Public Archaeology students putting theory into practice
16 May 2012
MA Public Archaeology students recently enjoyed a five-day educational trip to Scotland and northern England to investigate how archaeology is communicated to the public.
The trip, led by Tim Schadla-Hall, included a number of destinations of archaeological and historical interest which were examined from the point of view of their effectiveness and potential for the communication of archaeology to the public.
The students first visited the prehistoric landscape and local museum of Kilmartin, Scotland. An explanation of the history of the findings and their interpretation was provided, with regard to the stakeholders and natural landscape. Other locations were visited in the area, with a focus on petroglyphs and more recent surviving structures from the middle ages.
Next on the itinerary was a visit to the National Museum of Scotland, where David Clarke, the designer of the Prehistoric Gallery of the museum, gave the group a full tour, explaining the communication aspects of the gallery in relation to its design and organisation.
The group then travelled to South Shields, where the students focused their attention on Roman sites, including Arbeia Roman Fort and Segedunum. The students were given exclusive access to all parts of the sites. The importance of the use of reconstructions for interpretation was explored, while site staff also highlighted and discussed issues relating to archaeology and urban development.
The final destination was York, where the Jorvic Viking Centre and The Dig were visited, in order to evaluate their popular strategy of archaeological communication and education.
In-depth tours were given by Tim Schadla-Hall at every site, in addition to discussion sessions with professionals, who addressed students’ questions.
The trip was a great success and served as a rich educational university event that was deeply enjoyed by all members of the group.
The Institute's Public Archaeology course introduces students to the wide range of areas in which archaeology has had an impact outside the academic areas of archaeological study and incorporates regular field trips as part of the teaching experience which highlight particular aspects of the course aims.