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Raising Horizons Update

January 14, 2017

Remember back in October I blogged about Raising Horizons the collaboration between photographer Leonora Saunders and TrowelBlazers? Well, the Evening Standard reports that the multi-media exhibition is due to go on display on the 1st of February at Burlington House, see the Raising Horizons twitter feed for more details and locations of the travelling exhibition.



January 13, 2017

That’s the sound of life whizzing past and me realising that I said 3 weeks ago (or was it 4? 5?) that I’d do a summary of the HARN year. Instead I got caught up in Christmas; with 2 children it’s a very big deal in this part of HARN Towers, many Frozen viewings, Minecraft conversations and chocolate consumption later I’ve washed up here on the shore of post Christmas with Half Man Half Biscuit running through my head and am finally getting round to the summary.

So, what did we do last year? Well, the papers from HARN 2015 have been published, or at least most of them, Helen Wickstead‘s paper is still rumbling through the digital process but should be there soon. We held a well attended 2 day conference in Rome in conjunction with the Swedish Institute in Rome on the Histories of Archaeology in the Graeco-Roman World. The abstracts and other information can be found here. And, we (the administrators) have discussed what we’ll be doing (conference/workshop wise) this year and next. We haven’t actually agreed what we’ll be doing, but we have discussed it – and if you have any suggestions do contact us.

We published 172 posts on the blog during 2016, that’s 54 more than in 2015 and works out at 3.3 posts a week. I’d tell you how many of those were written by me, by Kate, by Martyn, and by Jon etc but I’d have to trawl through them all and frankly my life is too short for that. Some. We posted book reviews, conference reviews, museum reviews, new research and think pieces as well as irrelevant remarks about cats, chickens and children (that would be my main contribution, thank you). Our most popular posts were the CfP for the Rome conference, unsurprisingly, my piece about Stephen, Csaba Szabó’s Cserni Conference report and Kate’s book review of On the Nile in the Golden Age of Travel. I’m not sure what, if anything, that tells us since these are presumably non-members finding us through various search engines or other blog referrals. Most of our external visitors follow us via wordpress reader or come from Facebook or Twitter, although quite a few have found us via Erik’s postgraduate opportunities blog, Kate’s blog Adventures in History and Archaeology, the Antiquity site and Rick’s Sheltering Memory blog.

We had 12,522 views, up by 4,233 on 2015, 5,847 visitors as opposed to the 3,712 of 2015. Most of our visitors are from western Europe, the United States and Australia, which reflects our membership. Our membership increased to 186 which means we gained over 20 members in 2016, this may not sound many but not only do we gain new members every year, the number of people joining HARN also increases every year.

I’d tell you what I’ve learnt from our Twitter stats too but not only do I not understand what any of those mean (we had 1561 impressions last week – is this good?) I’ve also hit the point of ‘lies, damned lies and statistics‘. I think we can safely say that, just like the blog, people are following us, people like our tweets, this is good.

So, in summary, despite my personal feelings about the awfulness of 2016, HARN has had an excellent year. We are steadily growing as a network, reaching more people than ever before and getting increasing numbers of site visitors. Yay!

On that positive note I shall wish you a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back next week, probably


UCL IoA History of Archaeology Network

January 12, 2017

Exploring Memories: Museum Postcards 1900-1930

UCL Institute of Archaeology, Room 612
6 pm-7 pm Tuesday 31 January

Speaker Jamie Larkin (Birkbeck)

Until recently, little attention has been paid to the institutional history of museums in the UK. However, it is increasingly clear that many museum activities have long and complicated lineage that can shine a light on historical and contemporary practices of exhibiting culture.

This talk traces the production and sale of museum postcards from 1900-1930. It explores what museums aimed to achieve by reproducing their collections in such a way, while also considering the practical implications that commercial activities had for these institutions.

Trust Falls and #Discovery in #Archaeology

January 10, 2017

Falling into archaeology. . .

Adventures in History and Archaeology



I hesitate to say trust falls, but it seemed like a catchy title (and this gif from Mean Girls is great).  I will be talking about falling into discoveries of the archaeological kind, however.  They may have actually looked a little like when Gretchen Weiners fell.  Except sandier. And with a horse.  And no women.

One of the best parts about the history of archaeology is that it does lend itself to a bit of adventure.  It seems there is always a new place to go, a new tunnel to crawl through, or a new tomb to enter.  How to find these new and hidden places?  Well, in the late 19th and early 20th century, sometimes they just fell into them.  As I’ve been doing my latest research, I’ve run across a few of these stories and I couldn’t resist sharing them.  I’m also sharing them in…

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Vote! Current Archaeology Awards

January 9, 2017

Finally, something we can vote for where whoever wins it’ll be a good thing and the results won’t change the world as we know it, worryingly this is now my criteria for an election!

HARN member, Chris Evans, has reminded me that the Mucking Prehistory Volume Lives in Land has been nominated in Current Archaeology’s ‘Research Project of the Year’ awards-category. Given how rare it is for a  volume appearing in a Historiography & Fieldwork Series to get noticed and given how rare it is for a history of archaeology book to be nominated this is a good opportunity for HARN members to weigh in with their votes. You can read about the nominations here, and the closing date for voting is the 6th of February with the winners to be announced on the 24th of February.

As well as Research Project of the Year there are other categories you can vote for including ‘Archaeologist of the Year’ (do please consider the wonderful Mark Knight in that category) and ‘Rescue Project of the Year’ (ahem, Must Farm) – you can see all the categories and entries here.

So do go and vote, whoever wins it will be wonderful and if Mucking wins it’s a win for historiography.


TAG in the Deep South

January 6, 2017
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Howard on TAG


Not every year, but most years, I attend the annual Theoretical Archaeology Group meeting. On 19-21 December 2016, the latest conference was hosted by the University of Southampton’s archaeologists. They were celebrating their 50th anniversary as an academic discipline at Southampton in 2016. This was my 18th TAG in 23 years!

Despite the distance from Chester, I was delighted to attend and present as well as to see a die-hard core of four of my undergraduate and two of my postgraduate students there too.

Well done Southampton for a well-organised and entertaining TAG, with highlights including:

  • a Christmas market and suitable social events including the TAG party which followed the Antiquity Quiz;
  • an enjoyable particularly mortuary archaeology-ladened academic programme (although the official theme was ‘Visualisation’);
  • a fascinating Keynote Antiquity Lecture by Prof Rosemary Joyce of Berkeley about the contemporary archaeology of nuclear waste disposal in the US entitled Visions…

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Archaeology Conferencing: Inclusivity and Beyond

January 6, 2017
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Some very interesting points made by Howard


Conference Benefits

In my view, conferences have manifold benefits and significances for researchers at every stage of their career from student to retiree. For me, I think they are important, focused time to network, learn about and think about other’s research, develop my own projects and ideas, and present my working ideas and near-complete work. They are one element of my activities and identity as a public intellectual and academic.

I like and regularly attend the annual TAG conferences. I go to the EAA conferences when I can. More rarely I’ve showed up at the Leeds IMC. I also attend many other workshops, seminars, colloquia and conferences on themes and periods that are relevant to my research. Last year, 2016, for example, I supported my students organising their own public day conference in Chester –Dead Relevant – and presented therein. In addition, I presented a further 8 conference papers…

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