During the NEARCH project, Polish team organised various activities, many of which focused on the role of archaeology for and in the society, as well as the need to build awareness of the importance of heritage among people. Therefore, we organized two exhibitions presenting heritage that was hidden in Polish forests. One of them was titled: “The past has not ended yet but is still with us. Archaeological heritage of the Bobolice region” and it aimed to present the unknown heritage of the northern part of Poland in a broader social and scientific context. The next exhibition, entitled “Between memory and oblivion: the archaeology of the First World War prisoners of war camp in Czersk” presented the non-invasive research on the prisoners of war camp from the First World War located in the woodlands of today’s Czersk village. It was the first project which focused on the research of the POW camp in Poland and which aimed at cooperation with the local communities from its very early stages.
Another important outcome of the NEARCH project in Poland was the interdisciplinary conference “Heritage in the contemporary world” that was held in 19-20th October 2017 at the Department of History of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. The conference proposed the multidisciplinary approaches to heritage. Its aim was to gather scientists and professionals working in heritage sector from the whole Poland to create a new background for heritage management, teaching and popularisation among the public and academic world.
The conference responded to the A activity “Archaeology for the community: informing and involving people” of the NEARCH project which focuses on the public understanding and outreach of archaeology and heritage sector. By putting special attention to the subjects connected to the ways in which heritage may be presented to people, on the strategies of engaging communities in heritage managements, as well as on the strategies which archaeologists and other professionals undertake to gain a wider public, the conference was the next step to sensitize the academics and professionals to their role in raising the awareness of the heritage values among the Polish society. The conference was opened to the representatives of various associations and communities, which are interested in heritage protection; therefore, it created a place for a transfer of ideas for future practice in a socially engaged archaeology.
Moreover, at the conference there were presented new strategies of using archaeological heritage that were undertaken by local communities, authorities and market sector and which influenced the economic and sustainable development of the region. Therefore, it zeroed in on the ways in which heritage has its value for sustainable development of various regions, especially those still underdeveloped. This aim of the conference was also strictly connected to the activity D “Archaeology in a changing economy: towards sustainability” that is developed by the NEARCH project.
The conference will be summed up in the publication in a form of book. This publication comprises of the most interesting and important articles written by the conference participants, it will be a significant step for presenting new strategies for developing archaeological heritage sector in Poland.
(Instytut Archeologii - Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu)