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Spring, already?

March 24, 2017

I’m not sure where most of March has gone, in fact I’m not sure what happened to February either. If you’d asked me earlier in the week what month we were in I’d have confidently stated we were near the end of January. It would appear I’m a little behind the times – handy for a historian of archaeology, not so useful for real life. I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that my calendar hasn’t been altered by someone for a laugh and it really is nearly the end of March. All the signs are there, my daffodils have gone over and the tulips are coming through, Lambcam has finished for the year and the 10 year old is telling me he’s 11 next week. So, what have I got to tell you? What have I got to show for the missing month or two where I haven’t been blogging? Remarkably little. This turret of HARN Towers has been having some much needed renovations.

HARN Towers

The amount of disturbance should have transformed this (Copyright Paul Brooker )



into this. But from the outside you wouldn’t notice any difference. HOW CAN SOMETHING SO MINOR TAKE SO LONG AND SEND ME SO CRAZY?

It looks much better now, but it was stressful and disruptive while it was being done and nothing intellectual (or even intelligent it would seem) happened in my brain for the duration. I’d like to say I’m back, firing on all cylinders and ready for deep thoughts about all matters archaeological and historical but this would be a lie, I’m shambling around like a B movie Zombie or Mummy* groaning ‘coffffeeeeeeee,  caaaaaake, schoooooool letterzzzzz, where the hell did I put my glasses this time?’ I may have to distract you with gambolling lambs while I collect the few thoughts I have

(There are lots of lovely lamb photos on that page, but if lambs don’t distract and soothe you then how about kittens? A live webcam of kittenage, it is my most favourite thing ever – and may go some way to explaining why I’ve been so unproductive of late – and is giving me great comfort as the news from London unfolds and as we hurtle towards Brexit-land)

I have been reading, or trying to read, Men From the Ministry by Simon Thurley.


Isn’t the cover wonderful? It’s taken from an advert for Shell from 1931 by E. McKnight Kauffer. There’s more of his work here.

I began reading it with great enthusiasm having found it in our library and after seeing this review by Rosemary Hill whose Stonehenge I’ve long been meaning to read. The enthusiasm has waned, this could be me suffering from inattention, it could be Thurley’s inexplicable omission of photos of kittens and lambs, or it could be that it’s simply not very good. I am in awe of anyone who manages to write a book, but, as I often tell the children, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Admittedly Simon Thurley isn’t likely to write on my newly painted walls with pink felt tip, but equally just because he could write a book about the history of English Heritage doesn’t mean he should have done so. I discovered while I was doing my PhD that I could write chapters of a bonkbuster to entertain my fellow researchers, it’s certainly not what I should have been doing, but I digress, again. Anyway, I’m still undecided as to whether the fault lies with me, Mr Thurley or the absence of kittens. I shall continue reading and probably produce a review for you.

I do have some reviews and blog posts from other people too, Jon and Martyn have promised me reviews and I think Kate has a post too.

There will be news of HARN 2017 – just as soon as I get myself organised and stop lurching about the place looking for cake/coffee/letters and my spectacles.

Next week, perhaps.

In the meantime, stay safe, have a good weekend, but mainly stay safe


*Yes, it’s a rubbish pun but I felt compelled to write it.

Archaeology and Interdisciplinarity

March 11, 2017

Marga has been in touch to say:

Dear colleagues of HARN

The 3-year project “Archeology and interdisciplinarity: an archaeological-historical research on interdisciplinary relations in the History of Archeology (19th and 20th centuries) ” was successful in obtaining funding and it officially started on 1 January this year. You can read some information about this project on

 About project members (in Spanish):

There are several activities already organised:

 Seminar on 3 April at the University of Barcelona If you are interested please send an email to . As places are limited to the capacity of the room. This seminar will be in Spanish

  • We are also planning to have sessions linked to the project both at the UISPP in Paris in June 2018 and
  • at the EAA annual meeting in Barcelona in September 2018. You will hear more about us!

 Best wishes,


quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods

March 10, 2017

conflict antiquities

With an urgency that is highlighted by UNESCO’s consideration of “treasure hunters” and cultural trafficking –
regulation on metal detectors and underground monitoring systems
and the imprisonment of (no-longer-police constable) David Cockle for illicit metal detecting, (open-access) Cogent Social Sciences have published my quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods.

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Pedro Bosch Gimpera Lecture

March 8, 2017

Brendan O’Connor has been in touch to say his  lecture to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland about Pedro Bosch Gimpera and his Rhind Lectures of 1936 is now available online.  It is on:, look for Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Anniversary Meeting and AGM 2016 and scroll forward just over 60 minutes past the business of the AGM.

Professor Dai Morgan Evans

March 4, 2017


Professor Dai Morgan Evans passed away this week: the very best of academic friends to me. Dai will be sadly missed by current and former staff and students of the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester and many more in the world of British archaeology.

dscn9685 Dai lecturing at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, 2011

Born in 1944, Dai had ties with Chester and its archaeology since childhood. His career began studying archaeology at Cardiff and he served as assistant director of the famous South Cadbury excavations under Leslie Alcock. As an Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, he was instrumental in bringing into existence the Welsh Archaeological Trusts. His case work took him across Wales and England during a career based first in Cardiff and then in London. Leaving English Heritage in 1992, he became General Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London, steering it…

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Post Liberal Public Archaeology at the EAA 2017

March 3, 2017

Researching Digital Archaeology

The last year has seen two extraordinary political events: the UK voting to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as next President of the USA. These are not isolated events and took place before a backdrop of a seeming wider rise of the right across Europe, from rightward shifts of previously left and centrist parties to unabashed Nazis. Accompanying this has been a lot of liberal commentary on the idea that something has gone badly wrong, something we don’t like has happened and something must be done. Archaeology and archaeologists, working between people and the material world, have a role to play in understanding and interpreting these changing times and communicating that understanding to other people in ways that help them engage as they see fit.

But there are plenty of people who are not surprised by what has happened; people who locate the origins of…

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More about PATC

March 3, 2017

More information about the twitter conference

Researching Digital Archaeology

A bit more about the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference (PATC or Patsy to friends henceforth) to be held on the 28 April 2017. Please see previous post for more information and how to submit to the conference.

It is on Twitter, so you don’t need to be anywhere, or travel, or even get out of bed.

There will be two key note presentations from Professor Shawn Graham from Carleton University and Dr Colleen Morgan from York University. Both are active and very well respected researchers, teachers, and authors on numerous publications related to the subject of digital archaeology.

Each ‘speaker’ will get a 15 minute slot allocated under one of 7 thematic strands, outlined below. During this time, they can tweet between 6-12 tweets using the relevant hashtag about their paper.

Speakers can include any kind of media in their tweets, from images to GIFS (as long as they…

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