Public Education and Outreach is an integral part of the ARL mission. We are committed to the principle that the Past is a Public Trust . Beyond awareness and preservation of the past, we at the ARL are in a unique position to be able to communicate with the many publics of archaeology, providing a range of insights: an understanding and a respect for all peoples past and present; a connection with the past in order to understand the present, especially at the local level; helping students of all ages to learn; as an adjunct to basic curricula; as a means to share knowledge regarding national and/or local cultural heritage; and also, but not by any means exclusively, to communicate the importance of preserving the past for us all.
Cherokee and Robbinsville High School Students Complete Archaeological Field Program
This year students excavated a structure in the Smokemont area, dating to approximately 970 A.D. Students worked in the hot and muggy weather of the last two weeks of July learning archaeological field methods along with lunchtime ‘lectures’ by noted archaeologists with various specialties. These afternoon lectures included topics such as Tribal, Federal, State, and contract archeology, Cherokee archeology, geology, zooarcheology, and plant ecology, which provide the students with a holistic view of the science of archeology, as well as, job opportunities in archaeology.
The collaborative program is organized and conducted by the Archaeological Research Laboratory at the University of Tennessee (Dr. Elizabeth Kellar DeCorse), the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Erik S. Kreusch), and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Tribal Historic Preservation Office (Russ Townsend). The program this year was funded by a National Park Foundation grant and the University of Tennessee.
This program hopes to teach students about archaeology with the goal of readying them to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in archaeology as this is a critical need: Descendant groups need to be involved in the research of their cultural past.