Thesis abstract ‘The Business of Archaeology: Archaeology as a Value-Added Process’

02nd January 2014

Paul Rapita

BA(Hons), Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, November 1998

One of the main challenges confronting contemporary archaeology is the justification of expenditure and resources for projects. This research addresses this issue by applying the accounting principle of value-added to archaeological practices. This involves an analytical approach in which archaeology is viewed as a production process with identifiable costs and benefits. Archaeological activity can be broken into a series of different processes, which makes it possible to apply value-added principles in determining the final contribution that archaeology will make to a particular project.

This thesis analyses three case studies. The first of these is a site located in the historic township of Burra in South Australia’s mid-north, which is currently being used as part of the local Heritage Trail that attracts over 3000 visitors annually. Visitors pay for access to the 40 sites that make up the Heritage Trail and generated revenue is used to maintain and protect the sites. The second case study considers the Melbourne Central Shopping Complex, which has been built around the historic Shot Tower. The shopping complex is a prime example of where an historic building has been incorporated into a new development, thus adding value to it. The value of the Shot Tower to the shopping complex is primarily a marketing one, and contributes to the overall product positioning that the shopping complex has in the marketplace. The Shot Tower makes the development ‘unique’ when compared with other shopping destinations. The third case study focuses on artefacts collected from Turner’s Paddock, a dump which operated in metropolitan Adelaide until the turn of the century. While site tours were undertaken during the excavation of this site, the artefacts currently are kept in storage at Flinders University. As with many such collections throughout Australia, they now serve no ‘real’ function, apart from being used for teaching from time to time.

This research demonstrates the value of a methodological approach that integrates the disciplines of archaeology and cultural tourism. In the area of recreation and tourism, archaeological products can be used to develop attractions and tourist packages. Archaeology has the potential to make significant contributions to this area by promoting cultural resources to the general public.

Rapita, P.
Thesis abstract 'The Business of Archaeology: Archaeology as a Value-Added Process'
June 1999
Thesis Abstracts
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