Thesis or dissertation
Date of this Version
Dr. Megan C. Kassabaum
community archaeology, public archaeology, anthropology, collaboration, cultural heritage, landscapes, persistent places
This thesis explores the community-based projects that the Smith Creek Archaeological Project has implemented in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, as well and its goals for future community-oriented work by expanding on current methodology and archaeological theory. I deal mainly with the problems of identifying and inspiring local stakeholders to be future stewards of sites in a region marred by the violence of the colonial encounter, which left few local descendant populations. I argue that combining certain aspects of archaeological theory with community archaeology methodology can create an engaged community of stakeholders that are connected to the past through a shared, familar landscape. I contend that locally engaged and locally collaborative work aimed at connecting local populations with past populations through emphasizing the shared lifeways and landscapes that are part and parcel of their quotidian lives is key to protecting sites and engendering respect for past and present Native communities. People feel more connected and comfortable with different cultures and groups when they feel like they share in similar lifeways. For that reason, identifying lifeways and landscapes that overlap in time and space can make people feel more comfortable with the different groups and cultures that have inhabited the land before them and encourage them to protect it for those who come after. By building upon the archaeological theory of persistence and combining it with methodologies used in community archaeology, I suggest that communities can be inspired to care about and preserve cultural heritage that may not be their own by experiencing the similarities and connections they have to shared lifeways and place.
Date Posted: 22 June 2020