists, and school Educators.... media representatives, legislators, and archaeology avocationalists... are just some of the 27 audiences tapped for educational outreach and civic engagement via this new resource. Included as an audience are professional archaeologists and archaeology educators who deal with archaeology’s various publics on a regular basis and are looking for advice and resources to assist their efforts. In using the cost effective reach of the Internet, and by employing a navigational strategy designed to meet the needs of non-professional audiences, the Archaeology for the Public web pages will share a huge amount of archaeological information while communicating the commitment of the archaeology discipline to its publics.
In planning these public pages, the aim was not to try to meet the content needs of all of every potential audience, but to create a design that would be flexible enough to address multiple audience needs in the future. These web pages will grow and expand as Public Archaeology grows and expands. Phase I of this public web page project -- completed and now posted live on the Internet -- involved development and implementation of a navigation design plan and the posting of a minimum amount of page content to go live. This included 49 directories, 637 files, and 28,784,308 bytes totaling 150 pages of content. Phase II involves an additional 300 pages of recently created and gathered formal educational resources that are currently being posted. As of the formal unveiling of these web pages at SAAWeb (July 17, 2006), 51 directories, 797 files, 33,788, 039 bytes, and 192 HTML pages are live.
These public archaeology web pages are comprised of both newly created content and reprised ‘best examples’ of public archaeology. The page content presented has been contributed (to date) by more than 100 publicly-directed archaeology practioners and archaeologically-interested members of the public. The navigation design (or link hierarchy) and subsequent content development were undertaken by members of the SAA Public Education Committee's Web Pages Working Group who continue to coordinate this evolving resource. (For more information on the development of the Archaeology for the Public web pages, go to "Archaeology For The Public: A New Edition To the SAAWeb" in (2003, pages 8-10) SAA Archaeological Record Vol. 3(5), November. Funding for the technical assistance for implementing the navigation plan and Phase I posting was provided by the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation.
What will I find at these web pages? What can I contribute to this project?
The Archaeology for the Public web pages are fully annotated and are thematically organized and cross-indexed under 33 primary and secondary headings. Among the topics are Current News and Events, State and National Resources, Archaeology Month, Partnerships, Laws and Ethics, Cultural Resources Reporting for the Public, Field and Lab Opportunities, the historiography and a bibliography of Public Archaeology, and Educational Resources. Multiple brochures, ‘How-To’ Guides, and Fact Sheets have been included as downloadable pdf files.
The originally created or coordinated page content has been field-tested and assessed for public-friendliness, and has been subject to a rigorous peer review process. Relevant existing content (already available on other web sites) is linked to (rather than being reinvented) allowing the Archaeology for the Public web pages to serve as a clearing-house, or major portal, for individuals (including archaeologists) in search of information. Consisting of more than simply a collection of links, these new web pages are extensive in scope and are unique in their content and purpose. The SAA Archaeology for the Public web pages ( www.saa.org/public) will continue to grow and expand as public archaeology itself evolves and as new resources become available. We welcome ideas and ask everyone and anyone to forward their suggestions and content. Send this to the Web Pages Working Group Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visitors to the pages are also encouraged to comment and submit queries on a feedback form.
With these web pages, the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) is reaching out to the public with news and information about a wide range of archaeological research. The Society for American Archaeology is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With more than 7,000 members, the SAA represents professional, student, and avocational archaeologists working in a variety of settings including government agencies, colleges and universities, museums, and the private sector. For more information on the Society for American Archaeology visit its website at www.saa.org.
Content for these Archaeology for the Public web pages was gathered by members of the SAA’s Public Education Committee (PEC) Web Pages Working Group and the SAA’s Manager of Information and Education. The page content to date has been contributed by more than 100 publicly-directed archaeology practioners and archaeologically-interested members of the public. The Public Education Committee seeks to promote awareness and concern for the study of past cultures, and to engage people in the preservation and protection of heritage resources. Committee projects aim to aid educators, interpreters, archaeologists, and others abut the value of archaeological research and resources. The PEC, the SAA Manager of Information and Education, and a Network of SAA State and Provincial Archaeology Education Coordinators work on behalf of the SAA to develop, produce, and distribute informational and educational materials to the public. These web pages are one part of that effort.
These web pages received funding for technical assistance through a grant provided by the US Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau of Reclamation manages, develops, and protects water and related resources in 17 Western states in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. Reclamation is responsible for, and committed to, protecting and managing the irreplaceable cultural resources under its jurisdiction in a spirit of stewardship for future generations to understand and enjoy. For more information visit the Reclamation’s Cultural Resources Management Program web page.
Posted by J.R. Jeppon 07/17/07.