Within anthropology there are
four subfields –physical anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural
anthropology- and the most misunderstood is definitely that of archaeology (Dr. Jones). Unlike the
other three sub disciplines, because the word “anthropology” is not attached in the title, there is often
confusion on what exactly an archaeologist studies. Archaeology is not the study of dinosaurs as
many in the public have come to view it (that is actually the study of paleontology) (Dr. Jones).
Archaeology, however, is actually the study of human cultures and societies of the past using material
remains (Dr. Jones). This definition gives us a clear idea of what archaeology as a whole is, but there
is still much debate among the public on what archaeology actually is.
With this in mind, many organizations have created media campaigns to try and educate
people about archaeology and its importance in today’s world. Most of these sites are about
specific areas in archaeology or about the excavation of a particular site. In order to receive
public funding, archaeologists must show why their research is important, and one of the best
ways to gain public backing is by using the most intriguing (or “sexy”) form of archaeology that
there is: underwater archaeology. Underwater archaeology is fascinating for many archaeological
reasons because of the amazing preservation that water affords. For the public, however, there is
always the mystique of possibly finding the lost city of Atlantis or something equally fascinating.
Therefore, it is often difficult for scientists to get across the cold, hard facts of a potential or
current site, but two organizations have done just that.
The first site, nps.gov, is an American made website created by the National Parks
service in partnership with the Southeast Archaeological Center. This site is one that displays
facts about many American finds and also about what researchers through the National Parks
Service are doing currently in this field. There is small mention about the beginnings of
underwater archaeology, but nothing incredibly descriptive. The second site, culture.gouv.fr, is
of French origins and also describes many underwater archaeology sites and the importance they
hold. Unlike the first site, this one contains a very descriptive history of underwater archaeology.
In my opinion, the French website is better than the American site because of the
information present, the application of the eight archaeological principles, and also the
aesthetic beauty displayed.
Information presented on both websites is eerily similar in straight comparison of the
intended audiences, reasons for creation, and information understandability, but the “devil lies in
the details” about why the French website is better. From the very beginning, it is very evident
that the intended audience for both websites is the general public. The homepage of both