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Embrace the Margins: Adventures in Archaeology and Homelessness

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Publication details

JournalPublic Archaeology
DatePublished - Feb 2011
Issue number1
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)4-22
Original languageEnglish


In 2009–10 two archaeologists conducted an archaeological study of contemporary homelessness in Bristol (UK). The result was a memorable experience for all involved, and an experiment in developing a socially engaged and socially active form of archaeology. For this was not just two archaeologists 'studying' homelessness, but archaeologists working alongside and with homeless people to develop a better understanding of contemporary homelessness and to begin to explore the potential benefits of archaeological endeavour. We all learnt from this, about ourselves, about each other, and about our subject — it was, for all of us, an archaeological adventure. In this essay we discuss the experience, the results of the project, and some of the ethical dilemmas of working with vulnerable people.

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