(1) Overview


In the last forty years, various developments have rendered archaeology around the world increasingly aware of the socio-political and economic context within which it operates. One can refer to the human rights movement in postcolonial contexts and the emergence of fields such as public, indigenous and community archaeology, postprocessual archaeological theories influenced by postmodern theories, increased awareness of archaeological ethics expressed in professional codes of practice, research in archaeology and nationalism, as well as the influence of international charters and conventions regarding archaeological heritage management.

The above can be contrasted with Greek archaeology, which has been based on the academic elitism of foreign scholars and schools of archaeology since its beginning, and on the newly-founded state’s (1830) need to build a national identity. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] The dominant national narrative and the limitations of the Archaeological Service, the exclusive responsible authority, have constrained Greek archaeology. As a result the latter has barely followed a path of self-awareness and social reciprocity and has become less relevant to both the state and the people of Greece. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

This research project investigated the relationship between archaeology, as a discipline, a state authority as well as the remains of the past, and local communities through the examination of three case studies: the local community of Krenides, next to the archaeological site of Philippi and of Dikili Tash in Kavala, the local community of Dispilio, next to the archaeological site with the same name in Kastoria, in northern Greece, and the local community of Delphi, next to the archaeological site of Delphi in central Greece.

The project aimed to answer the following questions:

  1. What has the relationship between archaeology and local communities been in Greece in terms of its social, economic and political impact? How and why has this relationship developed?
  2. What are the public values of archaeology in Greece and how have they altered under the influence of socio-political and economic change?
  3. What are the current aims and the objectives of Greek archaeology as identified in the priorities of the Archaeological Service?
  4. What strategies might archaeology implement in Greece in order to reinforce its socio-political and economic role and become more reciprocal and relevant?

The ultimate question this research project raised is: ‘for whom is archaeology practiced in Greece?’ [11] The publication of this study as a monograph is underway. [12]

Spatial coverage

Description: Krenides, Prefecture of Kavala, Greece

Northern boundary: 41.029799/24.294073

Southern boundary: 41.008852/24.292488

Eastern boundary: 41.015988/24.313635

Western boundary: 41.011458/24.288978

Description: Dispilio, Prefecture of Kastoria, Greece

Northern boundary: 40.484633/21.288511

Southern boundary: 40.477713/21.288639

Eastern boundary: 40.480732/21.295527

Western boundary: 40.484001/21.284021

Description: Delphi, Prefecture of Phokida, Greece

Northern boundary: 38.48162/22.491428,

Southern boundary: 38.478059/22.494131

Eastern boundary: 38.477946/22.497645,

Western boundary: 38.480394/22.490784

Temporal coverage

Krenides: September 2007 and 2008

Dispilio: August 2008

Delphi: May 2009

Athens: December 2009

(2) Methods

Qualitative and quantitative data was collected from the local communities of Krenides (next to the archaeological sites of Philippi and of Dikili Tash, Kavala) and of Dispilio (next to the archaeological site of Dispilio, Kastoria) in northern Greece, and mainly quantitative data from the local community of Delphi in central Greece. Data collected but not used in the PhD thesis or the copyright of which does not belong to the author will not be included in this discussion (e.g. newspaper articles, etc.) All research for this project was conducted in Greek and all data was collected in Greek, with the exception of the questionnaire of one English-speaking participant.


Questionnaire surveys

Questionnaire surveys were conducted among the populations of the three local communities through structured interviews (98 in Krenides, 102 in Dispilio and 84 in Delphi). A pilot survey of 1% of the population of Krenides took place in September 2007. A shorter version of the preliminary questionnaire was finally adopted and used throughout the survey.

The questionnaire included both open-ended and closed questions and was divided into four parts: demographic data; perceptions of archaeology and its relevance to contemporary life; relationship with local archaeology and level of engagement with it’ and engagement with other local cultural stimuli. Demographic data included: gender; six age groups [13]; employment by sector [14] and groups for unemployed, undergraduate/graduate students, retired and housewives; education attainment in four groups and years of living in the local community into three groups. Finally, a grouping of visitor types was included according to similar research [15]. Similar research conducted in the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy and Greece was consulted and questions from them were intentionally incorporated so that the results are comparable. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] The data was analysed using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) 14 and 17.

Data is presented in its most raw form and in any other grouping that is used in the thesis for the purposes of running statistical tests with meaningful outcomes. Tables of metadata explain the content of each column included in the spreadsheets.

In-depth Interviews

Twenty-eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with archaeologists from the local and the central services of the Ministry of Culture, archaeologists from other institutions that conducted research in the areas, influential members of the local communities, such as mayors and other members of the municipal council, representatives of the church, members of research associations and educational centres. All interviews were conducted in person except for one, which was returned by email.

Interview scenarios were drafted according to each interviewee’s role. Interviews lasted for approximately one hour. Interviewees were given an information sheet and a copyright consent form at the beginning of the interview. Participants’ personal data have been retained under the provisions of the UK Data Protection Act. Descriptive qualifiers have replaced names and other biographical information have been removed for purposes of confidentiality where possible. Question marks in square brackets [?] indicate transcription gaps. Three full-stops in a row in square brackets […] indicate removal of irrelevant information or information that would allow the identification of the interviewee. Words in square brackets indicate replacement of mainly names by the researcher for the purpose of confidentiality. Only features relevant to the analysis have been disclosed. Initials refer to names of individuals whose role is deemed to fall outside the remits of this piece of research.

Concealment of the archaeological sites and the local communities was rejected because it was deemed that it would compromise the analytic potential of the case studies by rendering unusable a series of their features. Three interviews were recorded on an analogue cassette recorder and the rest by an Olympus DM 20 digital recorder. Recordings were downloaded and replayed over the Olympus DSS Player computer software and transcribed in Word documents. All qualitative data was analysed in Nvivo 7.

Documentary Data

Archival data from the Municipalities of Makednon and Philippi was also included.

Sampling strategy

Case Studies

The case studies were chosen because the author’s personal work experience indicated them to be appropriate for eliciting the topic of investigation. First, they represent all periods of ancient Greek history: Dispilio is a Neolithic site, Delphi is mainly dated to the Classical times and Philippi to the Roman and Early Christian ones. Their archaeological remains differ accordingly from less to more monumental ones, and the type of archaeology practiced ranges from theoretically informed archaeology to history of ancient art and architectural history. Consequently, their role as archaeological sites in Greek and world archaeology, in the national imagination and in domestic and international tourism, and the level of intervention by the archaeological service also vary. The above features additionally influence to a certain degree social, economic and political features of the local communities. Delphi was chosen for the additional reason of extending the scope of research in geographical terms to southern Greece, the older part of the modern state (northern Greece was annexed in 1912). Therefore, the three cases present contrasting characteristics and it was presumed that they would elicit a wide range of attitudes and perceptions and thus presented the project with unique potentials.

Questionnaire Surveys

Stratified random sampling was used on the basis of gender and age groups according to the population profile of the local communities from the last national census. [21] [13] Every second person that walked by after the end of an interview was approached. The survey was conducted in open public spaces at all times of the day in all three communities: streets, cafes, taxi stands, bars, supermarkets, produce markets, bus stops but also back roads. A strict geographical definition of a ‘local community’ was applied and so only people who lived in the modern settlement next to each archaeological site were included. Potential participants were approached by asking them the question whether they permanently lived in Dispilio, Krenides or Delphi accordingly. If they turned out to be members of the local community, the researcher went on to explain that she was a research student and that she was conducting a survey regarding the relationship of the local community with the archaeological site and the archaeologists for the purposes of her studies.

In-depth Interviews

Interviewees were selected according to the role they played in the local communities and in local and central management of archaeology.

Quality Control

This dataset was collected and produced by a single researcher. This has contributed to its consistency. Advice from experienced members of staff, especially in relation to quantitative research, was sought. The data and the research project as a whole has been through three reviews (first year review, upgrade, viva voce examination).


Questionnaire Surveys

A refusal rate was not recorded because its importance was underestimated at the beginning of the survey. However, it is the author’s conviction that local community members’ refusal rate was very low either because of the originality of and high interest in the survey (Delphi), according to participants’ own comments, or because the local communities were unaccustomed to the presence of a social researcher and willingly agreed to participate. It proved to be extremely difficult to include immigrants in all areas except for Delphi. Immigrants were approached in Krenides but refused to participate for reasons of understanding and expressing themselves in Greek.

(3) Dataset description

Object name

Study: Data from Archaeology for the People? Greek Archaeology and its Public: An Analysis of the Socio-Political and Economic Role of Archaeology in Greece



















































































Data type

Primary and secondary data

Format names and versions

Adobe Reader PDF, txt, csv

Creation dates

04/08/2008 – 09/12/2009

Dataset Creators

Anastasia Sakellariadi


Greek (interview transcripts) and Greek with English translation (questionnaires)



Repository location

DOI: 10.7910/DVN/27040

Publication date


(4) Reuse potential

This is the first dataset on public perceptions about the past, heritage and archaeology in local communities in Greece and the role of archaeology in such communities to be published. It is likely to be of use to anyone who is interested in public archaeology, heritage studies, heritage management or socio-anthropological and sociological research regarding perceptions about the past, heritage and archaeology in society today. It can also be referenced within broader research projects on the role of heritage and culture in society. Finally, it can be an excellent teaching tool for courses in public archaeology and heritage studies and in public archaeology/heritage studies research methods.

In addition, the methodology of this research project has unique reuse potential. Although interviews [7], ethnography [6] [9] [22] [23] [24] [25] and questionnaire surveys [8] [15] [16] [18] [19] [20] have been independently used in the investigation of public perceptions about the past, heritage and archaeology, their combination widens the scope of analysis. When they are independently applied, quantitative surveys only offer superficial understandings while qualitative methods lack representativeness and generalizability. When they are combined, general patterns identified and explained through population-wide quantitative surveys complement in-depth and nuanced understandings drawn from individual perspectives through qualitative methods. [17]

Therefore, although it might be challenging to fully replicate such a combined methodology and thus only partially possible, the greatest reuse potential of this dataset is the replication of the study in other contexts and its aggregation with other datasets that will allow for further comparative analysis to validate or not the results and for conclusions to be drawn at a greater scale. The potential for collaborations for further research in the field is indeed open.