Engaging Local Perspectives for an Inclusive Archaeology: The Pros and Cons of Research in Halin

Independent Scholar, Myanmar

When an ancient archaeological site has been established, archaeological works such as excavations, preservations and conservations have to be done in this place by the archaeologists involved. When sites that are located near modern settlements are excavated and preserved according to archaeological guidelines, the work unquestionably affects the locals. While archaeological work is being done at or near a modern community, there are many consequences for the ancient sites and the local people alike. There have already been various surveys by archaeologists of the positive effects and negative effects of work done in ancient sites by locals, offering examples of differing benefits and drawbacks. The character of the local people plays a vital role in the preservation of the archaeological site as a heritage site. Locals are the experts in their areas of residence, as they have local knowledge that archaeologists can learn by interacting with their environments, resource management, culture, and people. While it is important to do archaeological work to preserve ancient sites, it is just as important to not harm the community living in the area. Archaeologists need to be transparent with the locals, because without good relationships with locals, effective research cannot be done. The Ancient city of Halin is a key World Heritage Site that is close to a modern community, and considerable archaeological work has been undertaken in this old city. In this paper, the positive effects and negative effects of archaeological works on the local people of Halin will be analyzed. By understanding and incorporating the perspectives of the local in archaeological work, we can build more inclusive and effective systems that can benefit both sides.