In 2019 Scottish archaeologists, anthropologists, artists, heritage sector practitioners and students disorganised in four workshops to explore contemporary archaeology in Scotland. The participants were provided with notebooks to chart their workshop journeys in writing, drawing, photographs, paste-ups and collages. This is an exposition of those workshops, presented in a non-linear manner with no coherent thread. We have no idea what will be presented. We don’t care if it’s complex: we embrace chaos, disruption and incoherence!
Archaeological landscapes are not static entities. Natural and cultural processes such as erosion, sea level rise, mining, and urban development are constantly reshaping the world around us. This has implications for the way we manage, excavate, and interpret the archaeological record. Through the use of historical maps, aerial imagery, and modern mapping software it is possible track how landscapes have changed through time. This talk will provide some examples of this analysis both from Victoria, Australia, and New Zealand.
Our vlog shows how you can still research the world when confined to your home or neighbourhood. Within 200 yards of our home we can zoom out from tiny personal knowledge, to broader natural disasters, and world events. We start in our home and talk about its history, show how high the water came during the flood of 1953 according to the stories of our late neighbour, then connect and walk to the monument around the corner remembering the fire line (brandgrens) in Rotterdam of May 1940. It shows how the bombardement in Rotterdam, which led to the surrender of The Netherlands, can be found in the buildings, urban myths and official commemoration.
This Twitter thread examines a series of University students’ maps of the COVID landscape. We focus on mechanisms of retreat in quarantine and the ways students are creating new forms of social place. The students’ maps illuminate the experience of online education and new forms of digital and spatial socializing that negotiate isolation and anxiety while fabricating new forms of place.
This photo-essay-via-Twitter-thread considers field survey notebooks and hand drawn survey unit images from the Sinis Archaeological Project in Sardinia as art/art objects. Archaeological survey data, the finds and find counts themselves, are collected in and from the fields represented by the sketches and then stored in the notebooks before being transferred to a more official and permanent repository, whether as graphite/ink on paper or bits on a disk. The field sketches may be referenced during the process of working on the project’s GIS, but by and large they exist primarily as last-ditch backups and failsafes; they are created but then languish, unused and potentially forgotten in attics, basements, or storage.
These notebooks are by their nature art objects (as opposed to archive objects), composites preserving not only the imprints of pencil and pen but also (potentially) dirt, sweat, sunscreen, blood, and plant matter. The hand-drawn maps showcase a wide variety of artistic skill, and the variations provide an intriguing window onto understandings of spatial relationships and individual artists’ informational priorities. The notebooks, while broadly consistent in terms of categorization and physical size, demonstrate a wide range of organizational and use strategies, with project members prioritizing compactness, thoroughness, whimsy, or some combination thereof.
Such creations are integral to the quasi-nomadic process of archaeological fieldwork; they are collections of preserved artistic fragments, creative engagements with fields and find counts.
This Twitter thread is devoted to our collaborative work on how COVID-19 has altered the ways we encounter our material world. We will take attendees on an audio and visual tour of materiality and alterations to landscapes documented in the project collaborators’ communities and home countries across the United States and Chile. To interpret this data, we draw upon theoretical frameworks in the fields of collective memory, trauma studies, and psychogeography. The data include yard signs, chalk art, flyers, and other forms of artwork as well as public signage and material changes in how people navigate their communities (e.g. lockdowns, tracking people’s movements, etc.). We explore how these phenomena engaged notions of home, shelter, space, comfort, and community. The project collaborators will also reflect upon how we have used archaeological and anthropological methodologies of documenting and observing as a way of coping with the stress, uncertainty, and trauma of a global pandemic. A core approach to our work has been the recognition that we, too, are each part of the communities experiencing this trauma. Our analysis necessarily includes our own movements through emotional and physical space.
Festivals are time for celebrations and celebrations imply friends, food, drink and inevitable visits to the loo. 2020 did not allow us to go to many festivals thus we had to visit different toilets and since we pass a lot of time in universities these are the ones we will show in this Twitter thread. People express feelings, doubts, and share poetry, or even suicidal and political messages. In Portugal toilets are separated between male and female which confers a strong gender identity to these messages written by students, professors, and researchers in different languages. We will try to do an archaeological interpretation of all this evidence revealing the feelings and opinions of the people from two distinct academic institutions.
Film premiere and Q&A Sunday 25 October 20.00-21.30 GMT
Prospection is an annual multi-disciplinary survey of the recent inhabitation of North West Cambridge (aka ”Eddington”), planned to take place from 2015 until 2040. Join the project directors for the world premiere and a post-screening Q&A of short films documenting the first five years of this new community.
Prospection aims to follow the evolution of Eddington from its inception onwards through its first quarter century. Each year artists Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope invite a varying team of Prospectors drawn from the arts, sociology and archaeology to visit the site for two days and to make records of the place and its people in any way they see fit. The archive of original records – analogue and digital – is collated each year by the artists and placed in a new ‘finds box’ which is deposited with Cambridgeshire Archives for anyone to access and study, in perpetuity.
As their annual contribution, Karen and Nina make a short film, shot over one day and looking at the changing development through the eyes of one person living or working there. With five of these films now complete, this is a unique opportunity to see them all for the first time.
Following the screening the artists will host a directors Q&A on Zoom and welcome questions and feedback. The event will be recorded for this year’s ‘finds box’.
More information about Prospection (including its original manifesto) can be found here:
Book tickets here. Registration ends 12.00 GMT Sunday 25 October.
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.