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Public Archaeology in the Cyclades

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Heritage Studies Research Group


The Centre for Applied Archaeology

Public archaeology in the Cyclades

Kouros, Melanes

Researching the bonds between local communities and “their” archaeological heritage, on the island of Naxos, Greece.

Stelios Lekakis

Monday May 4th, 5-6 pm

Rm 612

Reception afterwards in the Staff Common Room

Public archaeology in the Cyclades

Researching the bonds between local communities and “their” archaeological heritage on the island of Naxos, Cyclades.

The increasing mobility of people and the globalisation of communications and tourism, the loss of the traditional, the increasing politicisation of archaeology and the calls for ethics in the field pose numerous questions for what is generally termed “public archaeology”, i.e. non-specialist engagement with archaeology.

This lecture will examine some of these issues as seen in the insular environment of a Cycladic island. A programme and methodology have been developed in order to research, approach, understand, raise awareness and involve ‘the public’, in issues of archaeological heritage management, participatory planning, integrating archaeological projects in local communities, looting, et al.

Even though the research is still ongoing, some interesting results have already come out of our work, including the discovery of a variety  of local approaches to interpreting archaeology, a growing understanding of how perceptions have changed over the years, and especially, really significant attendance at public meetings, with particular interest raised by the subject of looting. From this, we are already producing usable data for both project planning, and guidelines for how to work with local communities.

This is such a new field in Greece that what we learn here presents an opportunity to contribute to the development of public archaeology in the country as a whole. But is that a realistic vision? The lecture will look finally at this project in the wider context of heritage management in Greece: is there hope of dialogue, and change?

Written by Stelios Lekakis

May 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Posted in papers

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