Community involvement in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management: an assessment from case studies in Southern Africa and elsewhere
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
MetadataShow full item record
Community archaeology has conferred an alternative dimension on conventional archaeology and heritage management, empowering previously powerless peoples, particularly the indigenous and local communities that have lost rights to their heritage through colonialism. So important has its impact been that there has been only limited reference in the literature to its problems. Examination of case studies from various parts of the world reveals that problems associated with defining what a community is and who is indigenous, coupled with the existence of multiple communities with multiple interests, have sometimes diminished the utility of the approach. In some cases, archaeologists and heritage managers have been unwilling to give up some of their powers and have continued to view local communities as only passive partners. In others, local communities have considered their views and concerns more important than those of the archaeologists. As a result, the so-called equal partnerships between archaeologists and communities have disappointingly ended up as uneasy relationships. Without effective solutions to some of these problems, community archeology may remain a goal to be pursued rather than becoming standard practice.