The Grand Challenges for Archaeology: A Blogging Carnival

Posted on January 1, 2016


Its been over two years since I launched the Blogging Archaeology Blog Carnival. I think that is too long to go without a gathering of the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere so for the new year I am going to run a short blog carnival. If are wondering ‘what’s a blog carnival?’- it is when a host blog chooses a topic and then puts out a call for submissions to other bloggers asking them to participate in the carnival. Participating bloggers publish a post related to the blog carnival topic on their own blogs then send the link to that post to the blog carnival host. At a set deadline the host publishes a post on their own blog that includes links to the participants’ submitted posts, and possibly some commentary on the different responses.

Update: I have gathered together the posts as the end of January BUT the call is still open. Post something, let me know about it and I will link to it. You can see the 60+ results so far here


  • Tell us your thoughts and opinions on the topic in a post.
  • Link back to this post from your post. WordPress alerts me to links so I can reference your post. But, also email me ( or post the link to your work in the comments below. WordPress does not always alert me to links.


  • Who can participate- It is open to anyone and everyone.
  • How do I respond- however, you want, 200 words or 2000, a haiku, a video responses, etc. There are no limits on how you respond.
  • Is there a Hashtag-  we going to use #blogarch, again.


A few years back there was a survey of archaeologists to determine the 25 Grand Challenges that archaeology could help solve, you can read the publication here. There were some comments in archaeology blog-o-sphere about it (Publishing Archaeology, Diggin’ ItArchaeology Conversations, Bone Broke,  and a big debate at the SEAC Underground). That survey was pretty specific about what they considered ‘Grand Challenges’:

‘The Web survey defined grand challenges to be fundamental problems in science and explicitly excluded “disciplinary challenges with respect to the practice of archaeology, such as changes in financial and legal frameworks.” Nonetheless, about 40 percent (77) of the responses related to this excluded class…

We excluded questions highly specific to place and time…’

40% of responses excluded! I am really interested to see what archaeologists think the Grand Challenges are, unfiltered*. So the question for this carnival is:

What are the grand challenges facing YOUR archaeology?

It is up to you to define what ‘your archaeology’ is. It can be highly specific to time and place. It can be the grand challenges for the archaeology of Aberdeen-shire between 1723-1746. Or it can be as broad as you want i.e. the looting of archaeology around the world. It can be about the profession i.e. pay, job prospects, etc. It can be as many or as few grand challenges as you want. It is all up to you.

The Grand Challenges for Archaeology: A Blogging Carnival









*You can see the responses to that survey here, including the excluded answers. But as pointed out by others it is dominate by older white males in the US and I am interested in seeing what archaeobloggers think.

Posted in: Uncategorized