Community engagement at Ali Altab Park, London

Community archaeology at Altab Ali Park

Client: 
muf architecture
Date: 
2010-2011

We were invited by muf architecture/art to lead a community archaeology project on the site of Altab Ali Park, in Whitechapel, as part of the Highway 2012 programme. The proposed improvement works to the park had archaeological impact, so we looked at ways of bringing out historical aspects of the London 2012 route and also means of getting the community involved in the discovering of their local history.

“When I saw the church walls come out the ground and understood how each object we found tells a tale about the way people lived it made me wonder at the bigger story and how I am part of that too." Pupil from Mulberry School

In collaboration with muf, we transformed Altab Ali Park into a temporary open-air museum and archaeological dig. Local school children and volunteers assisted in the excavation, while many local residents brought personal objects to the site to display alongside the finds. We reached a wide audience by arranging coverage in the local media, and publishing articles on our website. The project resonated with the community, with hundreds of people visiting over a period of just one week. The focus on local heritage served to engage members of the public who had no previous knowledge of archaeology.