Capturing the impacts of archaeology for development: Opportunities and challenges in evaluating the sustainable preservation initiative in Peru

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Archaeology and heritage projects can have profound social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts on the development of communities. Yet, their impacts are rarely articulated or measured in development terms, to the detriment of their accountability, sustainability and replicability.

This article explores the potential for a more systematic evaluation of these impacts through the case study of the Sustainable Preservation Initiative (SPI) and their evaluation strategies in Peru. Informed by an evaluability assessment framework, this study highlights the practical challenges in evaluating small-scale projects in the Global South and the scope for overcoming them, appraising how SPI’s contribution to local development can be measured in practice. Development evaluation methods are measured against the practical concerns expressed by project staff and participants.

The article reflects on the importance of evaluating the wide-ranging development impacts of archaeology and heritage projects and concludes with practical suggestions for documenting these multifaceted impacts and for further comparative research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-180
Number of pages20
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2021


  • Archaeology
  • heritage
  • evaluability assessment
  • small-n evaluation
  • impact
  • Peru

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