Out of the box: Popular notions of archaeology in documentary programs on Australian television

01st December 2006

Nichols Figure 1 AA63Stephen Nichols

Popular representations of archaeology are investigated through a content analysis study of documentary programmes screened on Australian free-to-air television. Although public opinion survey research suggests that mass media, particularly television, are one of the major ways in which the Australian public encounters archaeology, no systematic investigation of the archaeological content appearing on Australian television has previously been undertaken. The results of the study show that the archaeo-historical documentary genre reinforces and perpetuates many familiar archaeological stereotypes and that Australian archaeology rarely, if ever, features in these programmes. The implications for Australian archaeology are discussed and potential strategies for engaging mass media in a public archaeology context are considered.

Image caption: Totally Wild filming during the 2004 field season of the Mill Point Archaeological Project (published in Australian Archaeology 63:37).
Stephen Nichols
Out of the box: Popular notions of archaeology in documentary programs on Australian television
December 2006
63
35-46
Article
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