Archaeology and Development

Archaeology and Development

The archaeological resource as a mechanism for development

Lamanai, Belize

The role of the archaeological resource, archaeologists, and more generally cultural heritage, in ‘development’ has become an increasing concern of the archaeological discipline and has been the topic of some recent conferences (e.g. 13th ICOMOS Annual International Symposium, May 2010).

The term ‘development’, and along with it terms such as ‘sustainability’, covers a plethora of definitions and approaches, many of which developed in other academic disciplines, and continue to be argued and refined. A range of approaches and perspectives is also present within the Institute, with current research and activities concerning economic impacts, social values, community participation and international conventions.

The aim of this proposed Research Network is to act as a platform for those working with the concept of development to create a discourse on the subject which is specifically appropriate to the Network’s varied interests in the field, and which it is believed is currently lacking. This discourse will aim to better define underlying themes and concepts which take account of the broad range of approaches within the study and implementation of archaeology.


In light of this work the potential or indeed dangers of the archaeological resource as a mechanism for development will be explored and better practical and ethical approaches for archaeologists will be established. This initial Network is designed to provide a crucial first step in the creation of more focused networks in the area of development and lead to collaborations on major research projects.

Related outputs

Details of related outputs will be posted as they become available. A series of seminars and conferences are being planned to allow the network to discuss the archaeological discipline’s role within the wider aims of development.  It is also hoped that a regular Institute of Archaeology conference can be developed which will continue to debate this increasingly important area of archaeological research, and potential practical impact.

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