ArchaeoLink: turning archaeology into heritage
It is no longer considered appropriate that archaeologists work in isolation in the field without engaging with the local community. “Impact” is a key factor which Research Councils now take into account when assessing the value of research. Indeed a strategy for achieving positive impact is a necessary requirement in most current funding applications. But archaeologists have little time, and need specialist skills, for such outreach.
ArchaeoLink was founded with the purpose of liaising between researchers and the communities in which they work to encourage knowledge exchange and facilitate those communities in obtaining educational, societal and economic benefits from their archaeology and cultural heritage. ArchaeoLink uses a range of practical strategies for achieving impact, generally following three pathways: Social interaction; Education; Economy.
The stakeholders in Elefsina wished to raise the profile of Eleusis, locally, nationally and internationally. ArchaeoLink produced a site specific education programme for local schools and our recommendations resulted in visits by international tour groups and, eventually, Elefsina’s candidacy as European Capital of Culture for 2021.
An interactive museum programme and the creation of information panels, time-line & brochures for archaeological displays are among ArchaeoLink’s objectives for facilitating the Mayor’s goal to regenerate the historic centre of Troina, Sicily. Our recommendations and support with practices for attracting and encouraging visitors and special interest groups is proving successful.
The community of Vela Luka wished for more information about their site of Vela Spila and to extend their summer tourism. ArchaeoLink assisted in the establishment of a Young Archaeologist’s Club; organised a week-end excavation work-shop; produced a site-specific Educators’ ArchaeoResource Pack for schools; and is facilitating the establishment and promotion of traditional products’ workshops for visitors.
In recognising the benefits available to them, stakeholders select recommendations they wish to adopt. Stakeholder investment in time and energy helps to guarantee sustainability. ArchaeoLink’s high quality interpersonal skills, necessary for liaising with diverse stakeholders within the local community, and extensive experience assists them to shape and realise their objectives.