Type of Work

Research Paper

Publication Date



Communities constantly produce and reinforce notions of cultural heritage in their expressions of identity and memory. Especially in rural communities, this process of engaging with heritage is deeply rooted in a landscape, embedded in how people experience connection with the landscape. Preservation of this heritage greatly influences senses of social, cultural, and historical identity at individual, community, and nation levels. As contexts that express a unique sense of place, rural traditional landscapes encounter threats to their heritage in the face of modern development, unemployment, and changing policies. In this paper, we explore the potential for community engagement rooted in archaeology and how it can play a role in sustainable development of rural landscapes. In particular, we present several ongoing projects focused on the prehistoric archaeology of rural landscapes in Alba County, Transylvania. Drawing on theories of placemaking, memory, and monumentality, this paper explores the strong connection between people and place over time as a justification for drawing upon archaeology to reimagine how communities engage with landscape in the present and future. We highlight the potential for community-based cultural heritage revitalization as a way to promote sustainable development in Transylvania’s rural landscapes. Knowledge of how people of the past engaged with landscape gives opportunity to reinterpret how people engage with landscape and their cultural heritage. As it is argued, projects geared towards sustainable cultural heritage preservation ignite cultural pride and encourage cultural expression, maintained through social memory creation and key economic opportunities and benefits across different scales. Ultimately, archaeology in concert with community-engaged cultural heritage outreach efforts can be useful to counterbalance urbanization and enhance investment in rural communities.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Winter Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Colin Quinn