Embedding science within archaeology exhibits: utilisation of a postal survey to inform the production of postal presentations

Copley, Mark (2009) Embedding science within archaeology exhibits: utilisation of a postal survey to inform the production of postal presentations. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    In recent years, science has gained more prominence within the UK government’s education programmes, and museums are recognised as being a useful forum through which this may occur. There are two components to this study.

    Firstly, the current nature and extent of archaeological displays including science, and the background of the responsible museum professionals are investigated. A postal survey comprising a short questionnaire was sent to one hundred UK museums that maintain archaeological collections. Fifty-five completed questionnaires were returned. Of the sixteen archaeological science topics investigated, 'conservation', 'stratigraphy and the excavation process', and 'human osteology and palaeopathology' are the three most likely topics currently incorporated into exhibits. It was also observed that most museum professionals do not have scientific backgrounds, that they would like more science included in their exhibits and that a majority would like guidelines to help with this. These issues are further explored through the additional comments provided by the respondents.

    These results informed the second component of this study. entred on the collections held at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, poster presentations were created covering three topics based on archaeological science, namely the conservation of the Mary Rose’s timbers, the stable isotope analyses of tooth enamel and the archaeology of the galley.

    Three different interpretation strategies were employed for each of these topics, one with the science summarised in everyday language, a second with more scientific content and a third utilising personal quotes to help to make the science more accessible. Using the Fry test and Cloze procedure, the text proved to be accessible and suitable for a wide audience, and the developmental process utilised is provided in detail.

    This study is the first of its type and will be of interest to museum professionals, archaeologists and scientists alike.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: ?? EDAM ??
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2011 16:49
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:17
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/1139

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