Archaeology is everywhere. Unfortunately.
On the one hand, this is brilliant for me. Every place, object and landscape is loaded with histories, no matter how unprepossessing its appearance.
On the other hand, it makes for poor company. I am, I’m afraid, an incurable archaeologist. Eyes down when a path skirts a ploughed field, excitable when a street name evokes a lost landscape, tracing prehistoric palaeochannels through suburbia.
Archaeology is too often still perceived as an abstract, rarefied pursuit, conducted by enthusiastic oddballs, focused on the spectacular and impinging on public consciousness when the latest king, massacre or hoard is brought blinking into the light. Misconceptions about the role, process and purpose of archaeology in the UK are also rife, and we run the very real risk of causing irreparable harm to the heritage we value.
Almost everyone I encounter has an interest in some aspect of past human experience. I’ve also come to realise how frequently the material legacy of the past is poorly understood and misused, and seen first hand how a snippet of archaeological information can transform people’s appreciation of a place.
This blog has three aims:
- to discuss aspects of the archaeology of everyday encounters, and to bring to life archaeological finds which might otherwise merit only a sentence in an obscure report and an eternity on a museum shelf.
- to talk about aspects of the archaeological process, and in particular to highlight the many and varied roles that archaeologists play in public life outside of academia.
- to present thoughts and ideas on public archaeology and the public understanding of archaeology.
I hope you enjoy it.
All views and opinions expressed are my own, and may not reflect those of my employers.