Archaeological Practices and Societal Challenges


Archaeology and archaeological work are tightly linked to contemporary societal challenges. Archaeology has much to contribute to the understanding, contextualising and working out of global challenges from migration to environmental change. In parallel to how archaeology impacts society, the society, societal changes, and challenges impact archaeology and its public mission of preserving and interpreting the physical and curating the informational archaeological record. Similarly, they impact archaeological practices, that is how archaeology is done in practice. This article draws attention to the need to comprehend what the increasing diversity and multiplicity of links between archaeological practices, knowledge work, and contemporary societal challenges implies for the understanding of how archaeology is achieved and archaeological knowledge is produced. The discussion is based on input collected from 50 members of the COST Action Archaeological Practices and Knowledge Work in the Digital Environment ( who shared their views on how archaeology can contribute to solving contemporary societal challenges and what societal changes and challenges are likely to affect the field of archaeology during the next 5 years. In addition to a continuing need to increase the understanding of archaeological practices and their implications, distilling the outcomes of the state of the art into shared, validated, and actionable lessons learned applicable for societal benefit remains another major challenge.

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Open Archaeology
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