I ♥ Archaeology

An Experiment in Appreciative Inquiry
  • John R. WelchEmail author


This application of appreciative inquiry, a mode of deliberation that encourages purposeful identification of the best the world has to offer, singles out six loveworthy attributes of archaeology. Archaeology is both utterly distinctive and wildly diverse, allowing practitioners to define their own unique professional path. Archaeology has matured to become extroverted, inclusive, and increasingly proactive, a quintessentially social and often outwardly focused humanistic science. Archaeology is still becoming and reinventing itself, developing in dynamic and constructive response to stimuli from within and well beyond disciplinary boundaries. Archaeology has consolidated modest shares of power and credibility with governments and industry leaders, allowing archaeologists to collaborate and advocate, often with significant effect, on behalf of threatened places and associated belongings, traditions, and communities. Archaeology is almost universally loved, endowing practitioners with the enormous privilege of inspirational exchanges with individual and collective imaginations and of public confidence and resulting social and political licenses to operate. Finally, despite all of these extraordinary advantages, archaeology is typically humble, grounded in uncertainty, and cognizant of its own limitations without ceding its powers and capacities to discover, reveal, connect, safeguard, and inspire. These six lovable attributes, and the archaeologists who do so much loving of, in, and through their work, position archaeologists to guide and be guided by our diverse clientele—real and potential audiences of people who care about the past as prologue, as refuge, as inspiration, as data, as cautionary tale, or as some combination. Keeping eyes, minds, arms, and hearts open to possibilities for unanticipated ways of seeing, knowing, and collaborating—a discipline dependent as much on relaxation as on rigor—opens archaeology to the benefits of humankind’s most potent ally, positive affect.


Love Appreciative inquiry Archaeology Archaeological practice Personal archaeology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser University and Archaeology SouthwestBurnabyCanada

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