Learning from Las Vegas: Archaeology in the Experience Economy

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperSpecialist publication article


Archaeology has become a potent element in themed environments that abound in contemporary popular culture. This short article reviews the archaeological motifs that can be found in environments such as Disneyland and on the Las Vegas Strip. They provide a set of imagery to which people can easily relate and that immerses them in a world different from the normal routines and restrictions of everyday life. Archaeology provides experiences that relate very closely to people’s fantasies, dreams, and desires. I argue that in the emerging “Experience Economy,” archaeologists need to ask what kind of experiences they can offer to society. My conclusion is that professional archaeologists have more to learn from Las Vegas than they have to fear it.


  • Cornelius Holtorf
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • Disneyland, theming, Archaeology, Experience Economy, Las Vegas
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Specialist publication or newspaperThe SAA Archaeological Record
PublisherSociety for American Archaeology
StatePublished - 2007
Publication categoryPopular science
Externally publishedYes