We are blogging as we dig into the archaeological records archived at Independence National Historical Park (INDE) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. These records were created over the past 50 years as archaeologists researched sites within the park's boundaries. The Independence Park Archives is currently creating a Guide for this vast collection of documents. This blog serves toward that end. It functions as a platform where archaeologists, archivists, and the interested public can share ideas about how to make these materials more widely available and more useful to the user.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Broader ‘context’…

The on-line world of Archival Science includes blogs relating to news and services from archival repositories as well as personal blogs written by people working, volunteering, and researching in archives. Identifying these genres helps make clear the broader context for this blog project, as does the museum perspective comment contributed yesterday by INDE Curator K. Diethorn:

I'm very interested in how users (particularly students at all levels) would like to access the park's archeological reports and for what purposes. Ultimately, this kind of information can suggest potential program ideas (e.g. exhibits) that really speak to what visitors (real and virtual) want to know about archeological material culture.

1 comment:

  1. As a professional archaeologist, I am often looking for comparative data for projects. An easily accessible (i.e. via the web), annotated bibliography of available reports would be a huge help in accessing INDE's information.

    If the annotation information included even very basic information, including type of site (i.e., domestic, tavern, stable, etc.), occupation dates, and other site specific information (i.e., ethnicity of occupants, identification with significant people or events, presence of prehistoric components), that would be enough information to know if I should follow up with the Park regarding additional access to the reports/collections.

    As a museum visitor (in general), I often find a disconnect between information recovered from archaeological sites/archaeological artifacts and archaeological methodology. The hows and whys of archaeology are often not presented, leaving a sense with visitors that it is the stuff that is important, and not its context. There is also a tendency to display the biggest, shiniest, coolest artifacts. These, however, are often not the artifacts that provide the richest information about the everyday lives of people who lived and worked at a particular site. I find these things very frustrating, and I think they leave the public with a very skewed view of what archaeology is, how it works, and why it is important.