Out of the Box: Popular Notions of Archaeology in Documentary Programs on Australian Television

Nichols, Stephen James (2004). Out of the Box: Popular Notions of Archaeology in Documentary Programs on Australian Television BA (Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

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Author Nichols, Stephen James
Thesis Title Out of the Box: Popular Notions of Archaeology in Documentary Programs on Australian Television
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004-10-01
Thesis type BA (Hons)
Subjects 370302 Social and Cultural Anthropology
430200 Archaeology and Prehistory
Abstract/Summary In this thesis I investigate the relationships between mass media and popular notions of archaeology in Australia, and consider the implications of these relationships for the public outreach strategies of Australian archaeologists. First, I review the limited survey data available regarding public opinions of archaeology in Australia, together with the results from more extensive surveys conducted in North America. These surveys suggest that popular perceptions of archaeology include a variety of misconceptions that are incongruous with the ethical goals of the profession. Second, I develop a theoretical model of mass media that articulates the nature of the relationships between the producers of mass media and their audiences. This model predicts that widespread popular notions of archaeology are likely to be reflected in the texts of mainstream mass media. Third, I present the results of a content analysis study undertaken in relation to archaeological documentary programs screened on Australian television, demonstrating that a number of misconceptions about archaeology are strongly reinforced by these programs. This suggests that such misconceptions are deeply entrenched within contemporary Australian society. Finally, I identify a number of pathways along which archaeologists might seek to engage mass media as part of a broader 'popularisation' approach to public outreach in Australian archaeology.
Keyword archaeology
public archaeology
media
documentary
Australian television

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses Collection (non-RHD) - Open Access
 
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Created: Mon, 25 Jul 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Stephen James Nichols