Transdisciplinary Archaeology and the Future of Archaeological Practice: Citizen Science, Portable Science, Ethical Science

Karen Milek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a vision and a pathway for the future of archaeological practice, in which several fields that are currently considered distinct, including community-based collaborative archaeology, indigenous archaeology, and applied archaeology, could become the norm. Inspired by personal encounters with some exceptionally open and collaborative archaeology projects, as well as by recent advances in archaeological science, which are starting to make it more portable, this paper sets out an agenda for a more open approach to archaeological practice. It advocates a method of producing knowledge about the past that does not privilege one investigator over another, but gives everyone who is interested and wants to participate an opportunity to do. Specific methodological challenges that are discussed include the need to ‘flip’ the public outreach element of research designs, to embed open participation from the outset by nurturing relationships of mutual respect and trust, and to take advantage of, and improve, the portability of archaeological science, so that it can be done in and by local communities. It is argued here that the opening of archaeological research, including the archaeological sciences, to a wider range of participants, is the most ethical approach to archaeological practice in a pan-disciplinary research environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalNorwegian Archaeological Review
Issue number1-2
Early online date6 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [ES/M011054/1];Arts and Humanities Research Council [AH/K007750/1].


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