Paul Burtenshaw

Tourism and the Economic Capital of Archaeology: Measurement and Management for Preservation

Economics is something that affects all areas of archaeology’s operation – from funding to public display and the preservation of sites and materials. However the economic value of archaeology, and how it should be viewed and used by archaeologists, has received little academic attention.

My research draws on ideas from cultural economics and environmental management to construct a theoretical framework with which to approach the economic capital of archaeology. Traditionally the economic dimensions of archaeology have been viewed in opposition to their cultural values and my framework attempts a more holistic approach.

Using this framework I examine how the economic capital is used by different stakeholders as part of preservation strategies for archaeology. This includes an in-depth look at international groups, UK heritage organisations and examples of local archaeology projects. Tourism represents the largest way that the economic capital of archaeological sites is mobilised and is the focus of my research

Data are key to the understanding of the economic capital of archaeology and my research develops methodologies for the measurement and management of capital and impacts. This is applied to my principle case study of the Neolithic Heritage Trail in southern Jordan. Here visitor surveys and local business and community interviews are used to build up a comprehensive picture of how the economic impacts of tourism interact with other values of the archaeology and social and cultural contexts. This will inform how future developments could be best implemented to make tourism sustainable for the sites and local people.

Funding organisation

  • AHRC PhD Scholarship 2010-2012


Research Directory

Educational background

  • MA, Public Archaeology, UCL 2008
  • BA, Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 2005

Burtenshaw, P. 2011 (Forthcoming). Tourism and the Economic Value of Archaeology. Chapter in Robinson, M. D., Tahan, L. G. (eds.) In Preparation. Visiting the Past: Tourism and Archaeology. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.

Burtenshaw, P. 2010. Review of Cultural Capital: A Manifesto for the Future. Public Archaeology, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp 239-242.

Burtenshaw, P. 2009. A Reply to “What is Public Archaeology?”. Present Pasts, Vol 1.

Conference Presentations

‘Archaeology for Development: The Need for Holistic Planning’; Heritage: Driver of Development – Scientific Symposium, 17th ICOMOS General Assembly; Forthcoming – December 2011.

‘Breaking the Barrier: towards the creation of an holistic approach to the economic value of archaeology?’, Why Does the Past Matter?, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, May 2011.

‘Approaches to the Mobilisation of the Economic Capital of Archaeology for Conservation’, Why Does the Past Matter?’, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, May 2011.

‘Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Development’; Co-organiser of Graduate Seminar; University of East Anglia; March 2010.

‘The Economic Value of Archaeology.’; Lectures for MA in Public Archaeology course; Institute of Archaeology, UCL; March & December 2010.

What is it Worth? Measuring Economic Benefits – a review of efforts’; Public Archaeology Unplugged; Institute of Archaeology, UCL; February 2010

‘Economic Impacts of Tourism to Archaeology: Measurement and Management for Sustainability.’; Graduate Student Conference; Institute of Archaeology, UCL; November 2009.

‘Archaeology, Economics and Tourism: The economic use-value of archaeology – applications in Northern Syria.’, Traditions and Transformations: Tourism, Heritage and Cultural Change in the Middle East and North Africa Region; Amman, Jordan; April 2009

  • Visiting heritage tourism sites in Mexico
  • The Neolithic site of Beidha, Jordan, part of the proposed Neolithic Heritage Trail

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