University of Leicester
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Wiki on the Rocks – An investigation of Rock Art, Knowledge, and Authority in Wikipedia

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posted on 2022-05-23, 12:19 authored by Jeanette Gimmerstam

This thesis is about archaeological knowledge production on Wikipedia. Specifically, it considers who is responsible for the creation and dissemination of knowledge about rock art sites on Wikipedia, and the wider political implications of this. Wikipedia is an acknowledged resource of a general to highly specialist nature. Its role and usage have expanded hugely in recent years, yet academic consideration of its impact on the dissemination of archaeological knowledge is lacking. My focus is on Wikipedia articles about highly visited and well-known rock art World Heritage sites.

This thesis will use two methodologies: Content Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis, in order to gain a broad understanding of the content of twenty-three Wikipedia articles about rock art World Heritage sites; five case-studies will be subject to in-depth investigation. The aim of this thesis is three-fold; first, to highlight what kind of content is disseminated in the Wikipedia articles; second, who is responsible for knowledge production in the selected case studies; third, to consider the impact of how Wikipedia articles convey the nature and significance of these sites as both national and world heritage.

The results demonstrate that archaeologists would benefit from being more available and accessible online to a wider audience and that archaeologists should participate in discussions and debates online in order to create qualitative knowledge and prevent fake-science.



Sarah Scott; Anders Hansen

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Archaeology and Ancient History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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