We recently received a request that we post a link to a survey on blogging in archaeology on our site here. Not wishing to refuse what sounds like an interesting Masters project, we thought we’d oblige.
To cut straight to the point; in this e-mail I will be asking if you are willing to contribute and participate in my research concerning blogs and social media about archaeology, on behalf of the ENGLAID blog.
I am currently writing my master’s thesis as a part of my specialisation in Heritage Management at Leiden University in the Netherlands, in which I am supervised by Monique van den Dries. My research will focus on the use of blogs and social media and how they contribute to the accessibility of archaeology in the Netherlands.
Public archaeology has been developing considerably in the Netherlands for the last couple of years, but much can still be improved concerning public outreach activities. This is why I have decided to focus my research on communication methods that are favourable in our current digital age and might make archaeology more accessible for a wider public.
For my research I will be looking at several blogs from both the UK and USA; in these countries blogging seems widely accepted and used a lot as a tool in creating support for archaeology, and I have come across some very interesting and successful blogs, of which your blog is one.
To be able to explore how blogging in archaeology contributes to public archaeology, I would like to question the bloggers and blog readers of these blogs. This is where my request comes in. I have set up a questionnaire in which I ask the visitors of your blog several questions regarding their motives for visiting the blog and so on. I would like to ask you if you are willing to either place this questionnaire on your blog, include it in your newsletter/subscription letter, or would like to share on social media (or, of course, share it through all three methods). Either way, the point is that the questionnaire reaches your visitors.
The questionnaire can be viewed here:http://goo.gl/forms/z3BAUTyYUL. All participants also have a chance to win a small prize; 6 issues of Archaeology Magazine!
It would help me a lot if you are willing to partake in my research! In return for your collaboration you receive my eternal gratitude, a mention in my research, insight into the results of the questionnaire (which gives you insight into the motives and wishes your the visitors) and a copy of my research when it is finished this summer.
Elmet Archaeology is a social enterprise run by some very lovely and talented individuals who believe that the past, history and archaeology are important to everybody, while Dearne Valley Archaeology Group are a community based archaeology society. They jointly supported DVAD 2014.
The conference was a really interesting and varied mix of speakers and topics, and all presentations were very well received. I was particularly interested in the talks that discussed community archaeology and volunteer based survey and excavation projects, such as Mercian Archaeology’s Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project and David Connolly of British Archaeological Jobs Resource discussing his work with Rampart Scotland. It’s great to see how archaeology and volunteers can come together on some truly exciting projects and the topic fit in very well with Elmet Archaeology’s own social enterprise and archaeological outreach work. I also found David Mennear’s discussion of the positive aspects of starting his osteoarchaeology blog These Bones of Mine and his pointers for people interested in getting blogging really fascinating.
My own talk was an introduction to the English Landscapes and Identities project as a whole and a little bit about my own research findings regarding grey literature so far. Here’s an exciting shot of me in action (trying to figure out how the pointer worked):
The presentation generated a lot of interest and some great discussion. It was a really fun day out (and involved a truly epic feast for lunch!) and all the speakers were both interesting and entertaining.
Thank you once again to Elmet Archaeology and Dearne Valley Archaeology Group, and especially to Lauren McIntyre for putting on such a great conference (and for kindly sharing their photos of the day). If you want to learn more about DVAD 2014 and the many other speakers of the day, check out Elmet Archaeology’s blog about the day.
This Sunday saw the culmination of a collaborative art and archaeology project that Miranda and I have undertaken at Horatio’s Garden and the Salisbury Hospital Spinal Unit (http://www.horatiosgarden.org.uk). Our hope when we embarked on this venture was that we could bring the wider world, in the form of the landscape view from Horatio’s Garden, to the patients of the Salisbury Hospital Spinal Unit. As far as we are aware, this is the first time that an archaeologist, an artist, a garden and a hospital have come together, so this was very much an exploratory project. We had no idea if this would work, but we are very proud to say that it did.
On Wednesdays and Fridays throughout September, Miranda and I installed ourselves in the garden, where Miranda worked on a landscape drawing and I put together a view board. My view board brought together information and photographs about the archaeology of the view, in particular the parishes of Clarendon and Alderbury (which form part of one of my case study areas), and the thoughts and observations of the patients, staff, visitors and volunteers at Horatio’s Garden. The conversations that gave rise to the latter turned out to be very wide-ranging, fascinating and immensely valuable. In the course of these conversations, people’s talents and broad interests also came to light, so come Sunday, we were able to put together a varied exhibition and entertaining set of talks that included works from photographers, one of whom was an aerial photographer, artists, a musician and people running a conservation project in Somerset. The icing to this cake was that 58 patients, staff, volunteers and visitors attended – including some staff who came in on their day off!
The positive ripples created by our time in the garden and by Sunday’s event have already led to new friendships – two people have even been overheard having an in-depth conversation about Roman coins. We feel that this was all achieved by a ‘light touch’ approach, and, most importantly, by a willingness of all involved to talk and to be generous with their time, talents and knowledge.
We very much hope this will be the beginning of a long collaboration with Horatio’s Garden. My very sincere thanks go to all those involved in Horatio’s Garden for sharing their spirit and for their generosity.