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Public misconceptions about archeology

In popular culture, archeologists are romantic characters who travel to exotic lands in search of mysterious artifacts. Some people think that archeologists dig up dinosaur bones. Although the public is increasingly interested in archeologists and what they do, misconceptions about both still abound. Creatively addressing misconceptions about archeology is an effective way for interpreters and archeologists to share information with the public to alleviate confusion that may lead visitors to misunderstand, or even abuse, archeological resources and provide a means for the public to appreciate and care for archeological resources.

In 1999, the Society for American Archaeology and several other archeological organizations commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a study among the American public to understand their perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about archeology. Through open-ended and choice-specific questions, the study found that the majority of Americans believe that archeological resources are important and that archeology should be taught in schools. The study also disclosed some public misconceptions about archeology and archeologists:

Fun fact

What does the public think and know about archeology? To find out read Exploring Public Perceptions and Attitudes About Archaeology, a 1999 survey conducted by Harris Interactive and several archeological organizations.

For your information

Fossils? Gold? Treasure? Dinosaurs? Aren't these what archeologists look for? Explore some of the most popular Myths and Misconceptions associated with archeology, by the Society for American Archaeology.