Presenting Archaeological Sites to the Public in Scotland

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (not awarded by UHI)


This thesis is an exploration of the nature of archaeological sites presented to the public in Scotland through an analysis of five case studies. The project utilises qualitative in-depth interviews, an approach that, although well recognised in other social sciences, has been little-used in archaeology. For this project, semi-structured recorded interviews were undertaken with participants at the sites, which were subsequently transcribed and analysed using QSR NVivo software. This approach, the rationales behind using it, and benefits for research in public archaeology, are discussed in detail. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of the roles and significances of archaeology, the ways it influences and is influenced by perceptions of the past, and the values placed upon it. The essence of the thesis then focuses on the in-depth analysis of the case studies. Backgrounds are given for each of the sites, providing a framework from which extracts of interviews are used to elucidate on themes and ideas of participant discussions. This approach allows for the real, lived experiences of respondents to be relayed, and direct quotations are used to provide a greater context for discussions. This reflects a number of recurring themes, which developed during interviews, both within sites and across sites. The interviews also reflect the individual roles and functions of archaeological sites for the public, and the often idiosyncratic nature of participant engagements with archaeology. The information and insights gained from this research are considered with regard to potential impacts on the presentation of archaeological sites to the public in general. Themes and ideas which are developed in the case study chapters are discussed in more detail, before suggestions for changes to the ways archaeological sites are presented are made. Finally, specific suggestions for changing approaches to the case study sites are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Glasgow
Award date11 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Presenting Archaeological Sites to the Public in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this