Archaeologist for a Week: Voluntourism in Archaeology
While many people are interested in archaeology, most opt for “something sensible” instead when choosing a career. In the UK, for example, these people have a wide range of volunteering options available that will allow them to get involved with archaeology in their spare time nonetheless. In other countries (e.g. Germany and Austria), volunteering options in archaeology are limited at best, if they exist at all. Therefore, some people are willing to pay to be able to spend their summer vacation on an archaeological excavation.
This combination of travel and volunteering is widely known as voluntourism. A large range of organisations offering voluntourism placements can be found online. However, while there is an abundance of ecological and humanitarian projects, supply for archaeological voluntourism is sparse, unless volunteers are willing to organise the trip themselves. As a recent study conducted by Bangor University shows, travel agents do not see a viable market in offering voluntourism at archaeological excavations. Our own experience with our excavation at Meillionydd, near Rhiw in North West Wales (UK), as well as a survey conducted among volunteers, gives us reason to believe that there is a market though.
This paper discussed the results of this study and looks at whether voluntourism in archaeology is feasible or not.
KeywordsArchaeology Fieldwork Voluntourism Public participation
- ARGE Archäologie. (2017). Programme 2017. https://www.arge-archaeologie.at/programm-2017/. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.
- Connolly, D. (2013). BAJR guide to a career in archaeology. (BAJR practical guide series, Guide 33). Haddington: British Archaeological Jobs and Resources. http://www.bajr.org/BAJRGuides/33.%20Archaeological_Career_Advice/Archaeology_2013.pdf. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.
- Earthwatch Institute. (2017a). Fast facts. http://eu.earthwatch.org/About/Fast-Facts. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.
- Earthwatch Institute. (2017b). http://eu.earthwatch.org/Expeditions/Expedition-Search. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.
- Karl, R., & Ryan Young, C. (2014). Touristic Exploitation of Archaeological Fieldwork. [unpublished report].Google Scholar
- Karl, R., Möller, K., & Krierer, K. R. (2012). Ain’t got no job… The archaeology labour market in Austria, Germany and the UK, 2007–2012. Wien: Internationales Österreichisches Archäologie Forum. http://archaologieforum.org/index.php/beitraege/10-neuigkeiten/5346-the-archaeological-labour-market. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.
- Karl, R. et al. (2014). Archäologische Interessen der Österreichischen Bevölkerung (Bangor studies in archaeology, 8). Bangor: School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology, Bangor University.Google Scholar
- Möller, K., & Karl, R. (2016). Digging up the past in Gwynedd: Heritage research tourism in Wales. In G. Hooper (Ed.), Heritage and tourism in Britain and Ireland. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- PastHorizons. (2017). http://www.pasthorizons.com/worldprojects/defaultsearch.asp. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.
- Thomas, S. (2010). Community archaeology in the UK: Recent findings. York: Council for British Archaeology.Google Scholar
- Vountourism.org. (2017). http://www.voluntourism.org/. date accessed 30 Mar 2017.