No nail-biting ticket lottery to get into our GlastonburyCHAT! – a virtual wristband is all you need to come through the gates of the Glastonbury Festival site to join Guerilla Archaeology‘s Jacqui Mulville and Barbara Brayshay on a journey to the Swan Circle, a monumental stone circle that was created on the festival site by Ivan McBeth in 1992. Here, though the night time, drummers are silenced and the flames of the fire extinguished by the cancellation of the 50th Anniversary festival, we will explore the lure of the Stones.
We ask if looking at the site through the lens of contemporary archaeology we could reveal a missing dimension in our understanding of stone circles – that of the people who go there and walk amongst the stones. What would we find as we bring the people and their voices into the space?
Our Swan Circle stories provide a fascinating window into the transmission of ideas and practices in the present and the past, an understanding of the wider views of ancient monuments and how festivals can develop their own sacred landscapes, rites and rituals that people are keen to enact and embellish. Just like our ancient ancestors at that mythical Stonehenge event people continue to find joy in great gatherings, fulfilment in the creation of meaning and legend, and a desire to connect and reflect, with the modern music festival providing the opportunity for this to occur.
Carolyn White (US)and members of the Burning Man community
Book talk on 30 October 17:00 EDT (21:00 GMT)
Each August cadres of staff and volunteers begin to construct Black Rock City, a temporary city located in the Black Rock Desert of northwestern Nevada, twelve miles north of Gerlach, Nevada, a town that greets visitors with a sign that reads “Welcome to Nowhere.” Every September tens of thousands of people travel to it, creating the sixth largest population center in the state of Nevada. By mid-September the city is fully dismantled, and by October the land on which the city lay is scrubbed of evidence of its existence. This city is the locus of the Burning Man Archaeology Project.
Carolyn White has been working as an anthropological archaeologist at Burning Man since 2006. She recently published a book on the project, The Archaeology of Burning Man: The Rise and Fall of Black Rock City. She will give a talk about her book and host a conversation with members of the Burning Man community, some of whom are featured in the book. In the forum we will discuss the work presented in the book, the reaction of the Burner community to contemporary archaeology, the experience of being a subject of study, and reflect on the archaeological recording of a the temporary city. This event will be on Zoom.