Archaeology at Home
In March 2020, not-for-profit social business DigVentures launched Archaeology at Home as an instant response to the conditions imposed on the practice of public archaeology by the COVID-19 lockdown. Archaeology at Home consisted of three distinct streams: videos including virtual site tours and workshops; a free online Virtual Fieldschool in the form of a six-week step-by-step ‘How to do archaeology’ online course; and the annual two-day DigNation festival, remodelled as a digital experience.
In total, DigVentures welcomed a remarkable number of over 11,000 people from 90 countries. The broad spectrum of engagement across different types of content created opportunities for people to participate in multiple ways. This ‘something for everyone’ approach attracted a diverse audience far beyond the traditional demographics normally associated with public archaeology activities, and a remarkable percentage of participants were new to archaeology in general.
Archaeology at Home increased the accessibility of archaeology and acted as a much-needed social network during the pandemic, and also had a direct positive impact on cultural heritage, including the discovery of a new henge site in the Derbyshire region of the United Kingdom. Moreover, DigVentures upscaled its evaluation procedures, which led to rich data collection, which contributes to the social embeddedness of cultural heritage. The project further ensured that despite the solitary and isolated working conditions of archaeologists due to the pandemic, professional and aspiring archaeologists could come together, share their love for the practice, and support each other in these times of social isolation.