After a few weeks of EAA videos I thought it would be good to mix it up. Back to the CHAT conference and the Rural political session:
Think big and think pig: An archaeology of rural protest
https://youtu.be/o9_Llp6XRgM Jobbe Wijen Independent Researcher, The Netherlands.
What are rural ways of protest and how can we think about these archaeologically? When tens of thousands of refugees from Syria, Libya and Eritrea fled to Europe in 2015, Dutch society was touched by the effects of war that, until then, could be experienced as distant – and perhaps even unimportant to everyday life. Rural societies were soon to be confronted with governmental plans for the construction of refugee camps in their localities. When the announcement came that 500 refugees were to be located in Heesch, this rural village became the arena of brief but intense civil protest that made headlines across the country. In this paper I will review the protests of January 2016 in the village of Heesch and discuss how the methods and materials were typical for the agrarian setting in which they took place. I will address the question of how we can look at this archaeologically. I will also hypothesize about how research on these events can be part of a socially responsible role for archaeologists.
Access All Areas: Metal Detecting and the Mediation of Rural Landscapes
Felicity Winkley University College London.
Metal detectorists experience the historic landscape with an immediacy that prioritises individual encounter and interpretation above what might be associated with a more traditional archaeological observation. In rural areas of England and Wales, an estimated 15,000 detectorists are searching their local area regularly (24.7% more than once a week), making discoveries and recording findspots in a system largely uncontrolled by the heritage profession. For many, metal detecting is typical of what Stebbins (2001) has described as ‘serious leisure’, a complex pastime which encourages the hobbyist to commit considerable time and resource over a long period, being increasingly satisfied as time goes on. Contrary to still‐pervasive preconceptions about detectorist attitudes, with 85.9% of this population searching close to home and a reported median of 10 years spent detecting, the significant investment made by many of these hobbyists has caused them to develop a unique sense of attachment to their local landscape. Indeed, some detectorists seek to expand their practice by becoming involved in archaeological projects ‐ and yet the number and range of opportunities available is disappointingly limited. Contrary to the digital sphere, where volunteers have been mobilised as ‘citizen archaeologists’ by innovative crowdsourced projects (Bevan et al. 2014), there remains a lack of creativity amongst practical projects for detectorist involvement. One explanation may be that the relative freedom from convention and control experienced during legal metal detecting remains an issue for some archaeologists, suggesting a perspective that those with professional training have the greater claim to the archaeology of rural areas than an amateur population. This paper would use original quantitative and qualitative data to explore the metal detectorist experience of rural landscapes, to reassess their motivations and their potential contribution, and to make some suggestions about mediation and the incorporation of detectorists into heritage practice going forward.
Bevan, A., Pett, D., Bonacchi, C., Keinan‐Schoobaert, A., Lombrana Gonzalez, D., Sparks, R., Wexler, J. and Wilkin, N. (2014) Citizen Archaeologists. Online Collaborative Research about the Human Past Human Computation 1(2) pp. 183‐197 Stebbins, R. A. (2001) Serious Leisure Society May/June 2001 pp. 53‐57
The Bennachie Colony: On migration and rural stereotypes in 19th Century Scotland
https://youtu.be/or79lY71h3E Ágústa Edwald & Jeff Oliver University of Aberdeen.
The long 19th century was a period of profound change. For our purposes, two separate (but connected) transformations are of relevance. First: It witnessed human migration on a scale previously unimagined: from the increasingly economically rationalised countryside to the urbanising city; and from overcrowded parts of Northern Europe to distant colonial ‘peripheries’. The second was a revolution in literacy and the mass consumption of ideas (aided by inventions such as the steam powered printing press). Together migration and literacy (both enabled by technologies that made the world more interconnected) opened up people’s horizons to other people and other places. In a period where views about differences between the ‘county and the city’ (Williams 1973) became increasingly raised in sharp relief, discourses surrounding rural living marked people and geography in new ways. In this paper we draw on historical and archaeological research from northeast Scotland and western Canada to explore how migrant populations became cast with different and sometimes conflicting views of rurality. In northeast Scotland, migrants who colonized ‘waste’ ground became fodder for politicised histories that cast them respectively as proletarian heros as well as thieves and vagabonds. While in the Canadian province of Manitoba, migrants from the Western Isles and Iceland were variously viewed as ideal colonists to backwards and unfit for settling ‘frontier’ areas. A key observation is that any attempt to understand such temporary objectifications requires detailed contextual analysis of how lines of questioning combined with the affordances and conditions of landscape shape the stories we are able to tell.
Williams, Raymond. 1973. The Country and the City. London: Chatto and Windus