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Chungará (Arica)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7356

Chungará (Arica) vol.44 no.3 Arica set. 2012 

Volumen 44, Nº 3, 2012. Páginas 475-485 Chungara, Revista de Antropología Chilena







Alicia Ebbitt McGill1

1 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Indiana University of South Bend, 1700 Mishawaka Avenue, Wiekamp Hall, South Bend, IN 46634-7111, USA.


A significant component of many public archaeology projects is a focus on primary school education. To develop culturally relevant pedagogy and understand the impact of knowledge about history and cultural heritage, it is important to explore ideas students already have about these concepts and how students interpret and transform information they gather. In Belize, through contact with archaeological resources, research projects, and curriculum initiatives, students develop ideas about and interests in archaeology, ruins, and "the Mayas". This paper is based on ethnographic research with elementary school students on their interactions with archaeological sites and their knowledge and learning about local and national cultural resources. The research is comparative, taking place in two different communities and their schools. It is also interdisciplinary, crossing the fields of archaeology, cultural anthropology, and education. This paper explores the ways students learn about history, archaeology, and cultural diversity in Belize and their knowledge and misconceptions about archaeological practice, history, and culture. Key themes in student knowledge and some origins and potential implications of their ideas are addressed. The article concludes with a discussion of the broader impacts of student learning about the past and intersections with public outreach and archaeological research.

Key words: Student knowledge, ethnographic research, archaeology education, Belize.


Un componente significativo de muchos proyectos de arqueología pública es el enfoque en la enseñanza primaria. Para desarrollar una pedagogía culturalmente pertinente y comprender el impacto del conocimiento de la historia y herencia cultural, es importante explorar las ideas que ya tienen los estudiantes acerca de estos conceptos y cómo interpretan y transforman la información que encuentran. En Belice, a través de recursos arqueológicos, proyectos de investigación e iniciativas de currículo, los estudiantes desarrollan ideas e interés en arqueología, ruinas y "los mayas". Este artículo se basa en la investigación etnográfica con estudiantes de nivel primario sobre su interacción con sitios arqueológicos y su conocimiento y aprendizaje acerca de recursos culturales locales y nacionales. La investigación es comparativa, basándose en dos comunidades y escuelas distintas. También es interdisciplinaria, entrelazando los campos de estudios de arqueología, antropología cultural y educación. Se exploran las maneras en que los estudiantes aprenden historia, arqueología y diversidad cultural en Belice, además de su conocimiento y su concepción errónea acerca de la práctica arqueológica, la historia y la cultura. También se discuten algunos temas claves relacionados al conocimiento del estudiante los orígenes e implicaciones potenciales de sus ideas. Se concluye el artículo con la discusión sobre la importancia del tema del aprendizaje de los estudiantes acerca del pasado y cómo se funde el alcance público con la investigación arqueológica.

Palabras claves: conocimiento del estudiante, investigación etnográfica, educación arqueológica, Belice.


In recent years, there have been significant 2009; Marshall 2002; Mortensen and Hollowell developments in innovative and engaged method-2009). Many of these approaches are related to ologies, practices, and theoretical approaches in a growing concern about the politics of heritage, archaeology (variously titled community-based engagement and collaboration with diverse comarchaeology, collaborative archaeologies, public munities, and an increasing interest in the ways archaeology, archaeological ethnographies) non-archaeologists conceptualize and interact with (Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Ferguson 2008; Derry archaeology and heritage. Some literature about and Malloy 2003; Hamilakis and Anagnostopoulos these new foci in archaeology centers on various perspectives and debates about the content, goals, and practices of archaeology (Jameson 1997; Merriman 2004; Schadla-Hall 2006; Smardz and Smith 2000; Stone and MacKenzie 1990). Included in this are concerns about archaeology education and the broader societal impacts of archaeology. However, much of archaeology education continues to be very discipline-centered; it strives to demonstrate to various publics the importance of stewardship of the archaeological record, explain archaeological methods, and raise awareness of archaeological interpretations of the past (Herscher and McManamon 2000).

One method by which these educational efforts can be made more effective and relevant to local communities is by learning about peoples’ extant knowledge of archaeological practice and material culture. These goals can be accomplished through in-depth ethnographic research and engagement during the course of research, but this may not be appropriate and feasible for every archaeological project. Small-scale assessments and evaluations of peoples’ knowledge of archaeology and cultural heritage can also significantly contribute to any public archaeology initiative. For example, this knowledge may lead to better interactions between archaeologists and local communities as well as reveal potential disjunctions between the needs, interests, and expectations of archaeologists and non-archaeologists. A better understanding of diverse concepts about cultural heritage may also broaden our perspectives of teaching, learning, and the politics of education. Finally, examining the intersections between archaeology, cultural heritage, and education will enable archaeologists to challenge and respond to misinterpretations and stereotypes about heritage, create more effective and engaging educational materials, and promote more inclusive interpretations of the past.

This paper details ethnographic work focused on youth learning, knowledge, and misconceptions about archaeological practice and cultural heritage in northern Belize. I focus on children’s voices and perspectives because as cultural agents, children create significant ideas about the world around them. In schools, cultural values and expectations are transmitted to children. Constructions of heritage in diverse educational contexts (school, archaeological sites, museums, home) influence the development of young citizens in Belize. However, children are not passive receptacles of knowledge. They consume, negotiate, and appropriate information in creative and innovative ways (Corsaro 2005; Graue and Walsh 1998). Belizean students interpret what they learn about cultural heritage and archaeological practice and construct their own knowledge. Throughout this paper I highlight intersections between archaeology and education. I conclude the paper with an analysis of archaeology’s social role in Belize and its impact on the development of young citizens

Contextual Background

Belize is an interesting context for exploring issues related to archaeology and learning due to the prevalence of archaeological sites, research, and tourism; the country’s diverse ethnic makeup; and the incorporation of the prehistoric past into social studies curricula. The research I discuss took place in Crooked Tree and Biscayne Villages: two small, demographically similar, rural communities in north-central Belize. Most people in the villages identity themselves as ethnically Kriol (descendants of Europeans, specifically British settlers, free Africans, and African slaves). Over the course of 10 months, I observed classes and school activities in upper level grades in the government elementary schools of these villages and conducted interviews with students, teachers, and other social actors2.

I chose to conduct research in Crooked Tree and Biscayne because they are both located in close proximity to Maya archaeological sites. Additionally, Crooked Tree community members have had 20 years of contact with the Chau Hiix Archaeological Project (CHAP), and many citizens consider the nearby Chau Hiix Maya site a community resource. Biscayne community members have not extensively interacted with archaeologists, thus providing a comparative research site. The CHAP began at the request of Crooked Tree villagers who were interested in the Chau Hiix site’s meaning and potential benefits to the community (Pyburn 2003). The CHAP has maintained close relationships with the community through the employment of community members, meetings with local politicians and community outreach initiatives, including school visits, festivals displays, site open-houses, and tour-guide training.

The relationship between heritage and education in Belize is quite complex. Belize is an ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse country that has experienced significant demographic fluctuations over the last 30 years. Belize gained independence from Great Britain in 1981 and cultural heritage plays an important role in contemporary ideas about national identity and development. Intersections between heritage and national identity, citizenship, and development are frequently discussed in public fora. Belizeans learn about archaeology and cultural heritage at archaeological sites, schools, museums, and cultural centers, as well as through tourism discourse and local knowledge.

Archaeology is a particularly important locus for cultural heritage education in Belize due to the prevalence of sites and practicing archaeologists -both foreign and local- throughout the country. Archaeologists often interact with the public by employing community members and conducting public archaeology activities (like those done as part of the CHAP). The national archaeology organization in Belize also organizes education activities including classroom visits and festival presentations. Over half of the students I interviewed had visited an archaeological site with family, friends, or school and over one third of the Crooked Tree students had visited the nearby Chau Hiix site. When asked about visiting archaeological sites, Sonia, a Crooked Tree student responded:

Sonia: I went da3 (to the) place where they, they got big big hole, to see where the Maya… was livin first… My auntie was working there and, we went there… They got lot of, old stuff.

Another important context for cultural heritage education is in school curricula. Cultural heritage traditionally makes up a small component of the Belizean social studies curriculum. Recently, however, educational projects have been developed in Belize that promote content about varied histories and cultural traditions (e.g. Cal 2004). For example, the African and Maya History Project (AMH) is an educational initiative designed to highlight African and Maya civilizations and promote pride in Belizean heritage, something absent from colonial education (Ashcraft and Grant 1968; Bolland 2003). Yet, even as the government, educators, and archaeologists try to incorporate Belizean heritage and cultural diversity into schools, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and regional inequalities continue to exist in Belize (Lewis 2000; Lundgren 1992). Some histories and cultural groups are excluded or misrepresented in formal education. For example, Kriol people, until recently the largest ethnic group in Belize, are not a focus of the AMH project. This last example demonstrates how, through local and national arenas and discussions, Belizeans learn implicit and explicit messages about the power, values, and roles of cultural heritage in the country.

Student Knowledge about Archaeology in Belize

The first student activity I implemented and analyzed was student drawings of archaeologists, a technique inspired by Bezerra’s (2005) work with Brazilian students. This activity revealed student ideas about what archaeologists look like, what kinds of tools they use, the work they do, the objects they find, and where they work. Students were also interviewed about their drawings as well as about archaeology and cultural heritage more generally. Many archaeology education projects focus on dispelling myths and stereotypes about archaeological practice. Identifying what accurate knowledge and misconceptions young people already have about archaeology will help guide these efforts.

There were some interesting differences between Crooked Tree and Biscayne student responses, perhaps pertaining to the different levels of contact with archaeologists. Overall, Crooked Tree students had more wide-ranging ideas about archaeological practice than Biscayne students. Biscayne students were unsure how to draw an archaeologist, several had questions about what archaeologists do, and the students drew fewer objects and activities in their drawings than Crooked Tree students.

Archaeological settings and tasks

Some students did not situate their archaeologist in a setting (only 12 Biscayne students (57%) and 38 Crooked Tree students (90%) drew settings). In drawings with settings, pyramids were most frequently represented (76% of all students). There was significantly more variety in the settings that Crooked Tree students drew including places like caves, mountains, museums, (figura 1). The prevalence of mountains and pyramids in the drawings suggests that students are struck by the monumentality of archaeological sites (figura 2). When asked to describe ruins, 74% of the student responses referred to mountains, steps, and big, tall, and high places and buildings. Many students fondly remembered climbing steps to the top of the ruins (several saying this was their favorite part of visiting sites). Ethan and Maria, both Biscayne students recalled the great size of the ruins they visited.

figura 1. Variety of archaeological settings in Crooked Tree students’ drawings.

Variedad de ambientes arqueológicos en los dibujos de los estudiantes de Crooked Tree.

Interviewer: What did the ruins look like?

Ethan: The rooinz (ruins) look like, some,

some big4 ting (thing)…Yeah. Huge. Huge.

Interviewer: Ok. Huge.

Ethan: Huge thing.

Maria: Di (the) Caracol one dat (that) was big… When we climbed that was big… Ah mi was tired. (I was tired) Ah mi goh (I went) by step by step… Because ah mi feel afraid (I felt afraid) because di (the) man tell us if you are afraid to go up, don’t go up and I say no and Ah gaan (I went).

figura 2. Representations of pyramids in Crooked Tree and Biscayne students’ drawings.

Representaciones de pirámides en los dibujos de los estudiantes de Crooked Tree y Biscayne.

Almost a quarter (23%) of Crooked Tree student responses to questions about what they saw at ruins made reference to seeing archaeologists or archaeological work (e.g. digging and screening). This is not surprising since many of the Crooked Tree students visited Chau Hiix and watched archaeologists conducting excavations and examining artifacts and some students even had the opportunity to participate in archaeology activities.

Many students understood that archaeologists work at ruins, dig up objects, and study them to learn about the past. Brianna, a Biscayne student and Jacob, a Crooked Tree student describe this below:

Interviewer: Do you know what archaeo logy is?

Brianna: Yes, I know what archaeology, means… it means the studying of ancient things. Digging up the past… I believe [archaeologists] go to different garbage, like dumps and dig out things to find dates, and maybe plates and, dates on stones… They dig up bodies, off the graveyards and things like that.

Interviewer: What is archaeology? Jacob: Person who studies old things… They go from place to place to see what they could find about old tings (things).

However, most students were unfamiliar with steps involved in the archaeological process beyond digging. None of the Biscayne students included labs or museums in their drawings, while seven Crooked Tree students drew museums or places where artifacts are stored, one drew an office, and nine drew a house on-site (many referred to this as the archaeologist’s house). A few students like Jamal, a Biscayne student described different steps in their interviews:

Jamal: They use… spade, bucket, sohn lee (some little) brush… so they could see. And, they use some lee si-chroo (little see-through) bag put the samples in there when they find.

Interviews and drawings also revealed a great deal about students’ broad ideas about the kinds of objects archaeologists find and what they do with these objects after excavation.

What do archaeologists find?

Some students described archaeologists finding evidence of daily life practices such as pottery, stone tools, and animal bones. Others focused more on archaeologists digging for treasures, jade, and gold. In the Biscayne drawings only one student drew pottery, while 31 students at Crooked Tree drew pottery. In regard to other artifacts, only 10 Biscayne students (48%) drew artifacts with only eight different kinds of artifacts portrayed (the most popular artifact being clothing [29% of students]). The most popular objects mentioned in the Biscayne interviews were gold (36% of the students), pottery (27%), and jewelry (23%), and bones (18%). The Crooked Tree drawings had more variety in the types of artifacts (11 different kinds of artifacts) and more students (88%) drew artifacts. When asked what archaeologists find, Dean, a Crooked Tree student responded:

Weapons, sharp stones, cups, pots, pans, out of clay that, they used to make… bones, skulls.

The most popular objects in the Crooked Tree drawings were: pottery (74% of students), silverware (19%), rocks (17%), and modern artifacts (14%). In the Crooked Tree interviews, the most popular objects mentioned were bones and skelintans (skeletons) (88%), pottery (74%), silverware (12%), and jewelry (9.5%).

Two interesting trends are noticeable. Crooked Tree students, who live in a community with a history of archaeological research, were less than half as likely to suggest that archaeologists dig up treasures in their drawings or interviews. In the Biscayne interviews, when asked "What do archaeologists find?" 34% of objects mentioned were gold, silver, jewelry, jade, or treasures. Below are two examples from Biscayne students:

Interviewer: What kinds of things do you think they [archaeologists] find?

Venisha: Treasures… Like chain, earring. Bracelet.

Beto: When di (the) Mayas dead. They left latta (a lot of) gold.

In response to the same question, only 7% of objects mentioned by Crooked Tree students were "treasure". Some Crooked Tree students have had the opportunity to screen soil and have contact with broken pottery and tools at the Chau Hiix site -a special event they recall fondly and which influenced their perceptions of archaeology.

Additionally, while none of the Biscayne students drew bones, 93% of Crooked Tree students drew bones of some kind. The bones ranged in type; 30 were obviously human bones including skulls and fully articulated skeletons (figura 3). This corresponds quite well with the interview data. Only four Biscayne students (18%) mentioned bones compared to 37 Crooked Tree students (88%). The prevalence of bones in Crooked Tree drawings and interviews likely stems from a fascination with human remains. Community members who have worked at Chau Hiix have accounts of excavating human remains and young people are retold these stories. Many community residents have ghost stories about Chau Hiix and the surrounding area. Human remains are a "memory point" for children and adults –something they remember that becomes part of how they conceptualize the heritage of Chau Hiix. Due to the local discourse and fascination about human remains, it is important for archaeologists to consider the effects of working with and discussing research on skeletal remains on the public’s perceptions of heritage.

How do archaeologists conduct their work?

Students also had varied answers to a question about what archaeologists do with the objects they find, though these responses did not differ between the two schools. Students frequently responded either that archaeologists put them away and/or take them to a museum. Other responses included that archaeologists keep objects for themselves, study the objects they find, and show the objects they excavate to other people. The most common response (46% of responses in Biscayne and 38% of responses in Crooked Tree) was that archaeological objects are "put up," given to someone important (e.g. the police or government), or put away, suggesting that these objects are out-of-reach for the students. Chantal, a Biscayne student and Matthew, a Crooked Tree student talked about this.

figura 3. Representations of bones in Crooked Tree students’ drawings.

Representaciones de huesos en los dibujos de los estudiantes de Crooked Tree.

Interviewer: What do they [archaeologists] do with that stuff when they find it?

Chantal: They moasli (mostly), put they up.

Matthew: I think you just, put it up. Put it up.

A majority (83%) of students recognized that archaeologists need permission to conduct the work they do in Belize but they were unsure who archaeologists need permission from. The issue of permissions is an important one to explore further because of potential misunderstandings about the practice of archaeology and connections between permissions and broader community concerns such as site development, tourism, and the power and resources of archaeologists. In Crooked Tree, for example, even after conversations between archaeologists, government officials, and community residents about archaeological research, development, and archaeo-tourism, many residents were still unsure about the logistics and laws related to these practices. Some community members had unrealistic or unattainable expectations about how much control individual villagers and archaeologists have over local archaeological work and site development, a fact that may hinder collaborative archaeology initiatives.

Broader Impacts of Archaeology and Education

Ideally, archaeological research and outreach are balancing acts combining the interests, needs, and concerns of a variety of groups including (but not limited to) foreign and national archaeologists, community members, teachers, and students. However, this can be quite difficult. Developing some common ground about education and knowledge construction can help reach multiple goals. This involves identifying teacher needs and interests, being familiar with common themes in cultural heritage education, and understanding the implications of the ways young people conceptualize cultural heritage and archaeological practice.

It is important to consider local educators when designing archaeology education initiatives; otherwise these materials may not be used because they are not appropriate for the curriculum or relevant to other materials. Many Belizean teachers are overwhelmed by the extensive national curriculum and inconsistent resources for incorporating new teaching materials, such as those related to archaeology and cultural heritage designed by archaeologists and national actors, including curriculum designers, Belizean scholars working at higher education institutions, and employees of heritage institutions in Belize. By interacting with teachers and learning information such as this, archaeologists will be able to work with teachers to develop engaging and effective materials that both help teachers educate students and raise awareness about archaeological issues.

Cultural education as well as archaeological interpretations and practices have broader impacts beyond their uses in classrooms. Certainly, people learn more than the specific content conveyed to them. What is ultimately learned and understood about cultural heritage and archaeological practice is influenced by myriad factors. Throughout the world, it is common to find hidden or overt messages in formal social studies education related to cultural heritage, citizenship, and economic development (Stevick and Levinson 2007; see also Luykx 1999). The organization of information about these issues in the curriculum influences student knowledge about the past. Below, I discuss broader implications of archaeological practice and cultural heritage education for the development of young people.

Archaeological education frequently addresses the cultural practices and material culture of different groups in the past, but students also receive this information from other sources. Frequently, the messages students receive about these issues conflict, as stereotypes about culture and cultural practices may be prevalent in a society. If archaeologists do not study the context of their educational efforts, they risk reinforcing inaccurate (or, at the worst damaging) conceptions of archaeology and culture. In Belize, the social studies curriculum exposes students to different ethnic groups in the country, but it does so in a way that compartmentalizes cultural practices, teaching culture as a system of characteristics and facts that define ethnic identities. During classes focused on contemporary ethnic groups and cultural practices, students are taught that individuals neatly fit into contained categories. They are often asked to memorize the "typical" clothing, food, and music associated with different "cultures". This an example of what Wilk (1995) refers to as the "global structures of common difference". Cultural education in this form makes diversity easy to manage and contain, providing students with forms of "safe culture" (Wilk 1995) that make it possible to celebrate cultural difference without addressing more complex issues like ethnic tension, racism, colonial history, cultural fluidity, globalization, and inequalities. Essentialized conceptions of culture reinforce cultural stereotypes and do not enable young people to understand and appreciate cultural diversity and change nor express their own complicated and heterogeneous cultural identities (e.g. Haug’s research (1998) with children in southern Belize). I found in my work that some students lumped all people who are different and unfamiliar into the same group and self-identified in ways that contrasted the narrow versions of culture in the curriculum. For example, many students described their multiethnic lineages. Cultural diversity and ethnic identity are complicated concepts related to broader social issues. Teachers often told me they felt they did not have adequate tools to address these concepts in their classrooms.

Portrayals of contemporary ethnic identities in education also influences the ways young people think about prehistoric groups in Belize, such as Maya peoples. In the curriculum, information about Maya groups is presented in ways that are similar to how culture is presented-there are references to Maya cultural practices and characteristics such as food and subsistence practices, art, and architecture. Additionally modern and ancient Maya groups are combined in the same sections without distinctions, and often the terms "Mayans" or "the Maya" are used to group together all Maya peoples. This practice denies the cultural diversity amongst Maya groups in prehistory and the present. The students I worked with were very confused about who exactly "the Maya" are or were and what the differences are between ancient Maya peoples and modern Maya groups. In the social studies curriculum, students are encouraged to visit modern Maya communities and/or interview older Maya people to learn about "how the Mayas lived" or "how they governed themselves" as though these people are survivals of the past. Naturally, archaeologists want to avoid and possibly challenge in their educational materials the practice of placing modern people in the past.

Knowledge about archaeological practice and findings also reveals associated cultural values and identity politics, important themes for archaeologists trying to understand the impacts of their work. As an anthropologist, I am excited that young people are fascinated by the size and spectacle of archaeological sites in Belize. I am concerned, however, that the monumentality of sites might limit their conceptions of where archaeologists work, what they do, and what aspects of human behavior and social organization they are interested in. The majority of archaeological research in Belize focuses on ancient Maya sites. This focus is the result of many national, local, and academic factors. Maya archaeological sites are prominent in the Belizean national landscape and are icons of national identity. Tourism is an important social and economic component of Belizean society and there is strong interest amongst the nation-state and citizens to promote Maya sites to tourists. Archaeological scholars are interested in Maya sites in Belize because of the exciting opportunities these sites provide for research on the cultural practices of the ancient Maya. The focus of tourism and research on monumental Maya sites influence student knowledge and interpretations about the past, including what about the past is "significant." Many scholars have written about the symbolic power of ruins (Hamilakis 2007; Jackson 1980) as well as the ways that the physicality of material culture affects people’s interpretations of heritage (Byrne 2009; De Cesari 2010; Smith 2006).

Heritage management practices such as conservation and research "[draw] our attention continually to the tangible and material fabric of heritage places" (Smith 2006:88). Through these practices, heritage is often defined more by its physical presence than by its uses (De Cesari 2010: 307-308). Archaeology can tell many stories about the past and can be used to engage people in diverse interactions with cultural heritage. However, an emphasis on heritage as a thing (instead of a process) as well as on particular cultural groups and forms of heritage (monumental and elite) may distance living people from archaeological heritage. Archaeology education should be sure to include components on library and laboratory research, the processes involved in answering questions about the past, and the social life and meanings of cultural heritage. In Belize, it may also benefit archaeologists to emphasize research on the daily lives of ancient peoples and material culture of non-Maya communities (not only their ruins), thus ensuring students learn that archaeologists’ interests are not only in elite structures and individuals and that archaeology involves more than just digging into "big ruins".

Limited understandings about archaeological research may affect student ideas about their own cultural histories. When I asked students if there are archaeological ruins other than Maya ones in Belize, or if there are Kriol ruins, of 57 students who answered, 63% said "no" or they were "unsure." Interestingly, a prominent scholar of Kriol culture and language in Belize was even surprised by my suggestion that the ancestors of contemporary Kriol peoples could be studied archaeologically. She asked me, "What would they dig up?" Developing more culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings 1995) and inclusive archaeological practices may expand young peoples’ cultural understanding and positively influence their ideas about their own cultural heritage.

Finally, I think the student responses about objects being "put up" are significant. While it is important for young people to understand that archaeological artifacts are fragile, and that they are often placed in museums (and not in archaeologists’ pockets), it is potentially problematic if they think about archaeology as untouchable, inaccessible, and purely object-oriented. Archaeology should be taught as an approachable, accessible science that connects people with the past. Public archaeology efforts that engage people in archaeological activities like those that have been done at Chau Hiix can help demystify archaeological practice for people.


Archaeology education can raise awareness and appreciation of diverse cultural practices and involve multiple groups in archaeological interpretations. Archaeological practice also has broad social impacts on the knowledge and learning of young citizens. Analysis of the ways young people experience and interpret the past reveals the importance of understanding the contexts of formal cultural education and the politics of cultural heritage in areas where archaeologists conduct research. This kind of work, whether through long-term ethnography or small-scale assessments will better enable archaeologists to balance multiple interests and work more effectively with diverse groups. Further work on intersections between archaeological practice and cultural heritage education has the potential to transform the ways people think, learn, and teach about archaeology and cultural heritage.

Acknowledgements: This research was funded by a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and an Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Year Research Fellowship. Thank you to the Crooked Tree and Biscayne villagers and the teachers, students, and parents from these schools for their support and participation in the research. Thank you also to the editing and organizing committee of this important special issue on public archaeology.


* Artículo seleccionado del conjunto de ponencias presentadas en el Simposio Shifting from Object-centered Research to People-focused Application: Current Approaches to Public Archaeology from Latin America and the Caribbean, realizado en el marco de la 75 reunión anual de la Sociedad de Arqueología Americana, Saint Louis, Missouri, EUA, abril 2010. Este manuscrito fue evaluado por investigadores externos y editado por Reiko Ishihara-Brito y Cameron Griffith, en su calidad de editores invitados de la Revista.

1 Ting is the Kriol word for thing, skelintan is the Kriol word for skeleton, and rooinz is the Kriol word for ruins. Students often talked about old tings and skelintans when describing archaeological finds. The word rooinz was used to refer to an entire archaeological site and/or the actual structures or mounds at the site.

2 Data from 68 student interviews and 63 student drawings (21 from Biscayne and 42 from Crooked Tree) were analyzed for this paper. Pseudonyms are used for students’ names.

3 All text in italics found in quotations was spoken in Belizean Kriol. Translations for the Belizean Kriol are provided in parentheses. All translations are my own. The Kriol – Inglish Dikshineri, English – Kriol Dictionary (Herrera et al. 2007) was used to ensure proper spelling of Kriol words.

4 Boldface is used to indicate when someone added emphasis to words.

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Recibido: agosto 2010. Aceptado: abril 2012.

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