The Netherlands – settlement research and community archaeology to date

Research context:

A recent study of Dutch village formation (Verspay et al 2017) highlighted the importance of systematically studying the built environment of villages to understand the processes leading to village formation but recognised that good archaeological data from CORS are generally lacking. There is interest in the biography of landscape approach to the long-term history of places, drawing on disciplines including history, archaeology, geology, historical geography, toponomy and folklore (Kolen 2004; Bleomers et al 2010; Van Londen 2016). This approach offers a platform for developing co-created narratives, contributing to shared notions, identities, social cohesion and place-making in which experts become mediators in heritage education or planning contexts (Van Londen 2016). The proposed research will further the methodology for co-created local narratives.

In the Netherlands community archaeology is slowly entering heritage practice, but mainly with an emphasis on activities for and with the general public, not so much by the public. The Netherlands have a predominantly authorised heritage debate, dominated by experts and policy makers. Participatory action research (PAR) in which members of rural communities are involved in building new inclusive narratives will be innovative and contribute to place making, tourism and place branding.

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