Current archaeological literature calls for archaeology to become increasingly relevant in the modern world. Involvement in archaeological research can enhance the relevancy of archaeology for participants of public archaeology projects by strengthening personal connections with heritage and history. To investigate the impact of direct involvement in archaeological research on residents in Vancouver, Washington, I recruited members of two neighborhoods associated with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to participate in the archaeological search for material remains of the first (1825-1829) Fort Vancouver. I asked the question: How does involvement in a public archaeology project affect participants’ feelings about heritage, archaeology, and place attachment?
This project employed four methods. 1) Documentary research examined the history of the first Fort Vancouver and the project area. 2) Public outreach methods created community interest in the project, facilitated interactions between myself and community members, and aided in recruitment of participants. 3) Ethnographic methods included informational interviews with long-time area residents; ethnographic interviews with excavation participants to gauge impacts on feelings toward heritage, archaeology and place attachment; and surveys to collect the thoughts and views of the wider public. 4) Archaeological excavation with residents on private property searched for material remains of the first Fort Vancouver, as well as evidence of the history of the project area.
A combination of documentary, ethnographic, and archaeological evidence points to one section of the project area as the most likely location of the first Fort Vancouver. The history of the project area landscape is reflected in artifacts recorded across the project area during archaeological excavations. Precontact-era items signal the use of the land by Native American groups, mid- to late-19th-century artifacts identify a potential location of British occupation, and the large number of objects dating from the early 20th century to the present demonstrate the rapid growth and wide-spread development of the project area beginning around 1900.
Results from my ethnographic research suggest that knowledge of and direct involvement in a local archaeological project strengthens feelings in various communities of stakeholders toward heritage, archaeology, and place. Place attachment plays an important role in fostering place-based inclusion in area heritage and history. And connections to place and past people realized through involvement in archaeological research reveals the relevancy of this research to various communities of stakeholders.
|Commitee:||Wilson, Douglas, Spoon, Jeremy|
|School:||Portland State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||MAI 82/4(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Archaeology, Geography, Cultural anthropology|
|Keywords:||Ethnography, Fort Vancouver, Historical archaeology, Place attachment, Private property, Public archaeology|
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