• Things worth telling: considering narrative storytelling in environmental archaeology

      Fitzpatrick, Alexandra L.; San Filippo, V.; Fitzpatrick, Alexandra; San Filippo, V. (2017-12)
      With the advent of the Internet, research has never been more accessible by others. As such, science communication has never been more important. In particular, environmental archaeology has often been at the mercy of successfully communicating a project’s importance to others. However, conventional archaeology papers may find difficulty in selling their research to the general public and to peers. In this paper, we propose that environmental archaeology projects may be able to benefit from adapting a narrative structure when publishing material. We argue that a narrative structure is not only more interesting and more accessible to non-specialists, but it may be more effective at illustrating the importance of a project to others. Because a narrative structure relies heavily on the development of empathy between the narrator and their audience in order to develop narrative drive, so too should an archaeology paper seek to engage with and motivate its readers. In order to explore this idea, we have identified key features of the structures for both a standard archaeology paper and a narrative story. An example environmental archaeology paper was written following the identified standard conventions to serve as our basis for this investigation, before being rewritten with a narrative structure. In examining these papers side by side, we will demonstrate the benefits of narrative in archaeology for public outreach, interdisciplinary communication, and research funding. By examining the conventions of the field from an outside perspective, we hope to provide tools with which environmental archaeology can strengthen its outreach. Narrative has proven itself as a vital communication tool, from which any willing archaeologist can benefit.