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Posts Tagged ‘archaeology’

Public History
7 November 2012
Professor Alison Wylie (University of Washington)
Negotiating the past: Collaborative practice in cultural heritage research

 

Archaeological Dig, Monks Field, Partney (Wikipedia Commons)

Archaeological Dig, Monks Field, Partney (Wikipedia Commons)

Abstract: Archaeology has seen a major sea change in the last few decades as any number of stakeholders, especially Indigenous, Aboriginal, and First Nations descendant communities, demand accountability to their interests, their conventions of practice and conceptions of cultural heritage. What are the implications of this for archaeological practice? Internal debate in North America has been dominated by anxieties about the costs of response to these demands: the focus is on high profile examples of research opportunities lost and professional autonomy compromised by legal constraints and by intractable conflict. All too often this obscures local initiatives that illustrate what becomes possible when practice is reframed as a form of intellectual and cultural collaboration. In the case of collaborations with Native American communities, the archaeologists involved describe innumerable ways in which their research programs have been enriched, empirically and conceptually. I explore the legacies of community-based collaborative practice in archaeology, focusing on their implications for procedural norms that govern the adjudication of empirical robustness and credibility. I argue that conditions for effective critical engagement must include a requirement to take seriously forms of expertise that lie outside the research community.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Public History seminar
Negotiating the past: Collaborative practice in cultural heritage research
Professor Alison Wylie (University of Washington)
7 November 2012
English: Native American girl

English: Native American girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abstract

Archaeology has seen a major sea change in the last few decades as any number of stakeholders, especially Indigenous, Aboriginal, and First Nations descendant communities, demand accountability to their interests, their conventions of practice and conceptions of cultural heritage. What are the implications of this for archaeological practice? Internal debate in North America has been dominated by anxieties about the costs of response to these demands: the focus is on high profile examples of research opportunities lost and professional autonomy compromised by legal constraints and by intractable conflict. All too often this obscures local initiatives that illustrate what becomes possible when practice is reframed as a form of intellectual and cultural collaboration. In the case of collaborations with Native American communities, the archaeologists involved describe innumerable ways in which their research programs have been enriched, empirically and conceptually. I explore the legacies of community-based collaborative practice in archaeology, focusing on their implications for procedural norms that govern the adjudication of empirical robustness and credibility. I argue that conditions for effective critical engagement must include a requirement to take seriously forms of expertise that lie outside the research community.

Respondent: Dr Laura Peers
Pitt Rivers Museum and School of Anthropology, University of Oxford

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Digital History
Digital landscapes and Archaeology
Peter Rauxloh (Museum of London Archaeology)
6 December 2011

Internationally known as a leading expert on using databases in archaeology, the Museum of London’s Peter Rauxloh is the perfect person to talk about using digital technologies to understand the landscape.  Peter’s talk was live streamed by the IHR on 6 December and also recorded as a podcast. 

The talk centres on several case studies including Spitalfields Medieval Augustinian Cemetery in London.   The central question that he poses for this paper is what could not be done without digital technologies in archaeology?  Looking at tools ranging from Geo-referencing to three-dimensional modelling and more basic digital assets such as databases for recording large amounts of data (such as 11,000 skeletons at Spitalfields) it becomes immediately obvious just how important digital is to our understandings of archaeological remains and landscapes.  Take for instance the desire to know the orientation of all 11,000 skeletons and partial skeletons.  In the case of Spitalfield this information was not recorded for all finds but using GIS and other digital tools it was possible to work out the orientations from geo-referenced skulls and bone fragments.  It was also possible to map these against other landscape features such as to show how the burials related to the church or a line of wall.  From that data it was possible to show how people moved around the churchyard. 

Primarily Peter Rauxloh talks about the development of three digital technologies that have transformed the archaeological profession: 

  1. Databases (to handle and analysis large chunks of data)
  2. GIS (spatial distribution) 
  3. 3D Technologies (stratigraphic investigation)

Overall this is a highly useful introductory talk for anyone creating or making use of data obtained through digital means which examine archaeology and the landscape.

 To listen or watch this podcast please click here.

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