The turn toward community-based research in archaeology is “transforming” the discipline. No longer can we show up with screens and trowels wielding government permits and expect to start digging. Community-based archaeological projects may never even get to the excavation phase if local collaborators are uninterested or have other priorities. Now that collaboration with local populations has become standard archaeological practice, it is imperative to begin incorporating community engagement into traditional field schools. Today’s archaeology requires grassroots organizing, cultural awareness, and sensitive listening skills, in addition to digging square holes and drawing tree roots to scale. In this paper, I incorporate archaeology’s new community transformation into teaching a four-week service learning field school at Alma College in May 2018. Short-term outreach and educational events included hosting Boy Scouts, participating in Environmental Education Day, and holding a public archaeology day for the wider Alma community. I argue that creating opportunities for undergraduates to teach other publics both solidifies content-based knowledge and aligns with the goals of active learning and critical pedagogy. Integrating community engagement into the traditional field school model provides first-hand experience in collaboration, and offers students alternative understandings of the past that promote increased reflexivity and self-awareness.

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Each figure caption contains copyright/usage rights information. I received explicit, written permission from the undergraduate students who wrote the included journal reflections.



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