Monday, 28 October 2013

Register Now! CHAT 2013 ‘Experience’, London, 8th-10th of November 2013

Register Now! CHAT 2013 ‘Experience’, London, 8th-10th of November 2013
The 11th Annual Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory (CHAT) Conference will be held at University College London from the 8th-10th of November 2013. Hosted by UCL Institute of Archaeology and jointly organised by UCL Institute of Archaeology and Atkins, the international conference will explore the experience of archaeology and the archaeology of experience in the present and recent historical past.
The conference will present a wide range of innovative new research on contemporary and historical archaeology, heritage and museum studies, as well as film screenings and artworks, to a broad interdisciplinary and international audience. A preliminary conference programme is available on the CHAT website.
‘Experience’ represents a significant concern across a wide variety of academic disciplines. We might think of the importance of ‘experience’ to sociological studies of everyday life; it’s central position as a concept within phenomenological approaches to landscapes and the past; the emphasis on the lifeworld in ontological perspectivism and the ‘new’ materialism; the role of experience within certain spiritual and intellectual traditions; the focus on emotional experience in studies of affect; the place of experience in the study of craft and in ethnoarchaeology; and the role of experience within contemporary educational pedagogy.
‘Experience’ is central to studies of modernity, which emphasise the peculiarity of the experience of progress, speed, time and place it produces. In The Experience Economy, Pine and Gilmore argued for a late modern shift from a service-based economy to an experience-based one: goods and services come to be valued not so much for their function, but in terms of their engagement of the senses and the experiences that surround their purchase and use. It could be argued that this experience economy is simply a reflection of a broader experience society in which there has been a shift in focus from ‘exhibition’ to ‘experience’, from the ocular to the embodied, in relation to processes of consumption, learning, knowing and ‘being’.
Increasingly, ‘experience’ determines the viability of heritage sites and dictates their interpretation: the contemporary heritage landscape—heritage-themed destinations, heritage-led regeneration and branding of place through the enlisting of ‘the past’—explicitly reflects a new concern with experience. In doing so, it exposes major differences in philosophies and taste amongst ‘professionals’ (archaeologists, architects, public historians, heritage managers) and the public. The practice of engaging with and ‘capturing’ oral history, which we might think of as memories of experience, plays an important role in contemporary archaeological narrative. Recent ethnographies of archaeological practice have similarly emphasised the experience of archaeology and its accompanying field and laboratory practices in understanding its history as an academic discipline.
Registration for the conference is now open. Fees of £40 for waged participants and £20 for unwaged participants will be used to cover the cost of room hire, tea/coffee, refreshments and lunches. Payments may be made using a credit or debit card. Participants should register in advance of the conference by following the link on the conference website.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Digging Deeper: Ychsma textiles from a Late Horizon burial at Armatambo

For this month's Digging Deeper we are travelling to South America, specifically Peru, to learn about the Ychsma textile style during the Late Horizon. An excavation in 1982 at Armatambo provided the basis for describing the Ychsma textile style during this period and is the subject of the most popular article in the Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of Andean Archaeology online archive, 'Ychsma textiles from a Late Horizon burial at Armatambo' by Mary Frame, Francisco Vallejo, Mario Ruales, and Walter Tosso. The textile data (types of garments, images, design lay-out, fibers, fabric structures, yarn spin, colors, etc.) are extensive enough to distinguish many types of Ychsma-style garments from those of other styles, and to identify similar textiles in museum collections.

The valleys of the Rímac and Lurín rivers were inhabited by the Ychsma polity prior to the Inca and they are known for having built some 40 pyramids associated to the irrigation system of the valleys. They are not known, unfortunately, for their textile style "due to the intensive looting of archaeological sites during the past five centuries".

"Ethnohistoric sources indicate that the señorío of Ychsma occupied the lower and middle sections of the Rimac and Lurín Valleys of coastal Peru during the Late Intermediate Period and Late Horizon. According to Rostworowski (1990), the sub-groups that comprised the señorío shared a common language or dialect and mythical origin, as well as a shared style of dress. In 1982, just ahead of the bulldozer, three of the co-authors of the present article excavated a tomb that contained many fancy textiles in the local style. This important context provides a basis for describing the elite Ychsma textile style during the Late Horizon...burial contexts with concentrations of textiles in the elite local style are rare."

"Textiles recovered by archaeologists in the course of
long-term excavation projects at Pachacamac include plain and checked textiles from a Late Intermediate Period burial, as well as more elaborate textiles that have been identified as Ychsma. The published textiles provide useful data on fibers, colors, and structures of specific Ychsma textiles, but the small number of examples gives a limited picture of the style. Attempts to separate Ychsma textiles without provenience (sometimes referred to as “Rimac” or “Pachacamac” style) from other styles have highlighted certain distinctive types of textiles, such as cotton tapestries, but again, the picture of the style is far from complete."

 >> Read the full article for free

Friday, 11 October 2013

Why did the chicken cross the road? Archaeologists are about to find out...

You may have noticed there's been a lot of news concerning chickens lately, and it's for a good reason. A new research project looking at the history of chickens is hoping to shed light on how the relationship between people and chickens has developed over the last 8,000 years. The project will see researchers dive into archaeological records to investigate the history of the world’s most widely established livestock species, which is descended from the wild jungle fowl of South-East Asia.
The project will also investigate the ancient and modern cultural significance of the birds in, for example, religious rituals and cockfighting. Research will include metrical and DNA analysis of modern and ancient chicken bones to trace the development of different breeds. The results of the research will form the basis of a series of exhibitions in museums and other venues throughout the UK making up ‘The Chicken Trail’ that will tell the story of the chicken’s domestication in Europe and there are also plans to display some of the research findings in butcher shops. The project, entitled “Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions”, was made possible with the help of a £1.94 million grant from the AHRC under the Science In Culture Awards Large Grants call. The project will also involve collaboration with academic colleagues across Europe and with poultry breeders and other interested members of the public.

Researchers from Bournemouth University, as well as the Universities of Durham, Nottingham, Leicester, Roehampton and York, will be examining when and how rapidly domesticated chickens spread across Europe and the history of their exploitation for meat and eggs. Bournemouth University is also offering two fully-funded PhD studentships on the subject - 'The Ecology of Chickens Past and Present' and 'Chickens and Archaeological Material Culture'.

These studentships are two of nine that are associated with the Cultural and Scientific Perception of Human-Chicken Interactions Project. This project is largely funded by the AHRC Science in Culture Large Grants scheme but, in addition, seven PhD studentships have been fully funded by four of the six universities involved in the project.

For further details of the projects and how to apply visit the Bournemouth University Graduate School website.  

Friday, 4 October 2013

NEW EVENT: American Anthropological Association 112th Annual Meeting

The 112th AAA Annual meeting will be held at the Chicago Hilton November 20-24, 2013 in Chicago IL. The 2013 annual meeting theme is Future Publics, Current Engagements. The annual meeting starts on Wednesday November 20 at noon and continues through Sunday November 24.

Join the AAA to present your work, exchange ideas and network with colleagues from around the globe. Historically the AAA Annual Meeting has approximately 800 scholarly sessions, 200 special events, and 60 exhibitors.

The 2013 annual meeting theme Future Publics, Current Engagements invites discussions about how anthropological theory and method can provide insight into the human past and emerging future. Anthropologists have long been engaged with diverse publics and with other social sciences. The influence of anthropological methods, concepts and research is growing, as witnessed by the fact that over half of us are now employed outside the academy. Our journals are experimenting with new formats to link research to contemporary concerns. We engage with rapidly changing media technologies to reach diverse audiences and explore different pathways to activism, collaboration, and scholarship. By locating the human at the center of its inquiry, anthropology through all of its fields provide crucial methodological and political insights for other disciplines.

The 2013 annual meeting is dedicated to examining our efforts to transform our disciplinary identity and capacity in terms of knowledge production and relevance in a world of radical change. What is the nature of anthropological knowledge in a world of heterogeneity, interconnectivity and risk? How can we rethink collaborations beyond the categories of researcher/subject, expert/lay, or anthropologist/other? How can we fruitfully participate in interdisciplinary exchanges and projects that engage big questions? How do we nurture and support younger scholars who are struggling to expand the questions and parameters that define the field for a new century? How do ethical considerations shape the practice but also the substance of our scholarship in an imperiled world?

We are at a historical moment when there is healthy interdisciplinary dialogue about theory and method and a search for effective methods for studying globalized futures. Anthropology can take a lead in confronting questions of the human, culture and life itself that engages many disciplines.

Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) is the world's largest organization of individuals interested in anthropology. Although there were several other American anthropological societies in existence at the turn of the 20th century, this new, national organization was formed "to promote the science of anthropology, to stimulate and coordinate the efforts of American anthropologists, to foster local and other societies devoted to anthropology, to serve as a bond among American anthropologists and anthropologic[al] organizations present and prospective, and to publish and encourage the publication of matter pertaining to anthropology".

>> Visit the conference website