Reviewed by: Hilary Kline, Manager, Reformatting Support Services, Imaging Services, Harvard Library
What is public archaeology? It is “the practice of presenting archaeological data and interpretations of that data to the public” (K. Kris Hirst, About.com). Its purpose is to disseminate archaeological information and engage the interest of the public, which, it is to be hoped, will in turn encourage the preservation of the local cultural heritage. Many of these archaeological projects are funded with public monies and are part of Cultural Resource Management (CRM) studies. This is a very broad field, and it is AP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology’s aim to be able to delve into every issue related to the field.
A list of topics they would like to explore includes: the economic and political impact of archaeology; archaeology as popular culture; theoretical issues around the publicity of archaeology; legal issues on archaeological practice and the illicit trade of antiquities; and the presentation of archeology to the public.
Currently, there are two open access issues available on the website (please note that you do need to create an account to see the full-text articles). The most recent issue of AP contains an editorial, a couple of fora (“Is Public Archaeology a menace?,” and “The limits of collaboration: Osmanagic in the campus”), five articles ranging from “Public Archaeology via skyscraper: outcome and experience” to “Points of You: My experience in pseudoarchaeology,” and eight book reviews – so there’s quite a bit of content here (my personal favorite article? “Public Archaeology 2.0: Facilitating Engagement with Twitter”).
The goal of this journal is very ambitious, and it will be interesting to see if it continues with such a broad undertaking or evolves into a more narrowly focused title.
At present, the title is recommended for linking from public and academic library sites.