Is archaeology relevant? an examination of the roles of archaeology in education
Fedorak, Shirley Ann
The recent re-evaluation of archaeology's raison d'etre has opened up the new field of public archaeology, which focuses upon increasing the public's awareness of and appreciation for archaeological research, the value of conserving archaeological resources and ultimately, the richness and diversity of past human cultures. Educational archaeologists have supported this emerging emphasis through development of educational materials and programs which bring archaeology to elementary and secondary students. As the field of educational archaeology has matured, a gradual evolution of thought has resulted in the initial emphasis on excavation and discovery of artifacts being replaced by an emphasis on conservation of archaeological resources and utilizing archaeology as a vehicle for presenting culture history. Recent educational archaeology programs have espoused a stewardship message and have focused on archaeology's relevance as an educational medium. Examination of archaeology's roles in education suggests archaeology's integrative, multidisciplinary nature and holistic perspective constitute a discipline well suited to education. Development of educationally, archaeologically and culturally valid educational archaeology programs ensures the continuation of archaeological research in a society which values knowledge of the past and supports a conservation ethic.