The enchantment of the archaeological record

A case for flipping archaeological practice around from a crisis-led model to an enchantment-led model…

I have the great fortune of presenting tomorrow at the European Association of Archaeologists’ annual conference, hosted this year in sunny Barcelona. I’m in an incredible session called Human, Posthuman, Transhuman Digital Archaeologies, featuring some of my heroes and professional inspirations (Friday 7 Sept, 14:00 – 18:30, Room: UB220, Hashtag:#S363). You can read many of their full papers online on Colleen’s website.

As it’s the culmination of many years of my thinking, I’m not able to circulate my 8000-word paper (it will hopefully be published in full very shortly). However I have tried to distil the argument into a few slides, copied below. In distilling the argument down so much, I’ve had to make a lot of generalising statements (a few of the most blatant of which are highlighted via *an asterisk). I do not claim there are no exceptions, and I am certainly not the first to put forward aspects of this argument. What I am hoping to do, however, is draw everything together into a workable model of practice that is not grounded in the discipline’s normative crisis mode of operation. This is my first attempt at articulating an enchantment model for archaeology.

While there are literally hundreds of people who have worked with me to refine these ideas, I need to explicitly acknowledge Katrina Gargett, Sierra McKinney, Sophia Mirashrafi and Angeliki Tzouganatou, whose research endeavours are allowing us to test some of this model in practice. I am indebted to you all.

I hope to see everyone in Barcelona or otherwise discuss these issues in other venues!

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #1

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #2

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #3

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #4

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #5

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #6

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #7

Sara Perry @archaeologistsp #8

What archaeologists do: The site report and what it means to excavate a hard drive

Colleen Morgan and I have posted our last Savage Minds blog on our archaeological media archaeology project. Please check it out – if for no other reason than to see Colleen’s Harris Matrix of a hard drive. For us this is just the first stage of a longer research endeavour, and I hope you’ll stay tuned to our progress on our own web profiles & related publications.

We’ve had a nice number of shares of our method (thank you so much!), and we’re very keen now for feedback: who else is doing such work? what other disciplines are engaging with related questions of potential relevance to us? what have we missed? what data would you like to see collected? what questions would you have asked of the hard drive? which other professionals outside of archaeology/anthropology might be keen to discuss refinement of this programme of investigation?

We’ve been so pleased with your support & interest, and we hope to keep up the conversation as we move on to the next phase of our investigations. Thank you!

MAD-P Harris Matrix
MAD-P Harris Matrix by Colleen Morgan

What archaeologists do: Research Design and the Media Archaeology Drive Project (MAD-P)

Colleen and I have just published the research design for our media archaeology project on Savage Minds. MAD-P – The Media Archaeology Drive Project – is indebted to our colleague Neil Gevaux, who has helped us to secure the materials at the core of our studies. Your comments on the design are so much appreciated, and stay tuned for our forthcoming posts on the recording, analysis and interpretation of our field site: a found hard drive. Read more here: http://savageminds.org/2014/09/22/media-archaeology-drive-project/

MAD-P documentation
MAD-P documentation (Photo by Colleen Morgan)