New Poll Finds Continued Support for Archaeology in the US

Education and Community Connection to Archaeology are Important

Jun 29, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A majority of Americans overwhelmingly value the work of archaeologists and education about archaeology, according to a 2023 poll released by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and Ipsos. A follow-up to a 2018 SAA poll, the results showed a clear majority still support increased protections for the archaeological record.

Americans still strongly believe in the value of archaeology and that preserving archaeological sites should be a priority of the US government. The poll found that 88% of Americans say the work archaeologists do is important. 

Americans continue in their support for archaeological education, with 86% saying that students should learn about archaeology in school at some point in their academic career. Despite public attention to pseudo archaeological claims and anti-science sentiments, 81% of respondents have confidence in archaeologists’ interpretations of the past.

Pointing to the need for more archaeology education, there was a statistically significant drop in the number of respondents who were familiar with archaeology between the pre-pandemic 2018 poll and the 2023 poll. “Americans recognize the importance of archaeology to our shared national story,” said SAA President Dan Sandweiss. “As archaeologists, we want to help the public connect with the past on a personal level, through their local communities. Summer is a great time to visit historic and archaeological sites near home as well as throughout the country. Many SAA members look forward to welcoming people back to in-person events at sites and in lecture halls.”

Infographics, a video of key findings, and the full report provided by Ipsos are available online. The poll was funded through donations to the SAA’s Public Education Endowment Fund and contributions from the Society for Historical Archaeology, Archaeological Institute of America, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Peabody Institute of Archaeology.