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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  Not only are archives rich in unpublished sources that undoubtedly add new angles to our scholarship, but they also produce a number of curious topics that simply do not fit within the scope of our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 Discovery of Roman London

September 24, 2017

I’m indebted to Debbie Challis (and Twitter) for notice of this free exhibition (11th September to 5th January) on the 19th century discoveries of Roman London and the work of Charles Roach Smith at the Guildhall Library from now until 5th January 2018 – more details here.

CfP – Life Writing in the History of Archaeology: Critical Perspectives

September 20, 2017

HARN members, Gabe and Clare have been in touch with this very exciting call for papers for an edited volume entitled:

Life Writing in the History of Archaeology: Critical Perspectives

‘Life-writing’ is a generic term meant to encompass a range of writings about lives or parts of lives, or which provide materials out of which lives or parts of lives are composed. These writings include not only memoir, autobiography, biography, diaries, autobiographical fiction, and biographical fiction, but letters, writs, wills, written anecdotes, depositions, marginalia, lyric poems, scientific and historical writings, and digital forms.

Zachary Leader, On Life Writing

Life writing is a well-established genre in the history of archaeology and has played a major part in the recent surge of research and writing in this field, forming the basis for ground-breaking studies of discipline formation, gendered labour, and social and intellectual networks.

The proposed volume will bring together critical historiographical perspectives on life writing in the history of archaeology. This could include reflections on the experiences of life writing and editing; critical textual analyses; and assessments of the intellectual value and significance of life writing as a genre. We welcome contributions on themes such as:

  • The genre of archaeological life writing
  • Sources in life writing: diaries, letters, papers
  • The formation and use of archives
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Professional, personal and public lives
  • Lives on (and in) the margins
  • Autobiography and self-fashioning
  • Writing the lives of networks and groups

We invite abstracts of c.300 words, to be submitted by 1 November 2017. We intend to submit a book proposal to a leading publisher by December 2017 and to receive chapter drafts by summer 2018 for editing and submission to publisher by autumn of 2018.

For submissions or queries please contact:

Gabe Moshenska

Clare Lewis



Views of an Antique land

September 19, 2017

Coming late to the party – as ever – I’ve only just discovered this


Four panelled greeting cloth with hand drawn scenes from Egypt. Creative Commons licence

I’m sure you all already know about it but if not head over there, wonderful things!


The Past in Pieces: Lego and Lost Civilisations

September 18, 2017

And, if you want more Lego recreations, take a look at this. Once again, thanks Erik

res gerendae

As I think I may have mentioned once or twice, I was a Lego-mad child. Of all the things under the tree on Christmas morning, Lego was always the most prized. Like many, I ‘grew out of’ Lego in my teens, only to come back to it as I’ve got older and had more disposable income. That distinctive rattle of a cardboard box full of little plastic bricks still has a Pavlovian effect on me, equal measures calming and relaxing. The cares of the world slip away and the inner ten-year-old is unleashed.

I’ve always concentrated my Legoine affections primarily on Space and Castle Lego, with occasional forays into Pirates. When I visited my mum last December, I dragged eight boxes of Lego from the shed and spent Christmas afternoon rebuilding a Space-themed Christmas present of 20 years earlier. By last week, the Castle itch was reasserting itself and…

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Lego, Pompeii, and the power of anachronism

September 17, 2017

Thanks to Erik for telling me about this

res gerendae

While doing research for my PhD thesis I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of anachronism. Broadly defined, anachronism means taking something from one historical time period and placing it in another. This can mean attributing modern ideas to ancient people, judging them by our values (or us by theirs), or it can mean something simple like imagining which historical figures you’d invite to dinner and wondering how they might interact. Ignorant anachronism can be dangerous as it misrepresents the past, often for gain in the present. Deliberate anachronism, like the dinner guest example, can be a lot of fun. Putting ourselves next to other periods from the past encourages us to think of ourselves as creatures from a particular part of history and to theorise about why we think the way we do. Similarly, when events and characters from different points in time are made to interact, interesting…

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Last Chance To See

September 14, 2017

Warren Elsmore’s Brick Dinos at the Harris Museum in Preston. It finishes on the 17th of September, which is this Sunday.

I realise this is of limited interest, few of you are in Lancashire (or indeed the UK) after all but if you are around here or planning to be in Cumbria next summer then do go and see his Dinosaurs, or indeed any of his other creations: Brick Wonders, Brick City or  – and I think this one would appeal to us all – Brick History. I’m definitely going to make a trip over to Stockton to see Brick History, and I’m really hoping it includes an archaeological dig – imagine the Nineveh excavations recreated in Lego? Or Chichen Itza? Elsmore created palaeontologists for this exhibition so archaeologists would be easy, surely? He could even re-use the tents.


There could be a whole exhibition of famous excavations built in Lego, Schliemann at Troy, Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun, Pompeii, Altamira, Olduvai Gorge – please chime in with the digs you’d like to see recreated, in the meantime these are my favourites from the Brick Dinos




And, best of all, a recreation of the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum


Like I said, if you get the chance to see Warren Elsmore’s work, grab it, the man is a Lego genius.


Claire Frampton: ‘Drama as a Learning Tool in Heritage’

September 13, 2017

For those of us who missed Tea With the Sphinx* here’s a little bit of what went on.
*Still not over this!

Tea with the Sphinx

The following post is by Claire Frampton following ‘Tea with the Sphinx’ 2017.

I work at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford as a Visitor Services Assistant and am undertaking a professional research portfolio. Exploring the potential to develop creative drama as an educational tool in museums and heritage, this is part of studying for the professional certificate Associateship of the Museums Association. Through my experience as a gallery attendant I identified a gap in the market for theatre in the museum education programme.

At ‘Tea With the Sphinx’ 2017 I presented a discussion of projects I have witnessed relating to ancient Egypt in museums and ideas for the future. This was a great opportunity to focus on one area of theatre in museums at a themed event. Below I describe some aspects of my presentation.

In 2011 the Ashmolean reopened its Egypt and Nubia Galleries after redevelopment of display of…

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