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Pinning Down the Past


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In a relatively short period of time the pursuit of archaeology has evolved from an antiquarian interest to a specialised scientific activity. Part of this evolution has always included the interest of the public and archaeologists' efforts to educate them. As each new method and technique is developed, and each new specialism is created, the challenge of making archaeology available as a learning resource grows with it. Today, for example, the issues which surround archaeology and heritage, such as the pressures of tourism on sites, now form part of many formal educational curricula.
This book, the first to deal with the subject in such depth, examines the place of education and outreach within the wider archaeological community. Written by one of Britain's leading archaeological educationalists, it charts the sometimes difficult and painful growth and development of "education and archaeology". Packed full of informative and enlightening case studies, from the circus at Colchester to Sutton Hoo and Hadrian's Wall, this work examines exactly how we have reached the point we are at, where that place is and suggests areas for future development. By drawing upon many decades of experience at the front line of archaeological education, the author has produced a key text that will play a major role in the on-going development of the heritage industry.

MIKE CORBISHLEY lectures in heritage education at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.


Comprehensive and good value for money, this volume maps the extent of the relationship between archaeology, heritage, and education; an undertaking that has, to this reviewer's knowledge, never been done before. HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT

The strength of Corbishley's book is the detailed use of case studies for each chapter. AUSTRALIAN ARCHAEOLOGY

Fascinating and enlivening [...] for its studied and humanistic engagement in how civil society can be furthered and horizons widened through the use of archaeology. [A] gem of a book. RESCUE NEWS

Shows how participation in archaeology and heritage can be effectively developed. CONTEXT

Stimulates us to compare and contrast, to think critically and explicitly about the various intentions and outcomes of museum or site interpretations, efforts at explaining excavations, or how we deal with hard-to-motivate audiences. There is much to plunder here, and in the sources signposted through the bibliography. BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY


First Published: 17 Nov 2011
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843836780
Pages: 400
Size: 24.4 x 17.2
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press

Details updated on 20 Nov 2015


  • 1  Foreword
  • 2  
  • 3  Introduction: Making Connections
  • 4  Accessing the Past
  • 5  Archaeology and the media
  • 6  Case Study: Outreach in Action: Colchester Archaeological Trust
  • 7  Case Study: Family Fun Days at Roman Forts: International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies
  • 8  The Development of Archaeology and Education
  • 9  Archaeology in School Curricula: a World View
  • 10  Learning resources for Archaeology and History
  • 11  Archaeology across the curriculum
  • 12  Case Study: Archaeology for all: The Museum of London
  • 13  Archaeologists as Detectives
  • 14  Learning Outdoors
  • 15  Learning from Objects
  • 16  Case Study: Participating in Archaeology: Education Projects in Athens, Greece
  • 17  Case Study: Politics, Archaeology and Education: Ancient Merv, Turkmenistan
  • 18  Recycling Past and Present
  • 19  Citizenship and the Historic Environment
  • 20  Case Study: The Garbology Project: Suffolk County Council
  • 21  Case Study: Exploring Churches: The Churches Conservation Trust
  • 22  Case Study: Developing Cultural Heritage Education: The Oak of Finland Project
  • 23  Conclusions: Celebrating Archaeology in Education
  • 24  Case Study: Widening Participation in Archaeology: Initiatives by the Institute of Archaeology, University College London
  • 25  Bibliography

Presenting the Romans

Presenting the Romans

Conserving and Managing Ancient Monuments

Conserving and Managing Ancient Monuments

Public Participation in Archaeology

Public Participation in Archaeology