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July 26, 2014


Bonnie Effros ( University of Florida

Trained as an early medieval historian, I began my career looking at burial practice in Merovingian Gaul from historical and archaeological perspective as a way of better understanding the cultural mores and rituals of the post-Roman world. This work was published as two books: Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages (University of California 2003) and Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (Penn State 2002)I also studied feasting and fasting and their connection to the expression of gender and spirituality in late antique/early medieval communities in Gaul, published as Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (Palgrave 2002).

Over time, however, I have become increasingly interested in the nineteenth-century circumstances that shaped antiquarian and archaeological research of the Middle Ages and how these outlooks continue to shape our work today. This larger project resulted in a book, Uncovering the Germanic Past: Merovingian Archaeology in France, 1830-1914 (Oxford 2012), and a number of journal articles and book chapters on related subjects listed on my page and on my university website at

I am currently writing a book entitled Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa, 1830-1870, which assesses the practical and ideological role of Roman archaeology – and ancient Rome more generally – during the first forty years of the French conquest and settlement of Algeria. This project brings to light the intersection between violence, archaeology, and classical narratives and how they shaped the colonial enterprise in North Africa.

Welcome and thank you for joining our community!

Calling All Classicists!

July 25, 2014

This is making me come over all Commissioner Gordon

Light the Bat Signal Horace, this is a case for Batman. kit created by Nightwing50

‘Light the Bat Signal Horace, this is a case for HARN!’
kit created by Nightwing50

Claire Millington has been in touch and I’m passing on her request in the belief that HARN members are in a prime position to help. Claire is a Classics Research PhD student at King’s College London and is putting together a Wikipedia editathon on the 23rd of September to improve the quality of women classicists’ pages on Wikipedia (

TrowelBlazers held a similar event last year and Claire was involved and see this post from Brenna Hassett of TrowelBlazers

Claire says ‘My event also takes as a starting point a ‘Women as Classical Scholars’ conference (, which was excellent except that it didn’t have enough in the way of archaeologists in it!’ Claire wants names of women classical scholars and archaeologists, bibliographies, references and general background information would be wonderful, but she really needs those names!
So, fellow HARNers, can we help her? Love or loathe Wikipedia it is certainly a force on the web and as all lecturers know many students will use it as part of (or sole) research for their work. Given Wikipedia is here to stay we need to make it as strong as possible. And, given that Wikipedia is editable by anyone then, as Claire says ‘if you don’t want Wikipedia to simply be the next place where women’s achievements are written out of history, then pick a woman who has contributed to something you’re interested in, find out about her, and write it’.
How to contribute:
You can leave a comment here and I will forward it to Claire.
You can email Claire directly at Clairedotmillingtonatkcldotacdotuk  (I’m trying to avoid filling her inbox with spam so take out the dots and put in the @) or leave a message on her Wikipedia talk page
  • Sign up for the event
  • Create a Wikipedia account – Special:UserLogin/signup
  • Go to Institute of Classical Studies, Room 243, Senate House, Malet Street on the 23rd of September
  • Bring a laptop (wi-fi will be provided), if you don’t have a laptop then email as Wikimedia UK has a limited number for such events
  • Learn about editing if you like: Wikipedia:Tutorial, or Getting started on Wikipedia for more information.

There will be Wikipedia trainers on hand to help.

Virtual access: If you can’t make it to the event but would like to be involved then Claire is arranging for remote access via Skype and there will be a Wikipedia trainer specifically to give attention to those attending virtually.
Over to you HARN Heroes!
I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.

‘Holy Winifred Lamb, Batman! Those Classicists need our help!’ (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Have a good weekend


Must I paint you a picture?

July 18, 2014

As the inestimable Billy Bragg asked Unfortunately I’m not painting pictures but slapping coats of emulsion onto walls, more Tom Waits with a dash of the Rolling Stones I’ve hit the point of boredom where dashing off a mural is beginning to seem like a very good idea, I can’t decide between an idyllic rural scene a la David Hockney

Hockney - The Road Across the Wolds 1997. Photograph Steve Oliver

David Hockney – The Road Across the Wolds 1997.
Photograph Steve Oliver

Or maybe something with a bit more oomph

The (now destroyed) Newport Chartist Memorial, Kenneth Budd 1978

The (now destroyed) Newport Chartist Memorial, Kenneth Budd 1978

But, until they bring out ‘wall-painting by numbers’ kits  I’m stymied by complete lack of artistic ability. However, it did get me thinking about art and archaeology – I only know about Britain and then only in patches, so forgive me if I sound parochial here – the connection between artists and archaeology.

There are many artists who incorporated archaeology into their paintings, using material culture as the main focus – such as Thomas Nash

Thomas Guest Grave Group from a Bell Barrow at Winterslow, 1814. Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

Thomas Guest Grave Group from a Bell Barrow at Winterslow, 1814.
Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

or focussed on the monuments – Heywood Sumner

Heywood Sumner from Stonehenge Today and Yesterday, 1937

Heywood Sumner from Stonehenge Today and Yesterday, 1937

Archaeology appears in the landscape of John Nash’s paintings

As well as, more famously, in the paintings of Paul Nash (his brother)

Paul Nash Landscape of the Megaliths, 1934. British Council Collection.

Paul Nash Landscape of the Megaliths, 1934. British Council Collection.

John Piper

John Piper Avebury Restored, 1935

John Piper Avebury Restored, 1935

and these rather splendid Shell adverts

Edward McKnight Kauffer c1932 Shell

Edward McKnight Kauffer c1932


Tasteful Cerne Abbas Giant, unknown artist

Tasteful Cerne Abbas Giant, unknown artist Shell

And, of course there’s the work of Alan Sorrell, commissioned to draw reconstructions by so many archaeologists

Alan Sorrell Reconstruction of Maiden Castle c1930s

Alan Sorrell Reconstruction of Maiden Castle c1930s

But after that early 20th century flourish archaeology seems to fall out of favour with artists – as I say, my knowledge is very limited and if I’m completely wrong here don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments – although referenced in the work of Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy Cairn 1995

Andy Goldsworthy Cairn 1995


and Richard Long

it’s not until the 2000′s that archaeology came back into art. I’m thinking in particular about Aaron Watson’s work

and see

Is this fashion? Does archaeology go in and out of favour? Is it because archaeology is linked to countryside landscapes and the bucolic goes in and out of fashion? Is it simply I don’t know what I’m talking about? This last seems very possible but hey, I’ve given you lots of lovely images to look at! And, I’ve started thinking about archaeologists as artists, but that’s another post entirely.

Have a good weekend


* There’s a very good article by Professor Sam Smiles here


What’s Going On?

July 11, 2014

Not much it would seem. We have no new members, no conference alerts, no news of talks or upcoming publications, no guest bloggers. HARN is eerily quiet this week, it’s possible everyone is ‘engaged on other projects’ aka lolling in the sunshine. If you listen carefully you’ll hear the whisper of tumbleweed gently rolling past HARN Towers. Oh, and the murmur of Test Match Special because I too am ‘doing something else’, sadly not lolling in the sunshine, reading about bricks or even getting round to the much-needed painting the kitchen. No, I’m drawing some plans and sections and listening to the cricket. Much as I love research, it’s the editing and illustration that pays the bills, and if that isn’t a cue for Gwen Guthrie I don’t know what is:

The great advantage to drawing is I can listen to the radio while I draw. I am not one of those people who can retain information – or even think – while there’s background noise. Complete silence is my preferred state, but I can just about put up with the sound of pages being turned, pens writing on paper or keyboards being, softly, struck.

However, even though I’m intolerant of noise in others I’m told I’m very noisy while I’m working, I mutter to myself, a lot. Sharing an office with me is very irritating, unless you want to know – in detail – about whatever I’m researching. On the upside this does have the advantage that I get lots of space to myself when I’m working in public – even when the British Library is really busy I soon have a lot of empty desks around me. No-one wants to sit next to the mad lady who mutters, loses pencils in her hair and occasionally sobs

I’m sure for anyone else, drawing and listening to the cricket would start fantastic ideas fermenting in their brains but I’ve got nothing except tumbleweed and Henry Blofeld talking about buses. Ideas do pop up but they’re impractical – a blog post wittily tying in the Football World Cup to the history of archaeology, sounds good doesn’t it? Except I can’t really do witty and there is no connection I can think of between football and archaeology. And, even if I came up with some faintly plausible connection it would fast become apparent I don’t know a thing about football. I’ve never understood any off-side rule and if you try and explain it to me I will cry*. Nor have I watched any of the World Cup – well I watched some of Germany v Brazil but that was car crash television rather than football.

A post about the site I’m illustrating? Kintyre is full of archaeology

Surely that could tie in with the history of archaeology? Ah, but this particular site was found recently by field survey so no interesting antiquarian excavations, or even 19th or 20th century excavations. Elsewhere on Kintyre everything seems to be equally recently investigated, my best lead is Duncan Colville who was active in the 1920s and 1930s, but appears to have only published the one paper (Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland volume 64, 1929) or Mr and Mrs J. G. Scott, active in the 1950s and 60s, but they have a very common Scottish surname, in the face of innumerable Scotts I gave up trying to find out more. Although if anyone does know any more about either Colville or the Scotts do please tell me. There is, of course, the wonderful Audrey Henshall, but I can’t do her work justice in a short blog post and surely someone is already studying her contribution to archaeology?

The situation in Iraq and Syria? The destruction of famous and not so famous monuments dug by archaeologists such as Petrie and Layard? There are many blog posts there, but I’d direct you to Sam’s excellent blog he’s way more qualified to discuss this than I am.

Cricket and Archaeology? I thought I had something here, I distinctly remembered seeing a PhD thesis arguing for Stonehenge being a prehistoric cricket pitch. Unfortunately, when I consulted a more reliable memory source he informed me I was completely wrong, I was conflating a thesis about the lines and angles of Stonehenge and another which argued hot air balloons had been to get the stones into position. Entertaining idea, but as you’ll agree nothing to do with cricket. It turns out there are several excavation reports from digs on cricket pitches,

A discussion on BAJR

A heart-warming tale of archaeologists’ generosity

And, an archaeologist writing the history of Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

But, so far I’ve found only one cricketing archaeologist – Dr Gerald Brodribb

There must be more, if you know of any do let me know I’m now fascinated by this – in a vague and inept way obviously.

So, there you go, there’s not much going on at HARN and not much going on in my head either, maybe I need to stop listening to the cricket, folk, disco and Motown and lively myself up to get my brain working. Bit of politically correct Swedish death metal? That should do it!

Have a good weekend and hopefully next week I’ll be a little more focussed.


Oh, For the Love of Bricks!

July 4, 2014

This may be my new expletive of choice! Having a child with keen hearing I have had to get very careful what I say around him, otherwise I have the shame of having to ‘see Miss’ after school and apologise profusely for what he’s said. Unfortunately, being circumspect, or even couth, does not come naturally to me. For Brits who remember the Fast Show, my natural setting is this – whiz through Jesse’s diets:

it’s been a steep learning curve and along the way I’ve had to think of many substitutes for my more profane utterances. This has led to some interesting combinations of words ‘Oh Dolphins!’ being quite satisfying if a bit of a mystery why they’d suggest themselves when I’ve just dropped something. It’s also led me to google Pete to find out why his sake is being invoked – supposedly it could be variant on pity, or could be referring to St Peter, just in case you too had ever wondered this. However, I think yelling ‘Bricks!’ is going to be my new way forward and muttering ‘oh, for the love of bricks!’ the next time I get int a pointless and circular argument with my beloved child who cannot, cannot, let it lie and gets very sanctimonious if I swear.

But, why am I talking about bricks anyway? Well, it all began when Rick casually mentioned he’d had to look up the history of brick making to write up UCLan’s training excavations of Bank Hall

Bank Hall Training Excavation

Bank Hall Training Excavation

and how he’d been surprised to find the very book he needed in the university library. I think he expected me to say ‘oh, yes’ in a polite but disinterested manner, but no, I was fascinated. I spent the whole evening bombarding him with questions about bricks and brick bonds – thankfully we were out at the time otherwise the keen eared child would have been rolling his eyes and audibly muttering ‘you two are so lame!’ Anyway, such was my interest the next day Rick kindly brought home Brick Building in Britain by R.W. Brunskill. Well, what can I say? It’s fascinating! I was delighted to discover our library also has Campbell and Pryce’s Brick: a world history so that’s now here too and after I’ve read it I may then move on to Brick Watching (seriously, that’s the real title, it’s by Edmund Jupp) or Bricks and Brickmaking or The History of Gauged Brickwork. It’s all about bricks here (maybe go back and watch the clip again but substitute eating for reading and honey for bricks) all bricks all the time in this turret of HARN towers. In fact, I’m delighted to tell you that HARN towers is made of bricks

HARN Towers aka Blaise Castle. Copyright Paul Brooker

HARN Towers aka Blaise Castle. Copyright Paul Brooker

in – I think -Flemish bond.

What does any of this have to do with the history of archaeology? Well, should you be reading a history of bricks and brick work (stop sniggering at the back! One day you might do so and come on, honestly, we’re archaeologists we’re already geeks, it’s not like a keen eared child, or anyone else for that matter, is suddenly going to declare us cool and hip) and you turn to the bibliography you will find umpteen archaeologists listed. Petrie, Kenyon, Koldewey, Andrae – it’s a roll call of famous diggers. This got me to thinking, as I often do, about the connections outside archaeology, archaeology’s impact on other disciplines. This is something we often forget, archaeology is used by other disciplines and interest groups – leaving aside the whole question of the abuse of archaeology for another post -  I just want here to think a little about how archaeology has an impact beyond us and to reiterate that when we write archaeology and the history of archaeology we have to remember that it will be read outside our niche circle. We are connected to other disciplines, obviously anthropology and archaeology have long been interconnected, as have archaeology and history, archaeology and geology, biology, geography and many, many more. Yet, that inter connectedness is rarely reflected in mainstream history of archaeology – I’m not thinking of HARN members here but Paul Bahn, William Stiebing, Glyn Daniel, John Romer, Alain Schnapp and even Bruce Trigger – if you look at any general history book there will be archaeologists cited for the earliest periods, but archaeologists rarely consult history and never social or cultural history. Archaeology might be set in its intellectual context but that’s the limit of our external engagement.


Is it lack of knowledge? The belief that archaeology and antiquarianism somehow exists outside history? Arrogance – the belief that as archaeologists we know the past in a more visceral and meaningful way than historians? Lack of interest? Something completely different that I haven’t identified?

I need to mull this over some more, but first I have a hot date with some bricks!

Enjoy your weekend



Specific Help Required

June 27, 2014

Here at HARN towers we’ve been thinking about the future; in particular what we need to do to ensure HARN continues to thrive. We’ve expanded a great deal in the last year and administratively we need volunteers to take on some of the work. In particular we need people with financial knowledge of fundraising and charitable status. We’ve been looking into becoming a charity, in Britain (at least to this uncomprehending researcher) it’s an enormously complex procedure and it isn’t clear whether we’ll actually gain anything if we go down that route. So, initially we need someone, who understands these things, to look into how we’d attain charitable status, whether we’d be wise to try, should we look outside Britain, to Europe or the USA? Anyone interested in taking on this role please email us

We also need to be more pro-active about fundraising for conferences and workshops. Some of you answered the questionnaire saying you’d be happy to take on this role. If you feel you could help then email us, we’d be happy to suggest ways and means, contacts and funding bodies.

If you want us to promote your talk or conference or seminar on the web pages we’re happy to do so. All we ask in exchange is that you agree to make HARN fliers available to attendees. Email us and we’ll put it up on the blog, in the newsletter, on Academia and either send you the fliers or the template so you can print them – doesn’t have to be anything flashy, we just want to spread the word.

Then there’s our presence at conferences and other events. None of the admin team can make it to the EAA this year, but we feel it’s very important to have some sort of HARN social happening. Again, any volunteers? There must be lots of our members going, it would be good if a meet-up was organised. Please email us and we’ll help to co-ordinate this.

Talking of conferences, we need to be present at as many as we can make. What’s coming up in your area? Do let us know any conferences you’re attending, whether as a speaker, delegate or simply as a spectator. Would you like assistance in organising a conference or seminar? We’d be happy to help, again email us

Is anyone thinking of organising a session at Manchester TAG this year? The closing date for session submission is the 14th July and the closing date for papers is the 15th of September, so if anyone is thinking of organizing a session you need to get a wiggle on. If you want to organize a session or poster display we can help you organize this, again email us There will be HARN social events taking place at TAG, details to come later, but if there’s anything you’d like to organize then email us and we’ll co-ordinate our activities.

The next meeting of the Society for American Archaeology is 2015 and being held in San Francisco, April 15-19 Deadline for submissions is Thursday, September 11, 2014, 3 pm Eastern Time. Are any HARN members going? Are you giving a paper? Let us know and we’ll promote it here. Would you like to attend or organize a social event? If so get in touch and we’ll facilitate this

North American TAG 2015 will be hosted by New York University Details to follow when have them.

Nordic Tag will be in Stockholm in 2015 Again, details to follow when we have them. But, it’s never too early to start thinking about possible sessions! Let us know if you want any help with this

And finally, next year the EAA will be held in Glasgow 2-6 September, 2015 We plan to organize at least one session for the meeting and there will be several other HARN events taking place. We intend HARN to be a significant contributor to the meeting, both intellectually and on a social basis. If you are interested in being involved, in any capacity, get in touch

Have a good weekend!


Stop Press!

June 21, 2014

Jonathan Trigg is giving a talk to the Middleton Archaeological Society this Thursday (26th) – nice and local to anyone in the Manchester/Lancashire area. See their webpage for details

Also Jonathan is organising a conference taking place in Liverpool in August, he says ‘It is a prehistory conference, but I am aware of at least two papers on the History of Archaeology  – mine on the history of prehistory at the University of Liverpool, and Colin Wallace’s on ‘New Deal’ Archaeology…’ Details can be found here

Jonathan adds ‘There is also a facebook page for the group, and a twitter hash tag (#CABPLiverpool); it might be worth adding that the website is continually being updated, and it is worth checking every now and then – I will be adding details of updates to the facebook and twitter stuff.’

And finally, something completely un-Jonathan related (I suspect he needs less sleep than I do!), the MGHG Conference this year takes place on the 12 and 13 September at the Wallace Collection. The theme of the 2014 Museums and Galleries History Group conference is Houses as Museums/Museums as Houses.

‘The relationship between museums and domestic spaces is a long and complex one. Museums were born in the houses of collectors, while the reconstruction of the house or domestic room – of ‘home’, effectively – continues to be an influential if controversial model for museum display. On the other hand, museums have at times invested heavily in the idea of their spaces as public, scientific and definitively non-domestic. The line between house and museum is therefore also one between public and private, scientific and domestic; and house-museums/museum-houses have acted both to confirm, to alter, and to undermine this line completely.

The 2014 MGHG conference seeks to understand the historical development of this relationship by investigating the ways in which museums have acted as houses, and houses have acted as museums. It will also explore the ways in which house-museums and museum-houses have been positioned in boundary zones of space and time, and what effect they have had on those boundaries. The programme can be viewed and tickets can be purchased online here:

Have a good weekend




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