The Drift of Time: Enjambment as an Alternative Archaeological Conception of Time

Cassie Gordon (Australia)

Daily blog posts at 08:30 BST/GMT during the festival

While archaeology is essentially a time-centric field, scarcely as archaeologist’s do we turn our lenses inward and interrogate the ways in which we perceive and project our own concepts of time. It is crucial in our discipline that we challenge the pedagogic and institutionalised preference for periodization and absolutism when it comes to interpreting and writing the past. I propose that we instead adopt innovative paths and patterns counter to our ordinary, ensconced views on time. By employing concepts of literary theory—like end-stopping and enjambment—I intend to use poetic expression, accompanied by visual art, as a means to demonstrate the superfluousness of some of our current conceptions of time in archaeology.

This will be explored by a series of blog posts each day during festival CHAT, starting on the 23 October, launched at 8:30 BST.

Click hear to read the Drift of Time series introduction.

Friday 23/10 The Asymmetry of Time

Saturday 24/10 Time’s Arrow: End-Stopping

Sunday 25/10 Time’s Arrow: The Law of Impermanence

Monday 26/10 Pompeii Premise: Still Life

Tuesday 27/10 Palimpsests: Collection

Wednesday 28/10 Palimpsests: Double Exposure

Thursday 29/10 Time Perspectivism: Pointilism

Friday 30/10 Alternative Conceptualisation: Enjambment

Activist/ Researcher/ Insider/ Outsider: A conversation about fields of work

Vanicka Arora (India, Australia, Nepal), Iida Käyhkö (Finland,UK, Kurdistan), Sarah De Nardi (Italy, Australia, Pakistan)

What if heritage isn’t so much about things, but more about the things we say and do to each other?

What roles do we play in (mis)translating, (mis)representing and (mis)communicating heritage and how might we negotiate these roles?

Who shapes our research agendas and what roles do language play in framing newer understandings of heritage?

What perspectives does working with women as a woman bring to our work? 

An Ongoing Conversation

We attempt to connect multiple threads of ongoing conversations on decolonising heritage, its interpretations and how heritage practices are translated and transformed in different contexts. Referring to our own experiences as activists, researchers, insiders, and outsiders to the ‘field of study’, we put forth a conversation that is not quite linear — because research is rarely linear. We look back to our past experiences in Pakistan, Nepal, UK, Australia, Italy, Finland and Kurdistan, interrogating our own position within our chosen sites of intervention.

We use a virtual pin-board of ideas (a Padlet), images and sometimes unfinished arguments, hoping to draw and redraw new connections within and beyond our research in an ever-widening quest for multiplicity of voice. A conversation across time zones and field sites, this is a dialogue through images, sounds and words. We welcome your thoughts and ‘pins’ and invite you to start discovering new connections of your own!

Join the Conversation!

Add your own stories, thoughts and responses to our queries in any of these formats-

On Padlet

Made with Padlet

Add a story by simply clicking on the + button on the padlet. You can add text, images, even a video if you like! You can also add comments to our pins on the padlet and respond to our themes and discussion.

Your posts will be updated and shared via festivalCHAT. Feel free to circulate this as far and wide as you like.

You can post without logging in or signing up with the Padlet- or create your free account!

We will be moderating the Padlet through the festival and it will remain live for a month afterwards.

On Twitter

We will be posting content from the Padlet with the Twitter hashtags #festivalCHAT2020 #HeritageConversations

You can join in the conversation by simply replying to Tweets with your own thoughts and provocations.

Follow us on @VanickaA, @denardi77 and @iidaest

On You Tube

We had an impromptu chat about the Padlet which we have recorded where we go into depth about our observations and experiences and how they inform and transform us. Feel free to leave comments and we will get back to you!


You can also email us with further questions or thoughts:,,


These activities are publicly accessible and hosted online for the duration of festivalCHAT and for up to three months after.

You are free to delete your content at any time or alter your content.

You are free to post anonymously or use your name and affiliation, however these will be publicly displayed along with your content

Please read Padlet policies here

All content you share will be stored on Padlet’s and will be accessible to anyone with the supplied link.

Please only post content that you have the rights to use or share – please do not post copyrighted material.


Going over old ground: Tracking and modelling landscape change through time with GIS

Greg Hill (Australia)

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.

La Trobe Archaeology Videos for festivalCHAT.

Twitter: @Greg_Hil_

“A Large and General Assortment”: Shopping at London and Paris House, Christchurch.

Jessie Garland (Australia)

A huge array of artefacts were found on the site of London and Paris House, an 1860s-1870s fancy goods store in Christchurch, in 2017. The assemblage contains a fascinating array of objects not often seen in the domestic archaeological record and provides a rare window into the material culture of a retail space, a commercial perspective on shopping and consumer choice. It is also one of the case studies from my thesis, which looks at the availability and use of goods in nineteenth-century Christchurch, New Zealand, particularly how much control people had over their shopping choices and how much was shaped by the cultural and economic worlds in which they lived.

La Trobe Archaeology Videos for festivalCHAT.


Meta ’Matta

Sophie Jennings (Australia)

Parramatta, derived from the Aboriginal place name ‘Burramatta’, is being developed as Greater Sydney’s second city, paralleling its origins as the second settlement established by Europeans in 1788. As the old makes way for the new, so archaeologists have been uncovering the recent and not-so-recent past. 

Meta ’Matta is foremost a personal exploration of doing archaeology in Parramatta over the past four years. Field archaeology is a constant process of interpretation and with this work I seek to reflect on the feelings and experiences that are peripheral but integral to the daily experience of practicing archaeology. It is recollections of commuting, coffee, food and booze. It is a showcase of Parramatta as it is now – midway through its transformation. It will also include an exploration of archaeological interpretation – the city’s past on display for its future. 

Click here to read the Meta ‘Matta blog post

Instagram: @metamatta

Gold Rush Archaeology and Environmental Crises

Susan Lawrence (Australia)

The global gold rush of the mid-nineteenth century is the stuff of legend and romantic nostalgia. It was also a time of unprecedented environmental crises. Archaeological research in Victoria, Australia, has uncovered new evidence of a forgotten catastrophe. Thick layers of alluvium on floodplains are the consequence of unregulated dumping of industrial waste and rivers that ran thick with sludge for two generations. The story of how it got there and what was done to stop it is a lesson of hope, persistence, and the triumph of community activism.

La Trobe Archaeology Videos for festivalCHAT.

Instagram: @drpastplaces

Atlas Everyday X

Ursula Frederick (Australia)

We have all seen the arrows, X’s, dots and dashes springing up at our feet. These X’s and other notations are cautionary signs intended to advise where we should and should not be. Besides their everyday aesthetics of simplicity and improvisation, their sheer proliferation is hard to miss. Like some strange local positioning system or mark of a new situational awareness that we all need to adopt. Over time, some of them peel away or wear off as if to suggest things might soon return to ‘normal’, whatever that was. One day they will be gone – but the uncertainty of when remains their persistent subtext.

Atlas Everyday X is a photographic project recording the everyday archaeological ephemera of the COVID experience through a focus on social distancing floor-marks. Reflecting on how our encounters are shaped by new negotiations around space and bodily engagement, it is also expected
to provide an opportunity for us to come together virtually and share our current experience. Part contemporary archaeology, part collaborative artwork, and part ongoing research into inscription practices, the Atlas invites us to reframe the signs of staying apart into a different way to connect.

Participants are invited to contribute their photographs of these notations and gestures via Direct Messenger to a dedicated Instagram account @atlas_everydayx for the duration of festivalCHAT (and beyond if interest and intrigue prevail). Along with the image, the Atlas asks for a brief description of the location (e.g. a café near Trafalgar Square, London, UK) and a note as to whether the photographer prefers to remain anonymous or to have their @ handle identified in any public post/display. By submitting images participants agree to the fact that it may be shared as a post on the Atlas Everyday X Instagram account. Images will be selected and featured in daily updates alongside the curator’s images of this phenomena.

The project responds to the global experiences of social distancing – and how digital media has sought to circumvent the restraints on movement and interpersonal contact. Depending on the uptake and submissions offered, a curated lo-fi publication of the Atlas may eventuate.

Instagram: direct message to @atlas_everydayx

Hashtags: #festivalchat2020 #atlas_everydayx