An Early Example of Public Archaeology in the United States: Nauvoo, Illinois, 1962–1969

Nauvoo Temple excavation

Publication: North American Archaeologist, Vol. 27, No. 4

Author: Benjamin C. Pykles

Date of Publication: October 2006

PDF File: Pykles-2006-An-Early-Example-of-Public-Archaeology-in-the-Unit.pdf



Although public archaeology has become increasingly popular since the 1980s, there were archaeologists engaged with the public well before this time. Yet, there have been very few attempts to document these early examples of public archaeology in the United States. Many of these early examples were associated with historic site restorations. One such example comes from the archaeological program at the historic Mormon city of Nauvoo, Illinois, during the 1960s. Here, J. C. Harrington, his wife Virginia, and others continued a longstanding tradition of interpreting excavations to the public by utilizing various illustrative methods. The program of interpreting archaeology to the public in Nauvoo is in many ways a forerunner to much of what has since been promoted as noteworthy examples of public archaeology.