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Community archaeology

Community archaeology

Local initiatives are becoming increasingly popular around the world, providing opportunities to learn about the past at the micro-community level where appropriate. The method, called community archaeology, is based on the idea that archaeological work can be supported by citizen volunteers. The Sopron Museum has been running its Community Archaeology programme since 2018 with great success.

Community Archaeology Programme of the Sopron Museum
Our aim is to form active communities in the museum's collecting area, from Kapuvar to Sopron, from Csáfordjánosfa to Tőzeggyármajor, and to promote a better understanding of local history.

What opportunities does the programme offer?
The programme offers the opportunity to explore archaeological sites, participate in excavations and use metal detecting equipment.

 What are the conditions for joining the programme?
A basic condition is a clean criminal record and a clear indication of willingness to cooperate. As we spend long hours outside during our fieldwork (regardless of the weather), physical fitness is important. Our programme is open to able-bodied persons over the age of 18.

I just want to metal detecting, can I do that?
Under current legislation, metal detectors can only be used with the cooperation of a museum. Our institution is open to such cooperation, but under strict conditions. Applicants must complete a probationary period of at least 1 full calendar year, during which time they must demonstrate their determination through their activity and attitude. After that, a cooperation contract can be concluded if both parties consider that the conditions for cooperation are met. In order to use a metal detector in our Community Archaeology Programme, it is compulsory for the volunteer to have a hand-held GPS device capable of recording the trail and his/her own metal detector.

Are there digs specifically organized for community archaeology program participants?
Yes, we do such work.

I don't have a metal detector but would like to join. Is this possible?
Yes, it is possible to do so, but the nature of the programme is such that it focuses primarily on instrumental finds and site detection.

My children would like to be involved in field work. Is this possible?
For minors, this is only possible under the permanent supervision of a parent who has joined the programme.

I don't want to join, but I would like to know if there are archaeological sites on my property, field or pasture. Can you help me with this?
Our museum cannot give out information about archaeological sites. However, we would be happy to inspect the area in question free of charge.

Can I keep the finds I find during my research?
No, the finds are always kept in the museum, as they are the property of the Hungarian State.

How can I join the programme? What equipment do I need?
Joining the programme is always part of a longer process, which starts with a personal meeting with the programme leader (Dr. Attila Mrenka) to familiarise the candidate with the basic methodology. Regular attendance at the advertised events is then very important, as these are the occasions where the candidate is introduced to the basics of archaeology. To start with, a good pair of boots and a pair of trousers can be enough. Later on, the purchase of equipment will depend on the way in which you cooperate.

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