Conducting a Publically Engaged Archaeology: Who Participates and Why? A Case Study from Swede Hollow Park

by Stefanie Kowalczyk

Institution: University of Minnesota
Year: 2016
Keywords: public archaeology
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2127315
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/181803


Abstract Swede Hollow Park, located in east St. Paul, Minnesota, was the site of a public archaeology excavation in the summer of 2015. The Swede Hollow Archaeology Project, as it came to be known, was advertised across the Twin Cities metro area and was open to anyone over the age of ten. The goal of the project was to glean information regarding the composition of the public participants, specifically looking at who was participating and why. Both of these topics have been understudied in the field of public archaeology, especially in regards to how they relate to ways in which archaeological sites, and other heritage sites, can be made more meaningful to the larger public. To accomplish this, surveys and semi-structured interviews were used with participants over the age of eighteen and the data was coded and analyzed. The outcome suggests that education, particularly the education of children, was the main factor bringing people to the excavation. It also points to the importance of not only defining ‘the public’, but also of defining ‘participation’ when doing a public archaeology project. Finally, the results indicate clear paths for further research in the future.