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 http://www.az-arch-and-hist.org 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...

Read the full article for free >

'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...

Read the full article for free >

'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...

Read the full article for free >

Learn more about #EAA2014 >

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Ravenglass Roman fort dig needs you!

Archaeologists in Cumbria are seeking volunteers to help them explore the remains of a Roman settlement.

Ravenglass Roman fort was occupied from AD 120 until the 4th Century. During the dig, beginning on 12 September, archaeologists hope to find more evidence of the civilian settlement from 1,800 years ago.

The £125,000 project received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lake District National Park Authority and Copeland Community Fund. The site's unearthed bath house is still in good condition. The remains of the bath house of Ravenglass Roman fort, established in AD 130, are among the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain: the walls stand almost 4 metres (13 feet) high. The fort at Ravenglass (whose earthworks can be seen near the bath house) guarded what was probably a useful harbour and there is evidence that soldiers stationed here served in Hadrian's fleet. The fort at Ravenglass guarded what was probably a very serviceable harbour. Excavations in the 1970s on the surviving fort platform (between the railway and the sea) indicated that the fort had probably been founded during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (AD 117–38). However, beneath it, and on a different alignment, was an earlier fort, presumably dating from the first century AD.

Lake District National Park's archaeology and heritage assistant, Holly Beavitt-Pike, said: "This is a rare opportunity for people to get involved, not just in understanding their rich heritage, but to leave a lasting legacy."

There will also be open days at the site on 12, 13 and 27 September.

From BBC news 23/8/14

Read more about Ravenglass Roman fort >

Ravenglass Roman fort dig needs volunteers >