Land developers and archaeological information

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Isto Huvila

Source:

Open Information Science, Volume 1, Number 1, p.71–90 (2017)

Keywords:

archaeology, information needs, information use, land development, usefulness, value

Abstract:

Land developers are significant stakeholders of archaeological work in the developed world. A better understanding of their information practices is crucial for the preservation and management of archaeological heritage. This study investigates land developers' use, needs and conceptions of the usefulness- value of archaeological information and their views of development-led archaeological process. The findings are based on a survey of Finnish and Swedish land developers (N=34) that have contracted and financed archaeological fieldwork. The results show that the most useful information for land developers is data on the spatial location of archaeological sites but that the situation is much more nuanced than often suggested. Even if the most of the respondents were rather satisfied with the current situation, the lack of information can have major consequences and there are several obstacles to obtain relevant information. Extensive reliance on people sources can be seen both a symptom of the current problems and an indication of the importance of closer collaboration between archaeologists and land developers. Further, the study shows that the different levels of the perceived usefulness of specific types of archaeological information can be explained by the different regimes determining their worth in the two communities.

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