Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Let's celebrate British archaeology: Yorkshire Archaeological Journal

Festival of Archaeology runs
every year in July
As many of you may be aware, Britain is currently in the throes of the Festival of Archaeology which runs between Saturday 13th and Sunday 28th July and celebrates British archaeology with a whole host of events up and down the country. This varies from a tour of Leicestershire Museums archaeology collections to excavating Alderney’s Roman fort in the Channel Islands.

So in this spirit I wanted to showcase some of the best research in British archaeology that the Maney Publishing archive has to offer and this article from the latest issue of Yorkshire Archaeological Journal does just that. "The Development of Archaeological Thought as Evidenced in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal" was written by John Collins and explores the role of the YAJ not only as a journal of record, but also as an innovator in the development of archaeological ideas such as landscape archaeology, aerial photography and open-area archaeology, as well as more traditional approaches, for instance tackling historical questions such as the Roman conquest of Britain. It deals with the changes of paradigm which affected both the types of fieldwork carried out and nature of interpretation in both a British and a European context. With the work of Raistrick on landscape history and of Beresford on deserted medieval villages, its publications had an impact far beyond the boundaries of the county. The Yorkshire Archaeological Society (YAS) has also acted as a meeting ground for the various institutions which have engaged in archaeology in the county, both professional and amateur.

The following is an excerpt from its introduction:
"At several times in the last 200 years Yorkshire has been at the forefront, pioneering new ideas in Archaeology, but equally it has absorbed many innovations from outside, and, though these are many and varied, over the long term two major sources can be identified. The earlier of these was from Scandinavia, more specifically Denmark, though some of this came via London where there has always been a strong Yorkshire involvement in the Society of Antiquaries and other national bodies (Giles 2006). The other influence of long-term significance was the University of Cambridge, in theoretical ideas and in the important role played by its graduates, starting in the 1930s, though local universities have been playing an increasing role in the last thirty years.
The YAS was founded
in 1863
The society was founded in the immediate aftermath of one of the most fundamental upheavals in the history of science, with the publication of Charles Lyell’s The Principles of Geology in 1830 and Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859, and the rejection of the biblical date for the creation of the world around 4004 bc. The new paradigm envisaged an open-ended date for the appearance of the world and the arrival of human beings on its surface, so its impact was huge not only on religious beliefs but in Physical Anthropology, Archaeology and Philology."

>> Read the full article for free

>> Visit the Festival of Archaeology website

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