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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Wednesday, December 18 • 9:30am - 1:00pm
TAG40 | Excavating Archaeology: The Power of Process

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When working on an excavation, we move down the stratigraphic profile of a site, stripping away layers as we define new contexts. In moving down through the soil, we build up an understanding of the site, adjusting our approach accordingly (Hodder 1999). But the work of archaeology does not end when objects are lifted from the ground. Processes such as conservation, restorations, and subsequent de-restorations add physical layers to the surface of objects as we attempt to organise and interpret them. We also build up by adding metaphorical layers of meaning. Finds become enmeshed with other objects through the generation of archival records, practices of storage and display, and through the making of reproductions.With the recent archival turn in archaeology (Baird 2011; Baird and McFadyen 2014) the excavation of these accumulated layers of meaning has become part of archaeologist’s work. This opens up the idea of the field site, demonstrating an urgent need to examine these processes of meaning making across a variety of settings. We invite commentators to discuss the fundamental methodological questions of where and how we construct archaeological knowledge and the power that these processes hold over our understanding and interpretation. Papers could consider, but are not limited to:

The production of knowledge in the archaeological record and excavations in the archive
The use of reproduction-making in learning about the past
Restoration and de-restoration as shaping perceptions of ancient objects and societies
Conservation as interpretationEthnography as a tool for excavating archaeological knowledge.

Baird, J.A. 2011. Photographing the Dura Europa’s 1928-1937: An Archaeology of the Archive. American Journal of Archaeology 115(3), 427-446.
Baird, J.A. and McFadyen, L. 2014. Towards an Archaeology of Archaeological Archives. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 29(2), 14-31.
Hodder, I. 1999. The Archaeological Process: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishers: Oxford.

Organisers: Abbey Ellis; University of Leicester and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford • Beth Hodgett; Birkbeck College, University of London & Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

9:30 | Session organisers | Introduction

9:40 | Abbey Ellis, University of Leicester and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford | Cast in the Past: Histories Ancient and Modern

10:00 | Annelies Van de Ven, Université Catholique de Louvain | Questioning the Copy: Squeezes as Subjective Interpretations in the Archaeological Record

10:20 | Chloë Ward, UCL | Counting cards – Archiving the Excavation and Excavating the Archive

10:40 | Dr. Heather Keeble, Independent researcher | Many Hands in the Pot:
the production of archaeological knowledge in nineteenth-century Britain

11:00 | - | BREAK

11:30 | Beth Hodgett, Birkbeck College, University of London & Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. | “Our footprints in these sands of time”: Time, travel and legacy in O.G.S. Crawford’s photographs of Sudan

11:50 | Dr. Katy Soar, University of Winchester | Mino-tourism: Picture postcards and the creation of the Minoans

12:10 | Jonathan Paul Mosca, University of Aberdeen | The Language of Archaeology: How the Presentation of Archaeological Research Changes in Different Languages

12:30 | Mark Dolan, University of Southampton & British Museum | Boats out of Water: Tracing the impact of whim, bias and disinterest on archaeological knowledge through Cypriot terracotta boat models

12:50 | Session organisers | Discussion

13:00 | - | END


Abbey Ellis

University of Leicester and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Annelies Van de Ven

Université Catholique de Louvain

Dr. Heather Keeble

Independent researcher

Beth Hodgett

Birkbeck College, University of London & Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Dr. Katy Soar

University of Winchester

Jonathan Paul Mosca

University of Aberdeen

Mark Dolan

University of Southampton & British Museum

Wednesday December 18, 2019 9:30am - 1:00pm GMT
Room 728 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL

Attendees (6)