Community Archaeology Forum cba logo
Community Archaeology cba logo
The CBA's Community Archaeology Resource
Why involve schools in Community Archaeology projects?

1) Increased participant numbers – Fund providers for community archaeology projects frequently express a concern that projects should endeavour to reach a wide audience. The participation of school groups within a project can significantly increase participant numbers.
2) Social inclusion – Again, fund providers, and especially the Heritage Lottery Fund, are keen to see that projects are addressing issues of social inclusion within their project designs. By involving all schools within the locality a cross-section of the local population will automatically become involved in the project.

3) Advertising – Children who attend and participate in community projects as part of the school curriculum will spread the word of the existence of a project. School children frequently return to project sites at weekends and holidays and bring with them other family members.

4) Education and Outreach – Archaeology currently has no formal place within the curricula of schools within the United Kingdom. Consequently, it tends to be poorly understood. In spite of this, a fascination and interest in the past is common across large numbers of the population. Thus, the opportunity to introduce archaeology to a wider school audience within the activities that take place around a community project should not be missed. It is important to communicate that the past can be encountered and explored through the study of the material remains of the past as well as, or in conjunction with, texts relating to the historical past. It is also important to communicate that archaeology can uniquely provide access to the periods of prehistory.

5) Enhancing the profile of the project – The involvement of educational establishments within project activities will tend to signal the relevance and importance of the project. Moreover, the presence of school groups on site tends to induce visitations from the press as well as local politicians.

6) Adding value to the project – Community archaeology projects tend to be initiated primarily to address archaeological research questions. The advancement of archaeological knowledge will thus be an important and valuable dimension to the project. By including an extended range of project partners, and especially schools, a range of other benefits may be seen as emanating from projects. In particular, projects are frequently identified as being arenas in which local perceptions of community are advanced. The social value of a community archaeology project should not be underestimated.


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