Community Archaeology: Presenting Mograt’s Past
Archaeology may be about studying the past but the evidence of past lives that archaeologists seek exists in the present. This means that archaeology can have a significant impact on modern life, especially for people living close to archaeological and historical sites. To make sure that this important aspect of archaeology is not overlooked on Mograt Island, we want to find out what local people think about the history of their island and also what life is like today. To make this happen, the archaeological team want to get to know as many people from Mograt as possible. We want to understand what old sites mean to people today, hear family histories, learn how modern settlements developed and, equally importantly, answer any questions people have as well as share information about the archaeological excavation work. This means that when I am on Mograt I have the great job of getting to know many of the individuals and families who live near the places where we are excavating. I spend many hours every day talking to people about their lives on the island. I am especially interested in finding out what local people think about the Mograt Island Archaeological Mission’s team of archaeologists, what questions they have about what we do, and what feelings, stories and comments they would like to share with us about the history of Mograt Island. I try to answer questions from the community where I can but I also try to bring other team members and people from the community together. This helps everyone to get to know each other and share their ideas.
It is a great way to make sure everyone knows what is going on – both people from the island and visiting archaeologists – so that we can all get the most out of the archaeological work. By putting all of the information together that we will collect over the coming years, we can share the story of Mograt Island, from prehistory to the present, with everyone on the island as well as with the wider world through talks, books, posters, websites and events. I speak good Arabic, so next time you see me on Mograt, don’t hesitate to come and say hello, swap stories and ask questions!