In the UK, over 90% of archaeological research is conducted by commercial companies but there is yet to be a comprehensive analysis of how widespread digital outreach practices are, the forms they take, the audiences that access them and, crucially, their reception by the public.
Archaeological companies have access to a wider suite of digital technologies than ever before including social media, livestreaming and blogging. These are powerful tools for raising awareness, encouraging audiences to engage with the subject and highlighting the societal contributions archaeology delivers. Yet, digital engagement, particularly among commercial companies, is currently poorly understood and there is a sector-wide absence of critical analysis of online outreach.
Using social media data and content analysis this PhD research seeks to characterise and critically evaluate user engagement and the application, success and institutional attitudes towards digital public engagement by commercial archaeological entities. This CDA with the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) seeks to enhance discovery and participation and complement the CBA’s goals of investigating public dissemination of research and furthering non-specialist involvement in archaeology.
Funded by the AHRC through the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH).
Chris Wakefield completed a BA in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool in 2011 before working as a field archaeologist across the UK between 2011 and 2017.
Since 2015 he has worked as the digital outreach coordinator for the Must Farm project, an excavation focusing on a Late Bronze Age settlement destroyed by fire in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire.
Wakefield, C. 2018. Outreach. In Knight, M., Gibson, D., Ballantyne, R., and Robinson-Zeki, I. 2018. Must Farm Timber Platform: Post-excavation Assessment and Updated Project Design. Volume 1. Cambridge Archaeological Unit. 46-53.