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Call for Papers: HARN International Conference 2017

May 24, 2017

‘Not within the scope of this argument’:Archives and Rabbit Holes


  HARN (Histories of Archaeology Research Network) Conference 2017

3 November 2017

UCLan Campus

Preston, UK

 HARN 2017

As archaeologists and historians, we depend upon archives as crucial repositories of primary and secondary sources.  We visit them to dive deeper into our subjects and to learn about people and events on a personal level.  Not only are archives rich in unpublished sources that undoubtedly add new angles to our scholarship, but they also produce a number of curious topics that simply do not fit within the scope of our projects.  The goal of this conference is to highlight the utility of archives in our work as historians and archaeologists and we hope to analyse the purpose of archives in our unique investigations while at the same time answering questions about archival research. We focus specifically on the idea of research rabbit holes.  We have all fallen into these, but what subjects keep leading us astray?  Or are we led astray?  Does the seemingly unrelated material bring us back to our original research?  We have all experienced the mischief of archives and their materials but they do not always fit in the scope of our larger research.  We invite presentations that talk about and analyse the important influence archives, archival materials, and the tangents that pull us away temporarily.

Papers may focus on the study of archival research as a methodology, but we will give preference to papers that allow researchers to discuss a topic that they have found interesting but that does not fit within the scope of their usual projects.

We are seeking abstracts of 250 words for papers/presentations that will be no longer than 20 minutes.  By August 1, 17:00 GMT, send your abstracts in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format with your name, institutional affiliation, title, and contact information to  Please note that all presenters must be members of HARN, which is free, or will join automatically upon acceptance.

The Lake District, or What I didn’t do on my holiday.

August 18, 2017

Wordsworth may have managed to wander as lonely as a cloud around the fells, we were more like a group of noisy sheep amongst other noisy sheep. Even in spring he’d have a job these days to find an unoccupied bit of scenery. The Lake District is beautiful but so. many. people. so. much. noise. Admittedly we were stacking the odds by taking a talkative 11 year old and a chatterbox 5 year old, and then we compounded this by spending a day in Windermere, the biggest and busiest of the lakes, but even so – people, people everywhere. Look, the Ordnance Survey even say that the Lakes are their most popular maps. Surely there must come a point when there’s no more room? When they have to put a sign up on the M6 saying ‘Lake District Full. Please keep driving, have you been to Carlisle? It’s surprisingly lovely, try there. Or, y’know, you could just go home, you don’t have to go on holiday, go home and do all those jobs you’ve been meaning to do, like for evah.’ I’m almost certain* that when we lived in Southampton they did this in summer with the New Forest. There would be warnings on the A31 and A338, they’d lower the barriers, raise the drawbridges, put up blockades, initiate siege procedures and send out TV and radio news flashes that the Forest had reached capacity and not another person could squeeze in.

It’s entirely possible I am being over-sensitive and unnecessarily sour, it is week 4 of the school summer holidays here and an isolation tank or solitary confinement is looking increasingly attractive.

But, the Lake District, lovely, it really is very lovely, even with my children and lots of other people, in fact my children were lovely in the lovely Lake District, and everyone we met was also lovely. And we did have a lovely time (I am going to think of another adjective soon, I promise). As I’m sure you know there’s lots and lots of archaeology in the Lake District, chuck a stone and you’re guaranteed to hit something old (or someone, so maybe don’t throw stones after all), take a look at any Ordnance Survey map and you’ll see a gazillion archaeology symbols, prehistoric



industrial archaeology

– the lakes has it all. We didn’t visit any of it. If your joy is architecture there are plenty of Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian examples. We didn’t visit any of those, either. Regardless of the long tradition of investigating archaeology in the region we didn’t go anywhere near any monument, historic building or museum. The nearest we got to any archaeology was a boat trip on Coniston Water where we passed the site of Donald Campbell‘s fatal attempt to break the water speed record (again) in 1967. However, on the up side we didn’t visit The World of Beatrix Potter, it’s a good job the 5 year old reads very slowly and we managed to whisk her past all the signs before she’d managed to read them.

So, a week completely free of archaeology of any kind, but because we were based at Coniston and, despite appearances to the contrary, this is supposed to be a histories of archaeology blog I shall tell you an archaeological anecdote: W.G Collingwood the antiquary lived on the shores of Coniston – in order to be close to John Ruskin. In the late 20s the author Arthur Ransom also moved to Coniston, he’d known the Collingwoods since the 1890s and they had taught him to sail. From 1929 Ransom produced his Swallows and Amazons books, and the characters are supposedly based on the Collingwood children and grandchildren, in particular, Dick Callum


Dick Callum copyright Arthur Ransome

was based on Robin Collingwood, aka The Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Magdalen College, Oxford. R.G. Collingwood (son of W.G.) was a historian and archaeologist specialising in Romano-British archaeology, he researched Hadrian’s Wall, as well as writing enormously influential articles about the philosophy of history.

And, on that tenuous archaeological connection I’m going to leave you. We’re away again next week, visiting Scarborough – which I have written about before here and here – and Buckingham, I may find something relevant to tell you about these places, but equally I may decide to spare you my specious attempts to turn my holidays into blog posts, in either case I’ll return in a fortnight.

Until then, have a great weekend, read some Arthur Ransome


*The problem I have with being prone to exaggeration is that I substitute my own imaginings, then forget the original details and assume that what I ‘remember’ is what actually happened. For all I know I’m basing this on once going past a campsite in the New Forest that had a sign up saying it was full and from that I’ve invented an entire seasonal lock down. Who can tell?


August 14, 2017


Bart Wagemakers, Utrecht University 

Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education

Next to my affiliation to the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht as a lecturer and researcher at the History Department, I coordinate the Non-Professional Archaeological Photographs project ( which aims to preserve non-professional documentation of archaeological campaigns – prior to the 1980s – to the future and make it accessible to the public via digital archives. The term ‘non-professional’ refers to records made by visitors or participants of excavations who were not part of the trained staff, but who assisted as part of their continuing education or out of interest, for instance students, volunteers, reporters or sponsors. Secondly, this category of documentation includes also the private photos, slides or films made at the excavation by the archaeological staff.
This project reflects my interest in the way archaeology developed in the previous decades and the hope to trace forgotten or lost records which might contribute to the awareness of the history of archaeology.

Welcome, Bart, and many thanks for joining our community!

a note on a visit to Ukraine

August 10, 2017

conflict antiquities

When I ended up in Turkey during the coup (or, as locals insistently say, coup attempt), some friends implored me to leave. Yet Istanbul has such a place in the European imagination that people could understand why I stayed. In fact, the -phobias and -isms that really drive me away from Turkey existed before the coup and the friendships and experiences that draw me back to Istanbul (which are not part of the international social imagination of the city) persisted after the coup.

It has not been the same with Ukraine. Kyiv lacks the cultural cachet of even Warsaw, let alone Budapest or Prague or Berlin or Paris. Sadly, despite the mountains, steppes and Black Sea, Transcarpathian cuisine, café culture and drinking culture, as well as a more traditional artisticcultural renaissance that has been achieved amidst crisis and conflict, friends and colleagues have repeatedly asked why I am…

View original post 337 more words

Museum of London Docklands

August 4, 2017

As promised (threatened?) a post about the Crossrail exhibition. Rather than write another epic essay this one is going to be more photo based:


It’s an excellent exhibition, there’s plenty of interactive stuff20170729_110227

(The 11 year old promptly donned high visibility clothing and a hard hat – I’m hoping he thought ‘engineer’ rather than ‘archaeologist’ – someone has to keep me in my old age and I reckon an engineer’s wages beats an archaeologist’s by a long way)


(Another by the way, that sign says a third of the Crossrail construction employees were women, so how come there are no women in that photograph?)

However, plenty of interactive thingies – click on them to find out more

You can also measure yourself against a woolly mammoth, play with a section


Watch many, many videos



mostly about the archaeology, including discussions of the morality of excavating burial grounds


as well as discussion of what archaeologists do with these human remains having dug them up


There is a little bit about the engineering too


Video of big tunnel making machine – yes, that is its technical name.


Woooooh! Brand new tunnel!

but obviously the emphasis is on the archaeology and very much archaeology as it’s conventionally interpreted (I’ll come back to this in another post).

For those of a more traditional bent there are plenty of cases full of stuff

Lots and lots of written information too, not just the boards in the cases but also on the walls

Inevitably there’s the obligatory reconstruction drawing


Oh dear! I appear to have simply pointed the camera at the olden days folk picture and not bothered with focusing – but you know what it looks like, you’ve seen it a million times before.

I’ll forgive them for this though, they had funky signs:


Informative displays:


and a real attempt, through video, photography and paperwork, to show what an archaeologist actually does:

The verdict from this turret of HARN towers is that it’s a well thought out, interesting, informative exhibition, it discusses the problems faced by archaeologists working within the construction of an enormous new railway and dealing with expected and unexpected material remains. It tries to present the reality of urban archaeology not the romantic myth – there’s dirt, there’s machinery, noise and you could find yourself working on the old Crosse and Blackwell factory site rather than unearthing a Roman cemetery (I’d far prefer the factory but I suspect the general public think we only deal with the latter). When we went, on a rainy Saturday, it was well attended despite having been open for 5 months and I can imagine people visiting more than once. So, if you find yourself in London in the next month (it closes on the 3rd of September) it’s well worth a visit and not just if you’re an archaeologist – the 11 year old enjoyed it (although obviously he preferred this) and while you wouldn’t want to take young children to see it the MoL have realised this and provide a free play area in the Mudlarks Gallery. They also have an excellent cafe, always good to know!

I’ve also been watching the documentaries about the building of the Elizabeth Line and I suspect I’m going to write a post or two about those, but not next week, next week this turret is relocating to the Lake District and there won’t be a post, I’ll be back in a fortnight.

Until then, have a great weekend and week, hopefully it isn’t raining where you are – unless you want it to rain, of course



August 2, 2017


Beth Hodgett, University of Oxford and Birkbeck College


Beth Hodgett has a background in Theology and Art History and is currently completing a MSc in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology with a particular focus on the materiality of archival photographs. Her current research explores archival spaces, and their role in ‘disciplining’ the researchers who work within them. This study forms the basis for her forthcoming PhD research on the photographic archive of OGS Crawford, which will explore themes of space/place, architecture and landscape.

Welcome, Beth, and many thanks for joining our community!

New Publication

August 1, 2017

Dotte-Sarout Emilie and Spriggs Matthew. 2017. Special Edited issue of the Journal of Pacific Archaeology, VOL 8, NO 1.


Pacific Prehistory and Theories of Origins in the Work of Reverend William Ellis

Eve Haddow

Notes and Queries on Anthropology: Its influence on Pacific prehistoric archaeology at the turn of the 20th century

Michelle Richards

How Dare Our ‘Prehistoric’ Have a Prehistory of Their Own?! The interplay of historical and biographical contexts in early French archaeology of the Pacific

Emilie Dotte-Sarout

Early German-language Analyses of Potsherds from New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago

Hilary Howes

Thomas G. Thrum and John F.G. Stokes: Australian archaeologists in paradise in the early twentieth century

Matthew Spriggs

Visualising Hawaiian Sacred Sites: The archives and J.F.G. Stokes’s pioneering archaeological surveys, 1906–1913

James Flexner, Mara A. Mulrooney, Mark D. McCoy, Patrick V. Kirch

The Head-hunters of the North and the Polynesian Shadow: Thor Heyerdahl’s skull-collecting act on Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands, 1937

Victor Melander

From Pessimism to Collaboration: The German Frobenius-Expedition (1938–1939) to Australia and the representation of Kimberley art and rock art

Martin Porr, Kim Doohan

‘The Dawn’ of Australian Archaeology: John Mulvaney at Fromm’s Landing

Billy Griffiths

CfP – In Search of Connections: The History of Ideas on Australia’s Links with the Indo-Pacific Region (and Beyond)

August 1, 2017

HARN Member, Emilie Dotte-Sarout, has been in touch about the following cfp:

The Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific (CBAP) project will run a session at the Australian Archaeological Association 2017 conference in Melbourne (6-8 December). The call for papers in now open – details available here: Submissions for oral and poster abstracts close 31 August 2017, and we welcome abstracts from far and wide!

Our session is as follows:

In Search of Connections: The History of Ideas on Australia’s Links with the Indo-Pacific Region (and Beyond)

The history of archaeology is marked by ideas of transcontinental and transoceanic connections, contacts, diffusion and migrations. In the 19th century, these had a particular impact in the regions of the world newly ‘discovered’ by Europeans. The period saw the establishment of colonial archaeologies as people questioned the ‘prehistory of others’, initially through an evolutionary framework. Australia was subject to many connectivity and migration theories, ranging from submerged land bridges to surrounding islands, ancient migrations between the Indo-Pacific at  large, and links to American or African continents. Archaeology with linguistics, ethnography, physical and cultural anthropology, art, and material culture studies were used to argue for past connections to more or less distant populations and cultures.

This session contextualises how such theories developed historically and changed over time in light of new scientific approaches and new evidence. We evaluate the development of ideas of ancient links to the surrounding island regions, and how these endured or vanished over time. Also, we consider the significant influence of inter-regional relations between scholars on Australian and Indo-Pacific archaeology.

 If you have any questions please contact Eve Haddow, Michelle Richards, or Emilie