Grace McAlister

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Research Statement

Measuring the Value of Community-based Archaeological Projects to Young People in Northern Ireland

In recent years, there has been considerable investment in community archaeology projects in Northern Ireland through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the PEACE Programmes. This investment has increased the number of schools interacting with, and participating in, archaeological projects in the province and, as a result, community archaeology projects and archaeological education have become inherently linked. Despite numerous references to the potential benefit of these projects to participants and the wider heritage sector, there has been little formal evaluation. This is an issue throughout archaeological education, and to a lesser extent community archaeology, and it has been suggested that more research on the potential benefits of using archaeology both within and outside of the classroom would be valuable (Corbishley 2019). Longitudinal study has been identified as a potentially effective method of understanding the impact of archaeological education (Cole 2014). This level of evaluation is key to the professionalisation of archaeological education and community archaeology and will ensure that future community-based archaeological projects have positive outcomes for both the heritage sector and the communities with which they engage. Therefore, the aim of this research is to assess the attitudinal and cognitive value of connecting young people through formal education with heritage, specifically their local archaeology.


Assistant Leader leader at Belfast Young Archaeologists' Club

Assistant Editor of the Ulster Journal of Archaeology


Archaeological Education; Community Archaeology; Outreach; Field Archaeology