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MA in Managing Archaeological Sites

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Co-ordinator: Tim Williams

Archaeologists and heritage experts are involved in the political ramifications of how archaeological sites are used and perceived in the present. Exploring past societies, managing their physical remains, and interpreting these materials, are 21st century activities, rooted in contemporary society and its issues. Political boundaries, economic access, and development strategies are all affected by what archaeologists and heritage practioners say about the past. Thus the preservation and management of archaeological heritage has to be set within wider concerns for human dignity and human justice.

This degree examines the theory and practice of archaeological site management, the reasons for selecting sites for preservation, and the methods for successful management and conservation of a site's significance. The course explores a values-based approach, exploring issues of participatory planning, interest groups, stakeholders and power in decision-making. It draws upon a variety of case studies. By the end of the degree, students should be able to understand and apply a holistic planning process based on the recognition of a site's values. Students will learn practical approaches to a range of challenges and will master a technical vocabulary adequate to communicate with site management specialists.

The degree has an international perspective and will appeal to students from a range of academic backgrounds (e.g. archaeology, conservation, planning, architecture, museum studies). In balancing theory and practice, it will suit those wishing to continue on to academic research and those seeking employment in heritage administration or international organisations.

The Institute is a recipient of the Conservation and Heritage Management Award, from the Archaeological Institute of America, for exceptional achievement in these fields. Students benefit from the Institute's emphasis on the role of heritage in today's society, from the art and archaeology collections of University College London, and from the unrivalled resources of London's museums. The Institute of Archaeology supports the principles of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the 1995 Unidroit Convention and is unique as a UK academic department in having an ethics policy concerning the illicit trade in antiquities.

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