AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: FROM SQUARE HOLES TO CITY HALL: COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY IN PACIFIC GROVE
Author: BRYN WILLIAMS   
Date/Time: Fri., 2:15 PM
Co-Author(s): BRYN WILLIAMS 
Abstract: When I began excavations at the Point Alones village in Pacific Grove, CA I had a fairly good idea of what my attempts at “community archaeology” would look like. I expected to lead school tours of the site, to help descendants answer questions they may have had about their ancestors, and to stand in front of the cameras for the occasional media interview where I would raise awareness about archaeology and local history. During and after excavations all of these things did indeed happen, but the process was neither as smooth nor as orderly as I had expected. My engagements with “the community” were uneven. My ability to mediate between different stakeholders became impossible when I was expected to take sides in political arguments. The archaeological evidence and interpretations that I was offering to “the public” were used to further social agendas, some of which I disagreed with. Even now, several years after my summer excavation season, the archaeological project that I directed is cited in Pacific Grove and Monterey to further politically charged interpretations of the past and advocate for changes to various city policies. This paper discusses my attempts to build an efficacious program in community archaeology at the Chinese fishing village in Monterey, CA. In the paper I chronicle both my successes and my failures. I discuss how I have addressed my ambivalent feelings about the political implications of this project and I argue that engaging in a robust program of community archaeology has resulted in a more meaningful and fulfilling archaeological practice.

Program Number: 3-0825
Session Title: NOT THE USUAL SUSPECTS: NEW DIRECTIONS IN COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): MORAG KERSEL (DePaul University), MEREDITH CHESSON (University of Notre Dame) 
Chair(s): MORAG KERSEL (DePaul University)  
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