Community Archaeology in Rural Environments - Meeting Societal Challenges (JPI Cultural Heritage in Changing Environments)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Lincoln
Department Name: School of History and Heritage

Abstract

See attached pdf (relevant text below extracted from pdf)

Community Archaeological in Rural Environments Meeting Social Challenges (CARE MSoC) aims to build capacity in the heritage sector to help meet social challenges that are particular to rural communities through exploring the impact of specific contextualized participatory practices. Rural populations everywhere are affected by urbanisation, migration and technological innovation, often while the local subaltern heritage is overlooked as development pressures encounter dwindling resources for heritage protection. Community Archaeology has a uniquely distinctive quality for social binding and the co-creation of localized narratives using methodologies from archaeology, historical geography, social psychology, digital humanities and medieval studies.

CARE MSoC involves local people working with archaeologists to make new discoveries about the village they live in, using finds from multiple one-metre square 'test pit' excavations they themselves plan and carry out throughout the village. These methods were pioneered in the UK where volunteers involved as co-producing partners in community test pit excavation programmes have gained new skills, interests, connections and aspirations. Simultaneously, the improved knowledge of buried tangible heritage helps protect heritage assets while the new historical narratives enhance empathetic heritage-based place-branding adding value to rural communities as places to inhabit and visit. These outcomes raise educational aspirations, improve social mobility and community self-esteem, strengthen social cohesion and increase opportunities for fulfilling locally-based post-work activity, mitigating the impact of public sector funding cuts while also protecting heritage. CARE-MSoC aims to explore the feasibility and impact of extending this programme to other European countries and disseminate its methodologies and outcomes transnationally, in the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland and UK with varying social issues, cultural differences and historical contexts.

CARE MSoC will take cultural heritage practice beyond the state of the art within a broad international setting, delivering knowledge exchange in a transdisciplinary context, supporting interactions and partnerships, maximizing the value of the research outcomes.

Planned Impact

See attached PDF of original JPICH proposal document submitted to EC.

Publications

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Description (1) The test pit excavation technique has been shown to be effective for advancing knowledge knowledge of historic settlement development in three European countries where this has not been used before. The test pit excavations have been able to reach deposits with a substantial number of artefacts including a good complement of pre-modern material. Archaeologists in these countries now have an additional technique with proven effectiveness available to them.

(2) Knowledge of the development of historic settlements has been advanced. At Myslinka in the Czech Republic the test pit data suggest that the present village was established in the late 17th century, after the end of the Thirty Years War, in a new previously unoccupied area. Traces of the pre-20th century settlement were extensively erased during communist-era reorganisation. In the Netherlands, the excavations showed settlement at Aarle to have developed by moving gradually outward from twelfth century nodes in tandem with the expansion of the field system, with the earliest occupation of the current farm sites appearing to date to the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries; at Gemonde and Liempde the presently nucleated settlements were shown to have developed from previously dispersed settlement nodes with much of the present pattern developing in the 17th century; at Woensel settlement appears to have originated in the Merovingian period but not, as previously suspected, around the church. In Poland, treh presently unbuilt-up village green at Chycina was shown to have carried domestic occupation dating back to the high medieavl period.

(3) The social impact of the excavations on local communities has been recorded and has been shown to boost skills, knowledge and wellbeing. Surveys completed by participants in the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland and UK have shown public participation in community test pit excavation to be popular and effective in benefitting people while also attracting, sustaining and growing local interest in heritage participation in all three countries. 77% of CARE participants taking part in surveys agreed/strongly agreed that the experience had increased their knowledge of local archaeology and history; 70% that they felt more engaged with this than before; 55% said they would be more interested in local archaeology and history, and 57% in archaeology and history generally. In addition, responses showed the experience supports all five NEF pillars of psychological wellbeing (connecting with others; being physically active; learning something new; mindfulness; and giving back as well as positively . We also impacting on identity, self-esteem and place attachment.
Exploitation Route (1) The test pit excavation technique may be used by cultural resource managers and academic researchers to investigate the development of historic rural settlements
(2) Participation by local people in community archaeological excavations may be used by rural community/health workers to improve wellbeing and develop skills and aspirations
(3) Cultural resource managers will be able to protect and curate the buried tangible heritage of rural villages more effectively.
(4) Local residents and visitors including tourists will be better able to connect with and appreciate the historic 'stories' of rural settlements.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://archaeologyeurope.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/
 
Description 1. Excavations have taken place in seven communities (two in Czech Republic, four in Netherlands and one each in Poland and UK. o Czech Republic: ? 9 test pits excavated in 2 villages in Moravia. ? GIS being used to connect old maps/aerial photos with today and with archaeology - finds from TPs are effective in giving physical connection ? National Heritage Agency are happy they will find out more about village archaeology because no-one normally bothers to inform them about development. ? Local people in some places are suspicious, not least because of WW2 forced migration and communist state ? Huge media interest, including from Czech National TV. o Netherlands: ? 31 test pits excavated in 4 villages in Het Groenewud (Best (Arle) (pilot) 4 pits: Woensel 6, Liempde 7, Germonde 14) ? Finds have included pottery, coins and a musket ball/grape shot for the 80 Years War. ? The whole idea of participative archaeology exploring local communities has really taken off in LN, helped by an existing network of local history societies. The number of participants in the excavation weekends rose exponentially over 4 months as the project moved from one village to the next from 20 (in Best in April) to 30, to 50, to 150 in Germonde (in August)! People participating in one village have tended to sustain their involvement by volunteering on the next, hence the growth rate. The Amsterdam team have had to recruit more archaeologists. ? The project has also managed to attract small amounts of additional funding. ? The national heritage agency is very interested, possibly in funding some spin-off research, with aim of developing recommendations to ministry. ? 8 campaigns planned for 2020 - dates for most are on calendar online. 4 returning to 2019 villages, 4 will be new. o Poland: ? 12 test pits excavated in one village in western Poland ? Negotiating local heritage bureaucracy has been the main difficulty, but once digging started, the project in Cychina involved a remarkable 25% of all the village's inhabitants. o UK ? Fieldwork in the UK was not part of the original plan, but was added in October 2019 to increase the size of quantitative survey. ? Nine test pits were excavated in Old Dalby, Leicestershire, ? Local response was very enthusiastic, and the community are fundraising to continue in 2020. ? Three University of Lincoln psychology students worked with Leicestershire Fieldworkers Group volunteers to collect 'before and after' survey data from participants and a control group of village residents who did not participate in the excavations. 2. Psychological impact evaluation: o Evaluating the impact of participation in community archaeology and advancing understanding of the nature and processes by which positive benefits are achieved is a key aim of CARE o The Dutch and UK teams have been working with the University of Exeter on the quantitative evaluation of the psychological impact, developing a questionnaire drawing on social identity theory. o Outcomes: the dataset (which includes responses from the Netherlands and Old Dalby) is still quite small, but analysis shows significant psychological benefits to be observable among participants which are not present on the control group. These relate specifically to increased levels of community connection, place attachment, life satisfaction, self-efficacy as well as a range of positive emotions. o This is the first time that the specific psychological benefits of community archaeology have been identified using rigorous scientific testing. o The Dutch team have been developing a qualitative evaluation methodology (to complement the quantitative approach) using grounded theory. o The Polish and Czech teams will be running the quantitative survey in their projects in summer 2020, complemented by the qual survey carried out when time permits, with a simple feedback post-event survey completed by participants not covered by either of these. The Dutch team will use the post-event survey for all participants complemented by the qual survey for selected participants. 3. Dissemination: o Locally, the projects has been promoted via local news (online and broadcast) as well as personal networks including local history groups. o Nationally through social media, website, radio, TV, awards o In the Netherlands ? A TV company has made a programme about the excavations (for a program called 'Goud van Brabant' (Gold from Brabant). ? The project has been featured in 'Parole' magazine; ? In national radio interview(s) and ? Performed on stage in a local carnival. ? The project was shortlisted for a national archaeology award (add name) o A paper about CARE was given at EAA 2019 (Bern) and will be published in a special edition of the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage. o The project has also been included in presentations at international symposia/conferences in Moscow and Lecce, and in public lectures in Ghent and Best. o Two papers on CARE will be given to the 2020 EAA conference (Budapest), one to be published. o A paper about CARE has been accepted for the prestigious EASP (European Association of Social Psychology) Conference in June 2020 in Wroclaw, Poland. o Local and national heritage agencies have been made aware of the project aims and progress by project leads in each country.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description CARE in Netherlands 
Organisation Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI for the project within which this collaboration take place; we provide advice, templates and resources to enable their test pit excavation to take place; I am lead author on most project publications
Collaborator Contribution The Universities of Amsterdam, West Bohemia and Poznan plan, organise, oversee and report on community archaeological excavations using our participative test pit excavation model
Impact Conference papers, published articles, enhanced wellbeing to local commuities
Start Year 2019
 
Description CARE in Netherlands 
Organisation University of Amsterdam
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI for the project within which this collaboration take place; we provide advice, templates and resources to enable their test pit excavation to take place; I am lead author on most project publications
Collaborator Contribution The Universities of Amsterdam, West Bohemia and Poznan plan, organise, oversee and report on community archaeological excavations using our participative test pit excavation model
Impact Conference papers, published articles, enhanced wellbeing to local commuities
Start Year 2019
 
Description CARE in Netherlands 
Organisation University of West Bohemia
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am PI for the project within which this collaboration take place; we provide advice, templates and resources to enable their test pit excavation to take place; I am lead author on most project publications
Collaborator Contribution The Universities of Amsterdam, West Bohemia and Poznan plan, organise, oversee and report on community archaeological excavations using our participative test pit excavation model
Impact Conference papers, published articles, enhanced wellbeing to local commuities
Start Year 2019
 
Description Community Archaeology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact c. 60 local residents attended a talk about the potential of participative local archaeological excavation for rural communities, with lively discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Digging Old Dalby - new archaeological discoveries from a historic village 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An illustrated talk given online as part of Museum's lunchtime talks series, streamed on 28th Sept 2020 and available to watch online since. Stimulated lively questions from online audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.thecollectionmuseum.com/exhibitions-and-events/view/lunchtime-talk-professor-carenza-lew...
 
Description Old Dalby - community Archaeological test pit excavations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact c. 80 local residents attended a talk on the excavation outcomes, which sparked lively questions afterwards and an agreed commitment to carry out further excavations in the future (not yet possible due to covid-19 restrictions)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020