Monday, 22 December 2014

SPMA announces new Community Engagement award

The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology is pleased to announce a new Community Engagement award. 

A core aim of the SPMA is the promotion of late medieval to modern archaeology and this grant is designed to support individuals, groups and societies in developing new public-facing initiatives, whether one-off events, programmes of activities, digital archaeology or other creative outputs.

  • Applicants need not be members of the Society
  • Applicants can apply on behalf of any group, institution and organization
  • Applicants can be amateur or professional archaeologists
  • Post-medieval archaeology (late medieval to the present day) must be a core aspect of the proposal
  • Community engagement must be a core aspect of the proposal

Priority will be given to the development of new initiatives rather than the funding of established activities.

Applications could concern, but are not limited to:
  • Seed funding for community based initiatives
  • The development of digital post-medieval archaeology
  • The development of educational resources
  • Payments for talks, lectures or workshops
  • A one-off event such as a walk or open day
  • Development of creative outputs in a variety of media

Applicants are encouraged to define the types of audiences which they are targeting and to describe expected outcomes and outputs including the development of skills and expertise. A timetable and itemized budget should be included. Please provide adequate detail to demonstrate justification of proposals and costs. 

We welcome proposals which seek to develop innovative forms of engagement and proposals which demonstrate the potential to engage non-traditional audiences. Please note that the Societies existing lecture bursary has now been discontinued and subsumed within this new grant.
Funding for up to £500 can be applied for

Please email the Prize Coordinator, Hilary Orange, for an application form.
Deadline for applications: 1st March 2015
Decision will be made within 2 months of the closing date. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

12 days of Archaeology! A Christmas Sing Song

We are feeling very Christmassy at CUDI, so what better way to spread festive cheer than to have a little festive sing along, so all together now…

On the first day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Fortune's portrait collection of Chinese trees

On the second day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Two neolithic ditch enclosures in Bohemia

On the third day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Three ancient Jewish reliefs

On the fourth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Four middle Holocene pillar sites in West Turkana, Kenya

On the fifth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Five notes on Jerusalem in the first and second Temple Periods

On the sixth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Six apostle spoons from Finland

On the seventh day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Seven years of preserving damaged stone 

On the eighth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Eight seventeenth-century decorative paintings

On the ninth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Nine engraved sites in the Hong Kong

On the tenth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Ten Commandments for effective anthropological exhibits

On the eleventh day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Eleven post-medieval corpses

On the twelfth day of Christmas CUDI gave to me,
Twelve dirt-walled structures in Mesa Verde National Park

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

INTERVIEW WITH THE EDITORS: Suzie Thomas and Carol McDavid, Co-editors of Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage

What are your main research interests?

Suzie Thomas photo
Suzie Thomas
ST: I’m interested in the ways in which non-professionals engage with archaeological heritage. This spans, for me, all the way from the public participating in events and activities provided for them by museums and other heritage institutions, through community groups carrying out their own archaeology and heritage-based research, through to the more controversial activities of hobbyist treasure hunters. For my PhD I looked at the relationships between archaeologists and metal detectorists in England and Wales, and I have also worked as Community Archaeology Support Officer for the Council for British Archaeology, which saw me trying to get a handle on the wider picture in the UK concerning how many people might be actively getting involved with archaeological activities, and in what ways they were doing this. I’ve also worked on research into the global trafficking of cultural objects before, which of course is a vitally important facet to consider when looking at the impact of treasure hunting.
Carol McDavid

CM: In general terms, I am interested in process -- how archaeologists and other academics can make their work more meaningful to the public, and how we can find ways to make our research more accessible as a tool for community collaboration and reform. I am especially committed to finding ways to use historical and archaeological information (in my case, about the African Diaspora) to dismantle still-existing structures of white privilege. I am also interested how people in the present deploy archaeology and heritage for their own agendas. My training is in the historical archaeology of the African Diaspora, but I also categorize my work as “public archaeology”.

What or who inspired you to work in this field?

ST: I first became interested in the public-facing end of archaeological work while volunteering for the National Trust at Corfe Castle in Dorset, southern England, during my undergraduate degree (at the University of Sheffield). I was placed to work with the education officer, Pam White, and she was pretty inspiring and helped convince me that this was the area of archaeological work for me. During a course on heritage management at Sheffield as part of my degree, I also became familiar with the work of Peter Stone, and resolved to do my Masters degree at Newcastle University so that I could be taught by him. Peter was also my PhD supervisor, following my Masters, so he has been a big inspiration to my work over the years.

CM: I was exposed to the social contexts of archaeology while doing my master’s degree in Anthropology with Dr. Kenneth Brown, as he studied the Levi Jordan Plantation in South Coastal Texas. Ken recruited me to work collaboratively with both black and white descendants to discuss and publicly interpret the lives of their ancestors. At that point (the early 1990s), no one had really tried that sort of thing at a Southern slave plantation, or within historical archaeology more generally. His vision made me see where I could fit in and do work that counted to real people. I was also influenced by Dr. Parker Potter, whose seminal work in critical public archaeology showed how public archaeology could have a meaningful connection to contemporary social issues. Later, for my doctorate in Archaeology, I worked with Ian Hodder at the University of Cambridge, where I looked at how the Internet (at the time, Web 1.0) could be a tool to create multivocal, democratic, relevant and open conversations about archaeology – especially “hurtful” archaeology. Both Ken and Ian gave me enough rope to make my own way, while providing the support I needed. I learned a lot about being a good teacher and scholar from both of them.

Tell us a bit about your role as Editor and your overall goals for the publication...

ST: As Co-Editor, alongside Carol, I work as part of a larger team which also includes John H Jameson as our Assistant Editor – we are also in the process of calling for even more team members, with a call for an extra Assistant Editor and a Technical Editor currently underway. Carol and I deal with incoming papers, making initial reviews and, where it would be useful, suggestions for modification ahead of the peer review process. We also select reviewers for the papers, based on their own expertise, as well as selecting reviewers who may know less about the paper’s specific subject area, in order to make sure that papers make sense to non-specialists as well. As part of this we often invite non-professionals, for example members of community archaeology groups, to act as reviewers for us alongside academics and practitioners. As we are still a very new journal, I think all of the Editorial team take every opportunity they can, through conferences, meetings, and just conversations, to encourage potential contributors to send papers in to us. We are getting a great variety of papers already, but we can always have more. This goes also for guest blog posts to – the journal’s blog – and suggestions for books, conferences, events, exhibitions and websites to review.

My overall goal, personally, is for the journal to become the key meeting place for debates and knowledge exchange around activities that can be described in some way as ‘community archaeology’ or ‘community heritage’. For this to happen, we must welcome papers from non-academics as well as academic researchers, and be welcoming of different styles of writing, for example through creative approaches such as poetry, or more fluid ‘dialogue’ articles as well as more traditional papers. Current economics for the arts and humanities are not such that we can make the journal entirely open access unfortunately, but through partnership with the Council for British Archaeology, and in time perhaps more archaeological organizations with a broad membership, I hope we can offer at least an accessible subscription rate for our readers, as well as encouraging contributors to support open access options for their own papers where this is possible.

CM: I agree with Suzie – our goals are much the same. To build on what she said, for me, it is satisfying to have an active part in establishing and building a wider, and somewhat different, discourse in public/community archaeology than I “grew up” with in the discipline. I enjoy helping to forge new ways for people to write about public and community work, and hope that over time JCAH will be seen as raising the bar for such writing. And doing all this in a collaborative way, with an editorial team of really smart and interesting people, is a lot of fun.

How did you get involved with the journal?

ST: I believe it was a chance conversation with Liz Rosindale from Maney when I worked at the CBA! We were discussing something else entirely, but the conversation turned to community archaeology itself, and whether the time was right for this growing aspect of archaeological work and research to have its own dedicated journal. I then contacted first my colleague Dr Adam Gutteridge who was at the time at the University of York, and we also invited Carol due to her expertise and outlook (also realizing we should have a Co-Editor from outside of the UK to expand the journal’s reach and perspectives), and I guess the rest is history. Adam is no longer involved with the editorial team, but his input at the development stage of the journal (which first had to be proposed and then approved by a range of reviewers), remains invaluable.

CM: Suzie summed it up really well. I seem to recall that at one point she and Adam had asked for input on some things, and being a rather opinionated person, I probably gave them more than they wanted! So they maybe they figured I should actually do some work!!

Why is research into community archaeology so important?

ST: Research into community archaeology is research into the importance of archaeology to people. As practitioners and researchers, we ultimately have a responsibility to the wider public, not only because their tax dollars (or pounds or euros or whatever) fund our work, but because archaeology, and more broadly cultural heritage, belongs to and is of interest to everyone. On a practical level, it is vital to discuss both successful and less fruitful initiatives, and to reflect on what works and doesn’t work in community archaeology and heritage projects.

CM: Yes, discussing what didn’t “work” is just as important as sharing what did. That’s what we mean when we ask for papers to be critical and reflexive – our submission guidelines go into this in detail. “Research” about public and community work has to take a variety of different “ways of knowing” into account (anecdotal and experiential, as well as formal). So we ask our writers to share details about the “real” interactions they have with communities, and to reflect upon what their work actually did – in society, in archaeology, or even just in one individual community. That’s when the research starts to really matter.

What advice would you give to postgraduates who want to get into this field?

ST: I guess the main thing is experience. Find out where you can participate in a community archaeology project, outreach service or other initiative, and get involved. That said, don’t do so much that you get distracted from completing your degree programme! And use opportunities at conferences and other events to meet people in the sector and find out about their perspectives and experiences. If what they are doing fits with your own research interests, make sure to keep in touch with them!

CM: First, that context is just as important in public contexts as it is in archaeological ones. There is no “one size fits all” way of doing public and community work, but understanding what others have done before will help a community-engaged person create the new tools they need for any particular context. Understand the literature and seek out the people who did work you admire for advice and support (yes, this is a poorly disguised commercial for our journal, and others!). Second, that theories are tools to think with. Understand them well, and use them instrumentally. They will help you connect the ivory tower ideas you learn in graduate school to real, everyday situations. Third, every public interpretation, site tour, display, or other interpretive device is, in effect, a contingent, situated conversation about both past and present. It’s keeping the conversation going, even with those who disagree, that matters (that’s why Suzie’s work with metal detectorists is so important).

Tell us a fun fact that no one else knows?

ST: Research with colleagues at Helsinki University and Espoo City Museum for an article just uncovered photographs of a Finnish archaeologist using a metal detector for field work…..back in 1954! For me, with all my years of researching metal detecting, such an incredibly early example of an archaeologist making use of the machine, in Finland (where I now work), is a mind-blowing discovery, and something I want to research further.

CM: Not sure if this is all that fun, but I’m an artist, I used to be a caterer, and also used to run a public housing agency. A somewhat checkered past!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Call for Papers: Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions

Trans-Atlantic dialogues on cultural heritage began as early as the voyages of Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus and continue through the present day. Each side of the Atlantic offers its own geographical and historical specificities expressed and projected through material and immaterial heritage. However, in geopolitical terms and through everyday mobilities, people, objects and ideas flow backward and forward across the ocean, each shaping the heritage of the other, for better or worse, and each shaping the meanings and values that heritage conveys.

This conference is brought to you by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH), University of Birmingham and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP), University of Illinois and offers a venue for exploring three critical interactions in this trans-Atlantic dialogue: heritage, tourism and traditions.

The goal of the conference is to be simultaneously open-ended and provocative. We welcome papers from academics across a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, art history, architecture, business, communication, ethnology, heritage studies, history, geography, landscape architecture, literary studies, media studies, museum studies, popular culture,  postcolonial studies, sociology, tourism, urban studies, etc. 

Topics of interest to the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The heritage of trans-Atlantic encounters
  • Travelling intangible heritages
  • Heritage flows of popular culture
  • Re-defining heritage beyond the postcolonial
  • The heritage of Atlantic crossings
  • World Heritage of the Atlantic periphery
  • Rooting and routing heritage
  • Community and Nation on display
  • Visualising the Trans-Atlantic world

Abstracts of 300 words with full contact details should be sent as soon as possible but no later than 15th December 2014 to

Further information on the Conference and the Call for Papers can be found on the website

Monday, 10 November 2014

Lest We Forget: Ten Years of Professional World War I Archaeology in Flanders

Archaeology of the recent past, such as the study of the material remains of WWI, is a relatively new phenomenon. It is one thing to see WWI heritage as archaeological heritage but another when it comes to the daily handling of these material remains in the field. Several questions have arisen with the integration of the study of WWI relics in professional archaeology and, by extension, to archaeological practice. So are relics from the war seen as a legitimate subject of inquiry or does WWI archaeology still strive for recognition as a discipline?

Taking the archaeological research that has taken place over the past decade in the province of West Flanders as a case study a recent article in the European Journal of Archaeology investigates how this buried wartime heritage has been approached from  an archaeological perspective based on reports from fieldwork carried out by professional archaeologists.

With the commemoration of World War I (WWI) under way, a preliminary stocktaking can be made of archaeological research into the physical remains of this war. The question is to what extent the perspective on the study of WWI heritage, and consequently the way in which archaeological research into WWI remains has been conducted, has evolved over the last ten years..... These questions relate to the vision for the archaeology of the First World War. Where are we going with this discipline? How can we deal with the details of the material culture and what can they still teach us? What additional information can we gather by studying the archaeology of recent conflicts that we do not already know from written records? These are the most important issues that have been discussed over the last ten years.

Monday, 3 November 2014

INTERVIEW WITH AN EDITOR: Robin Skeates, Editor of European Journal of Archaeology

This week we are launching our new feature ‘Interview with an Editor’ and our first editor in the spotlight is the lovely Robin Skeates (Durham University, UK), editor of European Journal of Archaeology. Robin is a friend of C-U-D-I and wrote out first ever blog post!

Here's Robin in a cave in Sardinia

What are your main research interests?
My interests are broad and multi-faceted: on the one side, Central Mediterranean prehistory; on the other side, public archaeology, and museum and heritage studies. But they sometimes come together, particularly under visual and sensual culture studies.

What or who inspired you to work in this field?
I've always been close to archaeology, in one form or another. I grew up in a house next to a ruined Norman castle, where my brother and I used to play every day. We used to swing on tree creepers across the moat, like Tarzan ... until a creeper broke with me half way across.

Tell us a bit about your role as Editor and your overall goals for the publication.
My role as Editor is to keep the show on the road, and at a fast pace, since I need to bring out a new issue on time four times a year. I keep in close contact with our authors, our Editorial Board, peer reviewers, Maney - our publisher, and the European Association of Archaeologists (to whose members the journal belongs). My email account is always busy, and I have to travel regularly to international meetings and conferences, which means getting to know lots of interesting people. The main goals are to enhance the quality, breadth and reputation of the journal. It's taken a lot of hard work, but all the signs are that we really are succeeding.

How did you get involved with the journal?
Five years ago, my Durham colleagues, John Chapman and Marga Diaz-Andreu, suggested that I put my name forward to be the new Editor of the EJA. I'd already gained a fair bit of editorial experience and I am pro-European, so the decision wasn't hard. But I did ask my wife first, since I knew that it would involve a fair bit of work and time away from home.

Why is research into European archaeology so important?
In Europe, we're fortunate to have a deep and rich past all around us. Archaeological research comes with the responsibility to help people understand that past, in new, interesting, and scientifically rigorous ways.

What advice would you give to postgraduates who want to get into this field?
Come along to the annual conference of the European Association of Archaeologists. It's a great showcase for current archaeological research in Europe, and a good place to make contact with like-minded people.

Tell us a fun fact that no one else knows?
I once bit a medieval coin in half. I was working on an archaeological dig, and I found what I thought was a coin.  But I wasn't sure. So, like they used to do on Western films, I bit it to see if it was metal. It was ... but I bit too hard!

You can follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinSkeates
Visit the
European Association of Archaeologists website. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Why did the Vampire read C-U-D-I? And four other totally random questions answered for Halloween....

It’s Halloween this weekend so I thought I’d tell you some fun facts about its history and the some of the characters you'll expect to see on your doorstep on Friday... Ok so I cheated a bit this week and brought in more history than archaeology but I found it interesting so you hopefully you will too!

Why is Halloween celebrated on the 31st October? Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

Why do we wear Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating ?
The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas 
(November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).

Why are mummies always screaming?
For well over a century, the contorted features of ancient mummies have led to speculation of untold pain and horrible deaths. Archaeologists uncovering ancient tombs have often found the mummified corpses with their mouths agape or lips pulled back as if they are screaming or writhing in pain, indeed this has led to the portrayal of mummies in this state in the media, fiction and in your Halloween costumes.

So why were the mummies found with these terrified and pained expressions? 
The reason is a lot less horryfiying that you’d expect and simply due to the decomposition of a body after rigor mortis – if the jaw isn't strapped shut when a body is mummified it naturally falls open as the muscles relax during the process of decay, leaving a permanent "scream."

Why do witches fly on brooms sticks?
Why do witches fly on broom sticks? To get high of course!  Although you may be rolling your eyes at reading that, I bet you didn’t know that the joke is also surprisingly accurate....
According to research the reason is pharmacological. Hallucinogenic chemicals called tropane alkaloids are made by a number of plants including Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Hyoscyamus niger (henbane), Mandragora officinarum (mandrake), and Datura stramonium (jimsonweed).

During the Middle Ages, parts of these plants were used to make “brews,” “oyntments,” or “witches’ salves” for witchcraft, sorcery, and other nefarious activities.  It was quickly discovered that injesting these ointments led to some terrible sideeffects such as vomiting, rashes etc. and so in order to avoid these side-effects the hallucinogenic compounds were absorbed into the skin and the fastest way to get the ointment into your blood was through sweat glands. So how did the alleged witches apply said ointments? Yep you guessed it, by using the broomsticks!

You can read the rest below, but I warn you its definitely not something you can tell your kids!

Oh and finally...

Why did the Vampire read C-U-D-I? Because he heard it had good circulation!
Happy Halloween!

Monday, 20 October 2014

It’s Open Access Week! An overview of OA publishing in archaeology: an interview with Professor Alan Outram

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access.

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research- has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted but  what are the direct and widespread implications for OA publishing in archaeology?

We asked Professor Alan Outram (University of Exeter, UK) the co-editor of new OA journal Science and Technology of Archaeological Research, how to publish OA and the different considerations there might be for the archaeology community.

Professor Alan Outram
 Are there particular reasons why archaeology benefits from OA publishing?Archaeology has a large base of amateur/avocational support, in terms of volunteering, donors and general interest. OA publishing allows these valuable groups greater access to archaeological works, which can only increase interest and support. Archaeologists also work all around the world, often in places where local universities might struggle to fund appropriate digital access to subscription journals.

Why publish Gold OA? 
Open Access publishing is widely accepted to increase both readership and citation levels. It also allows access to a wider set of readers, including those not affiliated to institutions, or those whose institutions cannot afford expensive subscriptions. Increasingly, many funding bodies also require outputs that result from their support to be made freely available through OA. But why choose to pay for ‘Gold’ OA? The ‘gold’ route has some significant benefits, including the immediate open access availability, instead of waiting until the embargo periods of subscription journals to pass. The ‘as published’, properly typeset versions of papers are also made freely available, whereas many subscription journals retain copyright on those and only allow the author’s typescript versions to be made available. ‘Gold’ OA also has the significant benefit of using the publisher’s digital platform for the journal, which increases visibility, and ease of location and use.

What sort of archaeology is most likely to have funding for OA publishing?
Archaeological research funded by research councils is most likely to already have funding for OA. Projects where public impact is a key concern are also more likely to have built in the cost of open access publishing. These factors will depend very much on the policies of the country in which you work.

How much does it cost in general?
Costs to publish a Gold OA article vary widely, but are generally between $1000 to $3000 in the sciences and rather lower in the humanities and social sciences, $99 to $1500.

How does one find funding for that cost?
This will vary considerably, depending upon the country in which you are based. In some countries, for instance the UK, Universities have been given a stream of funding to help cover OA costs for existing research grants. It is also increasingly possible to build OA publishing costs into grant applications, as a valid line item. In some cases, Universities and other research organizations will have put aside some of their own funds to support OA, as they wish to invest in the benefits of increased citation and better public impact. Certainly, some individual researchers even invest in OA themselves, because of the increased exposure it gives to their work.

Who can advise me on how to obtain funding and how to pay?
Your librarian would be a good place to start for advice on local policies and funding.

As one of the Editors of a brand new OA journal in the science and technology of archaeological research, what do you anticipate the challenges will be?
The world of journal publishing is in a transitionary phase, with different models of publishing now competing. Hence, there is the challenge of convincing people that your journal’s model is the right one for their paper. Science and Technology of Archaeological Research offers rapid OA publishing within a rigorous framework of international peer-review, so I think it is a very attractive option. My job is to set the right tone from the outset. Publication with us needs to be fast and efficient, but high standards need to be maintained. Open access must not be confused with vanity publishing! 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Brandy is dandy, wine is....awesome! Distilling the Peruvian wine and brandy industry

This month’s Digging Deeper article investigates a topic close to ours and many an archaeologist’s heart .... booze. 

Why? Well wine not! *hiccup*

The article, from the Journal of Field Archaeology, explores the archaeological and historical investigation of the flourishing wine and brandy industry in the Osmore (Moquegua) valley of far southern Peru, or also known as the Moquegua Bodegas Project.

The Moquegua Bodegas Project took place across six summer field seasons between 1985 and 1990, and began with surveys that led to the identification of 130 wine hacienda sites. Subsequent mapping and shovel testing focused on 28 of these sites and more extensive excavations were undertaken at four of them.

The article provides a descriptive overview of all the hacienda sites including discussion on their physical structures, layouts, and sightings in the valley.
You can read the article abstract below:

Spanish colonial settlement of the Moquegua valley of far southern Peru was oriented economically toward production of wine and brandy. A total of 130 wine hacienda sites (bodegas) can be identified there, primarily on the basis of adobe structures on hills bordering the valley. These sites had both residential and “industrial” functions, and their arrangements can be described by four site plans or layouts.

This article describes the “industrial” sectors of the sites, particularly the facilities for wine and brandy making (crushing tanks) rooms holding earthenware fermentation jars, distillery apparatus, and the functionally “specialized” site plan. Facilities were arranged spatially to incorporate gravity flow in moving liquids. The technology and organization of wine-making at the Moquegua sites evince similarities not only with Spanish models, but also with much earlier Roman wine-making.

The article is now available to read online for free, so pour yourself a large glass, sit back and enjoy. Cheers!

Monday, 6 October 2014

It's California Archaeology Month!

California Archaeology Month poster

Ah October, the time of autumn leaves, Halloween and ... archaeology?? 

Yes that’s right it’s California Archaeology Month!

Sponsored by the Society for California Archaeology (SCA), this October various historical societies and state federal government agencies around California will celebrate Californian archaeologists and all things archaeology!

So what is California Archaeology Month?

Observed in October, to integrate with California’s school curriculum on Native American and California history, California Archaeology Month is dedicated to promoting the preservation of the country’s heritage.

Exhibitions and presentations will take place around the state in order to reach out to the public
with information regarding the nature and sensitivity of cultural and heritage resources in California and their accomplishments and challenges.
It aims to show that archaeology is not only a way for people to learn about their place in history but can increase interest in education and environmental concerns.

Find out more about the Archaeology Month on the SCA web page

How can you get involved?

Each year, the SCA publishes an Archaeology Month Poster using contributions from state and federal agencies and member donations, and also makes available a comprehensive Archaeology Month Resources Guide. The posters are distributed to local, state, and federal agencies and private entities to help promote the preservation of California’s archaeological heritage. You can order the poster from their website.

Or why not make Archaeology Month a state-wide celebration by having an event or activity in your county that highlights the fascinating things we learn from archaeology?
You can find ideas or how to volunteer and participate here.

Not wanting to miss out on the celebrations, we’ve given you free access to Volume 4 issue 1 of California Archaeology which you can find here.

Happy California Archaeology Month from

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Call for papers: TAG 2014 Debate on the Instrumentalisation of Archaeology

Welcome to the TAG 2014 debate on the instrumentalisation of archaeology! 

This year the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference will be hosted by the University of Manchester between 15 and 17 December 2014.

Starting with the motion ‘This House believes that archaeology should NOT be instrumentalised’ we anticipate a lively debate!

This session takes the form of a House debate focusing on the instrumentalisation of archaeology, which has always been an aspect of the discipline but that has grown apace in recent years with the popularity of Public Archaeology, Community Archaeology and archaeologies with a ‘social purpose’ at their core.

There is much to extol in archaeological projects and practices that benefit communities and individuals in the present, as will be demonstrated in this session by those who position themselves in favour of the instrumentalisation of archaeology. Nevertheless, caution is required in ostensibly subjugating archaeology to political, economic, social and even psychological ends. Contributors arguing that archaeology should NOT be instrumentalised will take to task the role of archaeologist-as-social-worker and the potentially deleterious effects of aligning archaeological enquiry with political agendas (aka, archaeology-as-agitprop). In so doing, questions will be raised concerning the ethics of archaeologies that are primarily driven by national socioeconomic agendas and the institutional policies of funding bodies. Should archaeology be independent of these agendas? Or is an archaeology that is more integrated into societal issues and engages with contemporary discourses a more relevant one? Ultimately, the debate over instrumentalisation has at its core what we as archaeologists believe is the role of our discipline in the contemporary world and how this might change in the future.

Deliberately provocative, the purpose of this session is not to dismiss or discredit social-purpose archaeologies but rather to encourage critical appraisal of the parameters of praxis.

Contributors are invited to present ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the House in order to progress debate in an open, inclusive and mutually respectful arena. Please be aware, speakers need not feel constrained to present a personal position: devil’s advocates most welcome! In addition to formal papers active participation will be sought from the floor and delegates are encouraged to come prepared with ‘points of information’.

The session will be live tweeted #instruarch and proceedings of the session will be published; to this end, discussion is under way with the editors of the Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage.

Confirmed contributors:

John Carman, University of Birmingham
Gerry Wait, Nexus Archaeology
Sarah May, Heritage for Transformation
Kenneth Aitchison, Landward Research Ltd
Paul Belford, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (Discussant)
Expressions of interest should be directed to the session organisers by Friday 10th October with confirmed paper titles and abstracts will be required by 31st October. 
Tara-Jane Sutcliffe and Sarah Howard
Session organisers

Monday, 22 September 2014

KIVA seeks new Acquisitions Editor

KIVA: The Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History is the premier archaeology journal of the American Southwest. Co-published by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, it was founded in 1935. This world-renowned journal is currently accepting applications for a new Acquisitions Editor. Read on to see if you or a colleague would be a good fit for this position, and help us spread the word among the archaeology community.

About the Position
The editor will spearhead the publishing process by working with a book reviews editor and the Maney team. Although the Society is based in Tucson, the editor will be an independent contractor and may reside elsewhere. The editor will have a working relationship with the Society’s Publications Committee and Board of Directors through a contract covering three volume years. Responsibilities of the editor will include maintaining the established high quality of the journal. External advice and consultation are available through an Editorial Advisory board appointed by the editor.

Editor Responsibilities
The editor accepts and solicits manuscripts and coordinates the review, editing, and proofing of four issues per volume year; each issue is about 120 printed pages. Specific duties include Spanish abstract acquisition, maintaining communication with authors, reviewers, the occasional guest editor, and the Publications Committee. An online submission and refereeing site uses Editorial Manager Software to facilitate article tracking and publication. Maney Publishing provides training for both systems. The editor will coordinate with a guest editor for the upcoming 100th Anniversary issue scheduled for 2016.

The ideal candidate has a background in Southwest archaeology, history, ethnography, or related discipline. Please visit for additional information.

The start date for this position is March 1, 2015. Please submit a letter of interest and curriculum vitae no later than November 1, 2014 to:

Dr. Jenny L. Adams, chair Kiva Acquisitions Editor Search Committee
Desert Archaeology, Inc.
3975 N. Tucson Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85716

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Afro-Brazilian vitality

Guest blogger:
Chris Fennell

Associate Professor, University of Illinois, and Editor of the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage

These are exciting times for African diaspora research in South America. For example, archaeological and historical research projects continue to reveal the astounding creativity and fortitude of African heritage people in Brazil over centuries of challenges. The rebellions that formed quilombo settlements in Brazil, such as the remarkable domain of Palmares, were paralleled by smaller-scale, quotidian acts of resistance and social creativity. Recent archaeological studies help us understand the spectrum of Afro-Brazilians’ innovations, determination to undertake resistance against colonial oppression, and constant fight for freedom. Recent studies by historians, such as Ana Lucia Araujo, Manuel Barcia, Kalle Kananoja, and João José Reis, examine uprisings and the dynamic interdependence of individual and social group agencies across the country. New publications in edited volumes and peer-reviewed journal articles present highly valuable considerations of what is now known and what questions may best frame future investigations.

Even in the shackles of injustice and captivity, individuals retained their humanity. Recent excavations in the Valongo Wharf area of Rio de Janeiro by Tania Andrade Lima, Marcos André Torres de Souza, Glaucia Malerba Sene, and their colleagues have revealed poignant evidence of captives’ efforts of self-protection. Hundreds of thousands of newly captive Africans were brought into the Brazilian plantation system in that harbor and market space in the mid-1800s. Many combated the bewildering experience of bondage and asserted their resilience. Archaeologists have recovered numerous personal possessions that were deployed to seek spiritual protection against harsh adversities. Investigations by Luís Cláudio Pereira Symanski and his colleagues on sugar plantation sites in Mato Grosso province have uncovered evidence that enslaved laborers employed similar beliefs and strategies in those work spaces as well. As archaeologists, we are privileged to reveal such traces of aspiration and struggles for self-determination.

Other researchers are examining large-scale rebellion communities. Among other questions, they can explore the degree of exceptionalism in those defiant settlements. Did the social spaces of quilombos exhibit different degrees of cultural creativity than spaces enveloped within a slave market or plantation? Did rebellion communities provide greater opportunities for continuing developments of facets of particular African cultures from which individuals were abducted and brought to Brazil? In turn, findings from these projects in Brazil can be compared and contrasted with research at sites of rebellion communities in North America. Discussions in books, articles, and conferences promise fascinating new developments to come. The injustices of colonialism and slavery are scrutinized and contrasted by the triumphs of those who persevered.

Read a free issue of Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage >

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

#EAA2014 gets going in Turkey! It's time to rock 'n' roll-a in Anatolia

The 20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists kicks off in Istanbul this week and to celebrate I took a look in our online archive and pulled out a few gems that focus on Turkish archaeology. 

'The Latest Link in the Long Tradition of Maritime Archaeology in Turkey: The Yenikapı Shipwrecks', European Journal of Archaeology
Thirty-six shipwrecks dated from the fifth to tenth centuries AD have been discovered in the Theodosian (Byzantine) harbour of Istanbul, in the district of Yenikapı. Under the auspices of the ‘Istanbul University Yenikapı Shipwrecks Project’, carried out by Istanbul University's Department of Conservation of Marine Archaeological Objects, our team has undertaken the recording and dismantling of twenty-seven shipwrecks as well as conservation/restoration and reconstruction projects of thirty-one shipwrecks in total. Shipwrecks of various types and sizes have been exposed since 2005; the majority are still under study...

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'Archaeology against cultural destruction: the case of the Ilisu dam in the Kurdish region of Turkey', Public Archaeology
The llisu dam in the Kurdish region of Turkey, if built, would displace up to 78,000 women, children and men, causing immense destruction of culture, past and present. The article outlines some major issues arising as a result of work by an archaeologist to examine the dam's cultural impacts, work that has supported villagers opposing the dam and aiming to contribute to campaigns in Europe...

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'Melian obsidian in NW Turkey: Evidence for early Neolithic trade', Journal of Field Archaeology
Archaeological investigations carried out at the Early Neolithic coastal site of Coşkuntepe in northwestern Turkey yielded an assemblage of 110 obsidian artifacts displaying the macroscopic characteristics of the well-known obsidian deposits on the Cycladic island of Melos. Analysis of three samples from this homogeneous obsidian assemblage using both X-Ray Fluorescence and Laser Ablation High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry confirmed that these artifacts were derived from Melos...

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Learn more about #EAA2014 >