Perspectives on Community Engagement

Posted on 22. Mar, 2013 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, Michoacán, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

Increasingly archaeologists are finding themselves at the center of intensive local debates involving issues of access and ownership, looting, patrimony, local, regional, and national politics, and the nature of community engagement and collaboration.

Our table and crowd at the community event

Rodrigo Solinís-Casparius, University of Washington, addressing the crowd

Issues ranging from how community-based research initiatives can be constructed to the actual financial inputs and contributions of archaeological projects to local economies have become a focus of scholarly interest within the archaeological community.

Another view of the crowd at our table

Most major archaeological projects have some element of community outreach built into their research design – with many doing substantially more.

Our table

For those that know me – unsurprisingly probably – community outreach is not my forte.  Though I realize the imperative of such programs I’m honestly not very good at talking to a non-academic audience.

Luckily for the project the LORE-LPB team is comprised of several talented graduate students and researchers who devoted considerable time and effort this season at better engaging the local community who own and use the land that Angamuco occupies.  These students deserve major kudos for the work they have done in this regard for the 2013 field season.

The next generation of archaeologists?

Yesterday we were able to discuss some of our findings, talk about the nature of archaeology, and the role our research can play in better understanding the prehistory of Michoacán at a community event honoring Benito Juarez.  I hope it is the first of many such activities.

Chris

Cynthia's new student

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