The CARE MSoC project 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 findings 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 cults 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 transnational, in the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland and UK with varying social issues, cultural differences and historical contexts.
Impacts & Results
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.
Banner: "Jones Mill 2008_1766" by Farther Along is licensed with CC BY 2.0.