In many parts of Europe the last decade has seen a surge of interest in the traces of the past, not only in archaeological and historical sites and objects but also in the broader context of the landscapes within which these individual cultural features achieve their full meaning and impact.
A key action within the project will be the use of traditional and new techniques to foster this interest and to show a broader audience how cultural landscapes and heritage sites can contribute to European as well as local identity and 'sense of place'. The power of aerial images, or the vision of our cities and rural landscapes on GoogleEarth and similar web-sites, can bring this kind of appreciation to a wider audience than that reached by traditional hard-copy publications or carefully-mounted exhibitions.
Traditional methods will nevertheless play a part in the project's communication strategy. An international traveling exhibition, made of traditional graphic and photographic material as well as video and multimedia devices, will circulate to venues throughout Europe during the second to four years of the project. Following a provisional schedule, the exhibition will be presented in Bucharest (National Museum), Dublin (National Museum), Ljubljana (National Museum), Denmark (Holstebro Museum) and Frankfurt (RGC, Archaeologcial Museum). The exhibition will also be shown at any place in Europe, upon interest and request.
Smaller exhibitions, funded by individual partners as part of their own work within the project, will be displayed at a variety of venues, from local museums and libraries to shopping malls or other public spaces. Moreover, all project partners will be encouraged to undertake 'public outreach' initiatives along these lines, including arranging public meetings, giving talks or contributing posters at academic and other conferences, as well as creating digital content in the national language for their own websites and/or for the central website of the ArchaeoLandscapes project. The first such initiatives will be launched in Year 1 of the project and a 'rolling' programme will be maintained throughout the following four years.
At least two traditional publications are planned so as to publicize work carried out within the project reports of colloquia/conferences held in the middle and at the end of the project, and an account of a major study of the First World War Western Front and its aftermath in Belgium. Smaller 'popular' booklets and leaflets will also be produced and distributed, explaining the aims and achievements the project as a whole or of particular activities within it.
The main focus in the project's communication strategy, however, will lie in web-based output that can speak directly to a wider and in particular a younger audience. If the interest and commitment of these previously un-involved members of the public can be captured and then nurtured, public appreciation of the shared cultural heritage of Europe will be enhanced, enjoyment increased and a sense of caring instilled in citizens who would not formerly have realized the significance of these living tokens of the past.
Without this public support, attempts at wider and more sympathetic conservation will always face an uphill struggle. But this is also important to communicate with politicians who may be able to influence the legislative climate, and with professionals whose role it is to care for, conserve and 'present' the upstanding and hidden traces of the past. Meetings of various kinds with these two groups will therefore form an essential part of the project's work programme.
A particular contribution will be made by project partners who already have expertise in both traditional and innovative methods of catching the public and political imagination, such as the staff of the Discovery Programme in Ireland. Others will contribute particular expertise in the presentation of image- and map-based data of the kind needed by cultural resource managers and public service archaeologists in their efforts to protect sites and landscapes through the legal and planning systems.
Technical meetings will enable practical exchange and discussion among the representatives of the partner organizations dealing directly with the communication issues.
Working Package leader:
Anthony Corns (Discovery Programme), Axel Posluschny (Roman-Germanic Commission)