The Interpretive Brochure

The Interpretive Brochure

Interpretive brochures are used by park rangers, state archaeologists, museum curators, and tribal governments to communicate with the public. Interpretive brochures are used for two important reasons: they convey important interpretive messages to various publics, and they enhance the public’s perceptions of recreation and tourism resource agencies and organizations.

In this assignment, you will assemble pictures, drawings, and text to create a tri-fold, 8.5 x 11, two-sided brochures. Illustrations can be copied out of books and magazine articles, downloaded from the web, be computer generated, or be hand drawn. Regardless of how the illustrations are generated, they should be neat and presentable, and appropriately credited (e.g. include the source of the image in parentheses at the end of the figure title). Please submit your brochure as a Word document (preferred) or a PDF.

Topics to Consider

Each of the following topics should be covered either by one or two sentences, or by a meaningful figure. Here are a set of guiding questions for each topic, but each of these questions does NOT need to be answered. The topic simply needs to be addressed.

a) Map. This figure should show the location of the site. In some cases, you may want to show the location on a world map as well as on a local map. Ask yourself how important was the topography and setting to the site.

 b) Chronology. What time period does your site belong to? What came before and after? What changes occurred during the use of the site? When was the site discovered?

c) Discovery and Methods. Who discovered the site? How was the site investigated? Was any advanced technology used or was the excavation standard for the period? 

d) Mobility and Population Density. What is known about how the inhabitants of your site organized themselves over space? Are there different kinds of settlements and special-use sites (such has hunting camps) in the surrounding area? What does the site look like? A map illustrating the layout of the site and labeling different structures or areas is ideal. What did their houses look like? Who lived in each house? How many people lived in each house?

e) Economy. How did the inhabitants of your site support themselves (foragers, horticulturalists, agriculturalists, pastoralists, industrialists)? What foods were traditionally eaten and at what times of year? How and where was this food collected? Were there any specific technologies or tools that were used by your cultural group for their specific subsistence techniques?

f) Technology. What was the range of common tools used at your site? How many of these tools were associated with subsistence? What, other than subsistence, were tools used for? What resources were needed to produce various types of tools, and how far did people have to travel to collect these resources? How much control over the environment did their technology allow them to have?    

g) Social Complexity. What can be said about the social organization of the people at your site?  Did they have leaders, chiefs, queens, respected elders? How was social inequality obtained (were people “born” into it, or was it achieved)? How was power maintained? What was the role of religion? What was the role of wealth? What was the role of kinship?

h) Significance of the Site. What did the site tell archaeologists that no other site had told them? Was it the fist, largest, oldest, or some other superlative? What do the current inhabitants or descendant community think of the site? Do their beliefs differ from those of archaeologists? Basically, why should a reader be excited about the site and why did I assign the site?

h) Something Unusual. Is there something particularly neat about your site or its inhabitants? Were son-in-laws and mother-in-laws never allowed to speak? Did they believe they could be reincarnated as a stink bug? What was their origin myth? Did they eat their neighbors? Choose one unusual thing that is unique to your site and discuss it.

Guidelines for Creating the Brochure

1) Keep in mind that the target audience for your brochure is the general public, so this brochure is the sort that would be available at a Ranger Station for hikers and campers, or at the Cultural Heritage Center, in the area of your site.

2) Create a good title for your brochure. The title does not have to be a complete sentence, but must convey your topic in a meaningful and preferably exciting manner.

3) Decide upon the main points that you wish to convey. Write the body of the brochure – at least three paragraphs of up to 60 words that address the topical issues listed above. Write a brief introduction and a conclusion that help carry the theme through your brochure. Include sub-titles to attract readers’ attention, and be sure that they are also thematic (instead of “Technology” you might use a subtitle such as “Breaking Rocks and Making Pots”). You may add bullets with additional information if it is appropriate to your site, in order to grab attention and better relate to your readers.

CAUTION:  Even though you are obtaining factual information from web pages or publications, be careful that you do not plagiarize. The text that you write for your brochure must be your original wording and phrases. Most on-line and published information is factual in nature, while your writing for this brochure will be informal and filled with your understanding of the topics. Since we are pretending that this brochure is being developed for actual tourist sites, use the real address or other factual information where appropriate, but do not take entire descriptive sentences from prior publications. If you have any doubt about what is appropriate, please ask!  You do have permission to use photos from the internet as long as you include the web address on the brochure.

 4) Develop a tri-fold brochure that is 8.5 inches tall and 11 inches wide, using both sides of the paper. Select graphics and other design elements that make your brochure attractive and easy to read. Be sure to include contact information/address, etc. CAUTION:  Do not leave the computer lay-out until the last minute, as every program seems to have annoying quirks related to moving photos, wrapping text, column layout, etc.  

5) Provide, on a separate piece of paper from your brochure, a “for further reading” list for those pesky tourists who always want more information. This bibliography need not be lengthy, but should include at least 5 sources other than your textbook. It should also include at least one published source (this includes JStor, EBSCO, and others available from the Library Databases) and only websites that have .edu or .gov extensions, or National Geographic or Archaeology Magazine. Published books are, of course, acceptable.

Possible Sites (I recommend Googling several of these before you pick one. These are all cool sites, but some will be more interesting to you than others):

Ohalo II

Abu Hureyra

Tepe Yahya


Uluburun Shipwreck

Great Zimbabwe



Metapontum (Italy)

Kenniff Cave








La Paloma



Fort Ancient

Craig Mound

Poverty Point

Pecos Pueblo

L’Anse aux Meadows

Emanuel Point shipwreck

African Burial Ground (Manhattan)

Palmares (Brazil)




Chichén Itza



Terror and Erebus shipwrecks



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