Thesis abstract ‘Out of the Box: Popular Notions of Archaeology in Documentary Programs on Australian Television’

17th November 2013

Steve Nichols

 BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, November 2004

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 notions of archaeology are characterised by a variety of misconceptions and stereotypes that are not only incongruous with the ethical goals of the profession, but which may also inhibit the wider acceptance of archaeological perspectives in contemporary social and political discourses. Second, I develop a theoretical model of mass media that articulates the nature of the relationships between 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 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.

Nichols, S.
Thesis abstract 'Out of the Box: Popular Notions of Archaeology in Documentary Programs on Australian Television'
2005
60
74–75
Thesis Abstracts
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