Monday, 17 November 2014

Call for Papers: Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions

Trans-Atlantic dialogues on cultural heritage began as early as the voyages of Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus and continue through the present day. Each side of the Atlantic offers its own geographical and historical specificities expressed and projected through material and immaterial heritage. However, in geopolitical terms and through everyday mobilities, people, objects and ideas flow backward and forward across the ocean, each shaping the heritage of the other, for better or worse, and each shaping the meanings and values that heritage conveys.

This conference is brought to you by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH), University of Birmingham and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP), University of Illinois and offers a venue for exploring three critical interactions in this trans-Atlantic dialogue: heritage, tourism and traditions.

The goal of the conference is to be simultaneously open-ended and provocative. We welcome papers from academics across a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, art history, architecture, business, communication, ethnology, heritage studies, history, geography, landscape architecture, literary studies, media studies, museum studies, popular culture,  postcolonial studies, sociology, tourism, urban studies, etc. 

Topics of interest to the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The heritage of trans-Atlantic encounters
  • Travelling intangible heritages
  • Heritage flows of popular culture
  • Re-defining heritage beyond the postcolonial
  • The heritage of Atlantic crossings
  • World Heritage of the Atlantic periphery
  • Rooting and routing heritage
  • Community and Nation on display
  • Visualising the Trans-Atlantic world

Abstracts of 300 words with full contact details should be sent as soon as possible but no later than 15th December 2014 to

Further information on the Conference and the Call for Papers can be found on the website

Monday, 10 November 2014

Lest We Forget: Ten Years of Professional World War I Archaeology in Flanders

Archaeology of the recent past, such as the study of the material remains of WWI, is a relatively new phenomenon. It is one thing to see WWI heritage as archaeological heritage but another when it comes to the daily handling of these material remains in the field. Several questions have arisen with the integration of the study of WWI relics in professional archaeology and, by extension, to archaeological practice. So are relics from the war seen as a legitimate subject of inquiry or does WWI archaeology still strive for recognition as a discipline?

Taking the archaeological research that has taken place over the past decade in the province of West Flanders as a case study a recent article in the European Journal of Archaeology investigates how this buried wartime heritage has been approached from  an archaeological perspective based on reports from fieldwork carried out by professional archaeologists.

With the commemoration of World War I (WWI) under way, a preliminary stocktaking can be made of archaeological research into the physical remains of this war. The question is to what extent the perspective on the study of WWI heritage, and consequently the way in which archaeological research into WWI remains has been conducted, has evolved over the last ten years..... These questions relate to the vision for the archaeology of the First World War. Where are we going with this discipline? How can we deal with the details of the material culture and what can they still teach us? What additional information can we gather by studying the archaeology of recent conflicts that we do not already know from written records? These are the most important issues that have been discussed over the last ten years.

Monday, 3 November 2014

INTERVIEW WITH AN EDITOR: Robin Skeates, Editor of European Journal of Archaeology

This week we are launching our new feature ‘Interview with an Editor’ and our first editor in the spotlight is the lovely Robin Skeates (Durham University, UK), editor of European Journal of Archaeology. Robin is a friend of C-U-D-I and wrote out first ever blog post!

Here's Robin in a cave in Sardinia

What are your main research interests?
My interests are broad and multi-faceted: on the one side, Central Mediterranean prehistory; on the other side, public archaeology, and museum and heritage studies. But they sometimes come together, particularly under visual and sensual culture studies.

What or who inspired you to work in this field?
I've always been close to archaeology, in one form or another. I grew up in a house next to a ruined Norman castle, where my brother and I used to play every day. We used to swing on tree creepers across the moat, like Tarzan ... until a creeper broke with me half way across.

Tell us a bit about your role as Editor and your overall goals for the publication.
My role as Editor is to keep the show on the road, and at a fast pace, since I need to bring out a new issue on time four times a year. I keep in close contact with our authors, our Editorial Board, peer reviewers, Maney - our publisher, and the European Association of Archaeologists (to whose members the journal belongs). My email account is always busy, and I have to travel regularly to international meetings and conferences, which means getting to know lots of interesting people. The main goals are to enhance the quality, breadth and reputation of the journal. It's taken a lot of hard work, but all the signs are that we really are succeeding.

How did you get involved with the journal?
Five years ago, my Durham colleagues, John Chapman and Marga Diaz-Andreu, suggested that I put my name forward to be the new Editor of the EJA. I'd already gained a fair bit of editorial experience and I am pro-European, so the decision wasn't hard. But I did ask my wife first, since I knew that it would involve a fair bit of work and time away from home.

Why is research into European archaeology so important?
In Europe, we're fortunate to have a deep and rich past all around us. Archaeological research comes with the responsibility to help people understand that past, in new, interesting, and scientifically rigorous ways.

What advice would you give to postgraduates who want to get into this field?
Come along to the annual conference of the European Association of Archaeologists. It's a great showcase for current archaeological research in Europe, and a good place to make contact with like-minded people.

Tell us a fun fact that no one else knows?
I once bit a medieval coin in half. I was working on an archaeological dig, and I found what I thought was a coin.  But I wasn't sure. So, like they used to do on Western films, I bit it to see if it was metal. It was ... but I bit too hard!

You can follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinSkeates
Visit the
European Association of Archaeologists website. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Why did the Vampire read C-U-D-I? And four other totally random questions answered for Halloween....

It’s Halloween this weekend so I thought I’d tell you some fun facts about its history and the some of the characters you'll expect to see on your doorstep on Friday... Ok so I cheated a bit this week and brought in more history than archaeology but I found it interesting so you hopefully you will too!

Why is Halloween celebrated on the 31st October? Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

Why do we wear Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating ?
The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas 
(November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).

Why are mummies always screaming?
For well over a century, the contorted features of ancient mummies have led to speculation of untold pain and horrible deaths. Archaeologists uncovering ancient tombs have often found the mummified corpses with their mouths agape or lips pulled back as if they are screaming or writhing in pain, indeed this has led to the portrayal of mummies in this state in the media, fiction and in your Halloween costumes.

So why were the mummies found with these terrified and pained expressions? 
The reason is a lot less horryfiying that you’d expect and simply due to the decomposition of a body after rigor mortis – if the jaw isn't strapped shut when a body is mummified it naturally falls open as the muscles relax during the process of decay, leaving a permanent "scream."

Why do witches fly on brooms sticks?
Why do witches fly on broom sticks? To get high of course!  Although you may be rolling your eyes at reading that, I bet you didn’t know that the joke is also surprisingly accurate....
According to research the reason is pharmacological. Hallucinogenic chemicals called tropane alkaloids are made by a number of plants including Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Hyoscyamus niger (henbane), Mandragora officinarum (mandrake), and Datura stramonium (jimsonweed).

During the Middle Ages, parts of these plants were used to make “brews,” “oyntments,” or “witches’ salves” for witchcraft, sorcery, and other nefarious activities.  It was quickly discovered that injesting these ointments led to some terrible sideeffects such as vomiting, rashes etc. and so in order to avoid these side-effects the hallucinogenic compounds were absorbed into the skin and the fastest way to get the ointment into your blood was through sweat glands. So how did the alleged witches apply said ointments? Yep you guessed it, by using the broomsticks!

You can read the rest below, but I warn you its definitely not something you can tell your kids!

Oh and finally...

Why did the Vampire read C-U-D-I? Because he heard it had good circulation!
Happy Halloween!

Monday, 20 October 2014

It’s Open Access Week! An overview of OA publishing in archaeology: an interview with Professor Alan Outram

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access.

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research- has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted but  what are the direct and widespread implications for OA publishing in archaeology?

We asked Professor Alan Outram (University of Exeter, UK) the co-editor of new OA journal Science and Technology of Archaeological Research, how to publish OA and the different considerations there might be for the archaeology community.

Professor Alan Outram
 Are there particular reasons why archaeology benefits from OA publishing?Archaeology has a large base of amateur/avocational support, in terms of volunteering, donors and general interest. OA publishing allows these valuable groups greater access to archaeological works, which can only increase interest and support. Archaeologists also work all around the world, often in places where local universities might struggle to fund appropriate digital access to subscription journals.

Why publish Gold OA? 
Open Access publishing is widely accepted to increase both readership and citation levels. It also allows access to a wider set of readers, including those not affiliated to institutions, or those whose institutions cannot afford expensive subscriptions. Increasingly, many funding bodies also require outputs that result from their support to be made freely available through OA. But why choose to pay for ‘Gold’ OA? The ‘gold’ route has some significant benefits, including the immediate open access availability, instead of waiting until the embargo periods of subscription journals to pass. The ‘as published’, properly typeset versions of papers are also made freely available, whereas many subscription journals retain copyright on those and only allow the author’s typescript versions to be made available. ‘Gold’ OA also has the significant benefit of using the publisher’s digital platform for the journal, which increases visibility, and ease of location and use.

What sort of archaeology is most likely to have funding for OA publishing?
Archaeological research funded by research councils is most likely to already have funding for OA. Projects where public impact is a key concern are also more likely to have built in the cost of open access publishing. These factors will depend very much on the policies of the country in which you work.

How much does it cost in general?
Costs to publish a Gold OA article vary widely, but are generally between $1000 to $3000 in the sciences and rather lower in the humanities and social sciences, $99 to $1500.

How does one find funding for that cost?
This will vary considerably, depending upon the country in which you are based. In some countries, for instance the UK, Universities have been given a stream of funding to help cover OA costs for existing research grants. It is also increasingly possible to build OA publishing costs into grant applications, as a valid line item. In some cases, Universities and other research organizations will have put aside some of their own funds to support OA, as they wish to invest in the benefits of increased citation and better public impact. Certainly, some individual researchers even invest in OA themselves, because of the increased exposure it gives to their work.

Who can advise me on how to obtain funding and how to pay?
Your librarian would be a good place to start for advice on local policies and funding.

As one of the Editors of a brand new OA journal in the science and technology of archaeological research, what do you anticipate the challenges will be?
The world of journal publishing is in a transitionary phase, with different models of publishing now competing. Hence, there is the challenge of convincing people that your journal’s model is the right one for their paper. Science and Technology of Archaeological Research offers rapid OA publishing within a rigorous framework of international peer-review, so I think it is a very attractive option. My job is to set the right tone from the outset. Publication with us needs to be fast and efficient, but high standards need to be maintained. Open access must not be confused with vanity publishing!