Sharing the past effectively : an evaluation of excavations in the Passport In Time program Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dz010s64s

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  • The United States Forest Service's Passport In Time program is designed to involve the public in archaeology on National Forest land. Three of the program's goals are: 1) allow archaeologists to conduct research they would not otherwise have the time or the budget to conduct; 2) teach the public about history and prehistory, as well as how and why archaeologists study them; and 3) create a constituency of advocates for archaeology. This study evaluates these three goals based on interviews with volunteers who worked on excavation projects and archaeologists who led excavation projects. Research is not a priority for archaeologists leading excavation projects. PIT accomplishes the latter goals by physically involving volunteers in archaeological work. The volunteers become a labor force as well as students for the archaeologists. The archaeologists teach the volunteers effectively through a combination of experiential and more traditional classroom techniques. The volunteers gain an understanding of what archaeological resources are and why they are important. They take this knowledge away with them and share it with their friends and family. This increased knowledge in the public achieves the goals of federal legislation to reduce damage to archaeological resources through public education. PIT could greatly enhance the effect of volunteer enthusiasm by providing them with other appropriate outlets for their energy.
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