Category Archives: Uncategorized

Public Archaeology Practicum (ANTH 898) syllabus

This is the syllabus from 2014.  Adjustments will be made for the new project, but the underlying concept remains.

Public Archaeology Practicum

ANTH 898.079

Spring 2014


Prof. Anna Agbe-Davies

201B Alumni

Office Hours: T 2-4, F 9-10



Anthropology has a long history as an applied discipline, producing insights that are useful in the world as well as in the academy. This graduate course provides an opportunity to explore that dimension of the discipline through readings, seminar discussions, and the completion of an applied group project. Members of this class will engage in ongoing research that uses their anthropological and archaeological training to further the goals of a collaborating community. For Spring 2014, this includes an archaeological study of the “Hogan-Rogers” farm, now owned by St. Paul AME Church.

This course is designed to be relatively horizontal in its organization, and will require substantial input from all members in order to shape the course itself, as well as the final project.


Required readings come primarily from two books, both of which are on reserve in the library. Additional readings are listed in the schedule, below. We will add further readings as the need arises.

Little, Barbara J., ed.

2002 Public Benefits of Archaeology. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.


Shackel, Paul A., and Erve J. Chambers, eds.

2004 Places in Mind: Public Archaeology as Applied Anthropology. New York: Routledge.


Grades will be based participation, a number of incremental assignments, and a final product. Our activities and outputs may include

  • Contributions to the research plan
  • Identification of additional reading for the group
  • Fieldwork at the site
  • An individual research journal (may also use Sakai forums for something similar)
  • Analysis of data generated by fieldwork
  • An annotated bibliography, in support of the specific needs of the project (may cover topical [e.g. plantation archaeology], methodological [e.g. surface survey], or theoretical [e.g. digital archaeology] themes)
  • A final paper, suitable for conference presentation.
  • A collectively written website (an expressed interest of the pastor of St. Paul AME)
  • A summary presentation (also requested by St. Paul AME)

The weight and form of these activities and outputs will be established collectively early in the semester.

Do note, that while we are each going to have to be unusually adaptable and creative as we participate in this class, this does not mean that anything goes. If anything, we will be more accountable to each other for timely completion and fair distribution of work than in a more typical course.

Draft Schedule[1]
Session 1: introduction; organization of the course; ethics. Required reading: CITI training; Chambers; Little; Caulkins; SfAA; SAA.

Chambers in Places in Mind (PM)

Little in Public Benefits of Archaeology (PBA)

Session 2: preparing to engage.[2] Required reading: Preservation Society of Chapel Hill; Poole; Orser; Birt; Kuwanwisiwma; Praetzellis.

Preservation Society of Chapel Hill

2012 Hogan-Rogers House Preservation Project. Chapel Hill, NC: Preservation Society of Chapel Hill (Preservation Chapel Hill).

Poole, Lauren

2012 Hogan-Rogers House Research Report. Chapel Hill, NC: Preservation Society of Chapel Hill (Preservation Chapel Hill).

Orser and Birt in PM

Kuwanwisiwma and Praetzellis in PBA

Session 3: applied anthropology. Required: Shackel, Rylko-Bauer, et. al., Recommended: Sanday; Bennett.

Rylko-Bauer, Barbara, Merrill Singer, and John Van Willigen

2006 Reclaiming Applied Anthropology: Its Past, Present, and Future. American Anthropologist 108(1):178-190.

Bennett, John W.

1996 Applied and Action Anthropology. Current Anthropology 36(Supplement):S23-S53.

Sanday, Peggy Reeves

2003 Public Interest Anthropology: A model for engaged social science:[3]

Shackel in PM

Session 4: public archaeology—strategies. Required: Lamphere, Watkins et. al., Reeves, Wall et. al., SAA.

Lamphere, Louise

2004 The Convergence of Applied, Practicing, and Public Anthropology in the 21st Century. Human Organization 63(4):431-443.

Watkins, Joe, K. Anne Pyburn, and Pam Cressey

2000 Community Relations: What the Practicing Archaeologist Needs to Know to Work Effectively with Local and/or Descendant Communities. In Teaching Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century. S. Bender and G.S. Smith, eds. Pp. 73-81. Washington, D.C.: The Society for American Archaeology.

Reeves in PM

Wall, et. al. in PM

Session 5: public archaeology—theoretical strands. Required: Singer; Potter (x2); McDavid; McKee; Farnsworth; Lipe. Recommended: Leone, et. al. (as background)

Potter, Parker B., Jr.

1991 What is the Use of Plantation Archaeology? Historical Archaeology 25(3):94-107.

Farnsworth, Paul

1993 “What is the Use of Plantation Archaeology?” No Use at All, if No One Else is Listening! Historical Archaeology 27(1):114-116.

McKee, Larry

1994 Is It Futile to Try and Be Useful? Historical Archaeology and the African-American Experience. Northeast Historical Archaeology 23:1-7.

Potter, Parker B., Jr.[4]

1994 Critical Theory, Archaeology, and Annapolis. In Public Archaeology in Annapolis: A Critical Approach to History in Maryland’s Ancient City. Pp. 26-44. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Singer, Merrill

1994 Community-Centered Praxis: Toward an Alternative Non-dominative Applied Anthropology. Human Organization 53(4):336-344.

Leone, Mark P., Parker B. Potter, Jr., and Paul A. Shackel

1987 Toward a Critical Archaeology. Current Anthropology 28(3):283-345.

McDavid in PM

Lipe in PBA

Session 6: heritage needs assessment. Required: Marshall; Hantman; Warner and Baldwin, Mullins

Marshall, Yvonne

2002 What is community archaeology? World Archaeology 34(2):211-219.

Hantman, Warner and Baldwin, Mullins in PM


Interim sessions TBD[5]


Session 13?: the role of the state. Required: Barile; McManamon; Smith and Ehrenhard.

Barile, Kerri S.

2004 Race, the National Register, and Cultural Resource Management: Creating an Historic Context for Postbellum Sites. Historical Archaeology 38(1):90-100.

McManamon and Smith and Ehrenhard in PBA

Session 14?: further applications. Required: Slick; White; Goddard; Thomas. Recommended: Moyer.

Slick, White, Goddard, and Thomas in PBA

Moyer in PM

Session 15?: writing (for the public). Required: Young; Allen; Fagan.

Young, Allen, and Fagan in PBA




[1] This schedule is not tied to dates. This sequence is optimal, but we will need to make time for meeting with collaborating organizations/individuals, site visits, etc. We will have more class meetings than the numbered sessions listed here.

[2] Sometime after this session, we will schedule a meeting or meetings with representatives of St. Paul AME and Preservation Chapel Hill.

[3] Link no longer active—post to Sakai

[4] On reserve

[5] At some point we will need to read this article and commentary: Shannon Lee Dawdy, 2009, Millennial archaeology: Locating the discipline in the age of insecurity. Archaeological Dialogues 16(2):131-142.

Pioneers in archaeology

Michigan State University has a terrific campus archaeology program.  Recently (during Black History Month) their blog included a post on John Wesley Gilbert, who may have been the first African American with an advanced archaeology degree–I certainly don’t know of any earlier!  Archaeology still isn’t very racially diverse, but check out the Society of Black Archaeologists to learn about what his “descendants” are doing.