Archaeological sites opened to the public, and especially those highly photogenic sites that have achieved iconic status, are often major tourist attractions. By opening an archaeological site to tourism, threats and opportunities will emerge.The threats are to the archaeological record, the pre-historic or historic materials in context at the site that can provide facts about human history and the human relationship to the environment. The opportunities are to share what can be learned at archaeological sites and how it can be learned. The latter is important because doing so can build a public constituency for archaeology that appreciates and will support the potential of archaeology to contribute to conversations about contemporary issues, such as the root causes and possible solutions to conflict among humans and the social implications of environmental degradation.
In this volume we will consider factors that render effective management of archaeological sites open to the public feasible, and therefore sustainable. We approach this in two ways: The first is by presenting some promising ways to assess and enhance the feasibility of establishing effective management. Assessing feasibility involves examining tourism potential, which must consider the demographic sectors from which visitors to the site are drawn or might be in the future, identifying preservation issues associated with hosting visitors from the various demographic sectors, and the possibility and means by which local communities might be engaged in identifying issues and generating long-term support for effective management. The second part of the book will provide brief case studies of places and ways in which the feasibility of sustainable management has been improved.