Crowdfunding is a growing trend; many websites offer budding artists and entrepreneurs the opportunity to get the general public contribute to their next project. One great success (which I supported) is the Albatross bookmark, which raised over $45,000 with a goal of only $3,000. Amazing! When we attempted to crowdfund for SVG Digs, however, we were a little less than successful. Reaching over 80% of our goal was fantastic, but the majority of those funds came from family and close friends. And this was for a site that was under immediate threat, with the rarest of archaeological remains for the island of St. Vincent, as well as the Caribbean, that will help to rewrite their prehistory. So, the question remains, “How do you get the general public to crowdfund for archaeology?”
(Photo of Flag Fen from DigVentures)
DigVentures might have the answer. Their first project will attempt to rescue and record the iconic site of Flag Fen. According to Project Director, Brendon Wilkins, “…[Flag Fen] occupies a place in British public consciousness like no other. It is the Stonehenge of the Bronze Age, and only 1.5% of the overall monument has actually been excavated.” Under threat by degradation, dewatering and drying out, Flag Fen will not survive like other buried sites would. Experts believe it only has a few decades at most, which means this project needs funding asap. Can crowdsourcing help?
Wilkins believes that the motivating factor behind crowdsourcing for archaeology is in actual participation. That is, come and dig and experience archaeology for yourself! Alternatively, have exclusive access to their Site Hut, and participate on their digital platform. Currently, DigVentures is at almost 40% of their goal, with all money slated for the project itself (digging, specialist assessment, and a 5-year research design)… and there are only 31 days left. So go and dig, at least dig virtually. Plus, you get archaeology swag (always a plus) and, if you are on the British isle, you can go to their end of site party! Do it. You know you wanna.