TAG2019-UCL has ended
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is delighted to host the 41st annual Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference in December 2019. Founded in 1937, the Institute is one of the largest centres for world archaeology, archaeological sciences and heritage & museum studies in the UK, situated in the heart of the capital.

Venue: UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
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Monday, December 16 • 1:30pm - 5:00pm
TAG25 | Radical Archaeology: What is it? How do we do it? Why do we need it?

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The delivery of the archaeological experience to society, while well-intentioned, remains largely and fundamentally undemocratic: community projects organised on a top-down basis; professional and academic archaeologists as self-imposed historical gatekeepers; and dominant historical narratives preserved by professionals and delivered to the public, with limited
opportunity for personal engagement or interpretation (including ongoing inaccessibility of conferences to laypeople)! In the current climate of religious and political extremism, refugee crises, media manipulation, and climate collapse, living our lives on a historically informed basis is more important than ever.

We propose that in order for archaeology to truly serve the interests and expectations of communities, its practice should embrace a more politically-aware approach, as offered by a more radical archaeology. The definition of radical is “…of change or action: going to the root or origin; touching upon or affecting what is fundamental; thorough, far-reaching; revolutionary” (OED). This house proposes revisiting and revitalising the concept of radical archaeology, as previously outlined by the Radical Archaeology Forum, Archaeologists Against War and Archaeologists for Global Justice. Can we construct a truly democratic and participatory practice, while excluding discriminatory views? Does the layperson have every right to interpret the past subjectively, or should we impose limits?

We propose a panel discussion with speakers providing different viewpoints, and discussion from the floor. This panel intends to spark debate about the political state of archaeology today and its implications, and how we might revolutionise archaeological practice to prevent stagnation and promote socio-intellectual equality.

Organisers: Rebecca Hearne; University of Sheffield • Umberto Albarella; University of Sheffield

13:30 | Umberto Albarella, University of Sheffield | Why radical archaeology

13:45 | Rebecca Hearne, University of Sheffield | The Archaeological Imagination: radical archaeology and mental health recovery

14:00 | Alexander Aston, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford | Against the Curio Cabinet and towards a Storied Past

14:15 | Caitlin Kitchener, University of York | Martyrs for the Cause: A radical archaeology built on historical radicalism

14:30 | Brian Broadrose, UMass Dartmouth |

14:45 | Umberto Albarella, University of Sheffield; Rebecca Hearne, University of Sheffield | Free-flowing general discussion chaired by session organisers

15:10 | - | BREAK

15:40 | Umberto Albarella, University of Sheffield; Rebecca Hearne, University of Sheffield | Free-flowing general discussion chaired by session organisers

17:00 | - | END


Umberto Albarella

University of Sheffield

Rebecca Hearne

University of Sheffield

Alexander Aston

School of Archaeology, University of Oxford

Caitlin Kitchener

University of York

Brian Broadrose

UMass Dartmouth

Monday December 16, 2019 1:30pm - 5:00pm GMT
Room 777/80 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL