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Archeology for Interpreters > 6. What Are Our Personal and Professional Responsibilities?

Making jargon-free archeology presentations

Stratigraphy, STP, assemblage, phytoliths ... archeology has a unique vocabulary that can be incomprehensible to the untrained ear. While many park visitors are interested in learning about archeology and the methods that archeologists use, the jargon they encounter at archeological sites or in archeological publications may overwhelm and intimidate them.

Archeologists and interpreters should identify visitors' level of archeological understanding and tailor verbal and media presentations accordingly. Archeological terms and methods can be described using familiar words, concepts, and illustrations when possible. While archeologists and interpreters should not avoid using technical archeological terms during a presentation to a lay audience, they should immediately define the term or concept to ensure visitor understanding.

Identifying educational components in archeological research

Archeologists seek to answer some of the most basic questions people have about past cultures, family groups, and individuals. An archeological research design includes questions that, if answered, will allow the archeologists to interpret data and its meaning. Research designs may identify educational components that address interpreters' and the public's basic questions about how archeology is done and what it means.

Five Simple Educational Concepts

Whether the interpreter or archeologist presents archeological information to park visitors at a battlefield, pueblo, historic house or exhibit, he or she may wish to design the presentation around five simple concepts (Ellick 2000:187-188):