Applied archaeology

Christian E. Downum, Laurie J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The need to examine applied archaeology stems from the long-held recognition by archaeologists that study of past societies has an important impact on living ones. The pace of applied work in archaeology has greatly accelerated over the past 25 years. While legislation is the engine that drives much applied archaeology in cultural resource management, archaeologists also are developing many other creative and autonomous areas. This paper offers a typology and examples of applied archaeology in seven areas: resource claims, cultural identity and representation, technology, public education, cultural resource management (CRM), cultural tourism, environment, and ecosystem projects. After examining ethical considerations in applied archaeology, we conclude with discussion of how applied archaeology relates to applied sociocultural anthropology, including attention to methods, local community and social groups, culture-broker roles, and qualitative program evaluation. Applied anthropology, and archaeology in particular, has much to offer in building bridges outside the academy. Sociocultural anthropologists can benefit from being more aware of areas of potential collaboration with archaeologists in applied work. Archaeologists can benefit from becoming more aware of where sociocultural expertise is needed, in oral history and other interview methods, for example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-239
Number of pages14
JournalHuman organization
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Applied archaeology
  • CRM
  • Ethics
  • Public education
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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