Popular Notions of Archaeology in Documentary Programmes on Australian Television OUT OF THE BOX :
Popular representations of archaeology are investigated through a content analysis study of documentary programmes screened on Australian free-to-air television. Although public opinion survey research suggests that mass media, particularly television, are one of the major ways in which the Australian public encounters archaeology, no systematic investigation of the archaeological content appearing on Australian television has previously been undertaken. The results of the study show that the archaeo-historical documentary genre reinforces and perpetuates many familiar archaeological stereotypes and that Australian archaeology rarely, if ever, features in these programmes. The implications for Australian archaeology are discussed and potential strategies for engaging mass media in a public archaeology context are considered.