Punks, Hard Drives & Minecraft Archaeology

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The inimitable Sara Perry and I have been working on the archaeological excavation of a hard drive, for science! We’ve been writing about it on Savage Minds, the Other blog about Savages. Here are the blog posts in order:

I’m also very excited that the Punk Archaeology volume has landed, be sure to download it–there’s a photo of me holding a trowel! A leaf trowel, BUT STILL! Many thanks to Bill Caraher, Andrew Reinhard and Kostis Kourelis for bringing the project together and allowing me to make my small contribution. Download it! Love it! Share it!

Punk Archaeology: the Book

Finally, with huge amounts of help from our vibrant community of digital archaeologists here at the University of York, I organized a Minecraft & Archaeology event as part of Yornight. I actively did not promote it much, as it was a pilot scheme and I wasn’t sure how it would play out. It went very well though and we were at capacity during much of the evening. I’ve been asked to write it up in a journal, so more details will be forthcoming. You’ll get a sneak preview if you happen to be in Shawn Graham’s class this evening, as I’m a remote guest in the classroom. If it works. We’ve been trying to remotely collaborate since 2006, so fingers crossed!

Notes on Getting Your Whole Life Stolen

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“It’s Not the Same” by Jonathan on Flickr

At the European Association for Archaeologists this year, our rented flat was broken into and a lot…a LOT of stuff was stolen, from me and the other archaeologists we were staying with. We’re still sorting everything out with the police, Airbnb, and insurance, but I thought I’d document a few things that I’ve learned.

I had Prey and Find My Iphone installed on my Macbook pro, ipad and iphone. While I will install them again on my new equipment, they are not much good against savvy thieves. We actually were able to get a better estimate of when the flat was broken into by the email message I got saying that my Apple ID had been hacked and Find My iPhone de-installed. Prey still lists my Macbook pro as missing and it’s never surfaced on Find My iPhone either. Regardless, I still recommend using these programs, and make sure to follow the directions for set-up–an open guest account and a locked-down main account.

I registered what I could on the Stolen Apple Computers list on mark-up.com.

It appears that I’ll be able to track the EXIF data from the stolen Nikon D800 on Stolen Camera Finder or CameraTrace. I can’t find any of my existing online photos taken with the camera, but that may be because Adobe Lightroom strips EXIF when converting from RAW to JPGs. tsk tsk, but this may mean I might find it later. Though getting the police to do anything about it may be a whole different thing.

It could have gone a lot worse–a fellow delegate was injured when a thief came through her window. None of us were injured and we mostly had insurance and had our data backed up. We had saintly friends in Istanbul–buy Veysel Apaydin and Gunes Duru a drink for me if you see them, they stayed with us until 4AM at the police station, and Veysel helped out translating the next day.

Have any other pro-tips for security or tracking lost equipment?

SHA 2015: Punk as Organizing Structure and Ethos for Emancipatory Archaeological Practice

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Tongue-in-cheek portrait of me by my oldest friend, Jesse Kulenski. He also designs the defcon t-shirts, check him out: https://www.facebook.com/designbyjesse

I am very happy to participate in another conference I’ve never been to before–the SHA 2015 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, as part of a Punk Public Archaeology session organized by Christopher Matthews. John Lowe and I have been talking about punk and archaeology for a long time now, glad to have a chance to talk about some of those ideas.

Title: Punk as Organizing Structure and Ethos for Emancipatory Archaeological Practice

Abstract:

Think about the kind of revolution you want to live and work in. What do you need to know to start that revolution? Demand that your teachers teach you that.” -Big Daddy Soul

The basic principles of punk archaeology reflect an anarchist ethos: voluntary membership in a community and participation in this community. Building things–interpretations, sites, bonfires, earth ovens, Harris Matrices–together. Foregrounding political action and integrity in our work. It is the work of the punk archaeologist to “expose, subvert, and undermine structures of domination…in a democratic fashion” (Graeber 2004:7). Public archaeology and community archaeology are embedded in this project; punk archaeology is collectivist action, with especial attention to marginalized and disenfranchised peoples. In this paper I present punk archaeology as a provocative and productive counter to fast capitalism and structural violence.

Graeber, D. (2004). Fragments of an anarchist anthropology. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

SAA 2015: A Session Honoring Ruth Tringham

I’m extremely pleased to announce the session that I have organized for the 80th meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, April 15-19, 2015:

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Lithics Cowgirl, Household Archaeologist, Digital Doyenne: A Session Dedicated to Ruth Tringham

Throughout her incredibly active, extraordinarily creative career as an archaeologist, Ruth Tringham has transformed experimental lithic technology, re-animated “faceless blobs” with her Neolithic narratives, and explored digital technology in archaeology from punch cards to virtual worlds. With field projects at Selevac and Opovo-Ugar Bajbuk, Serbia; Podgoritsa, Bulgaria; Çatalhöyük, Turkey; and the San Francisco Presidio, California, Tringham investigated fire and burning in household contexts, mudbrick architecture, senses of place, multimedia-driven fieldwork and embodied multisensorial interpretations of the past. Tringham taught at University College London, Harvard, and then at the University of California, Berkeley, fostering innovative pedagogical techniques and cultivating the careers of her students over 45 years of teaching. Her fearless, passionate, fun-loving approach to life fuels her research as well as her life outside of academia, as she is an accomplished singer, dramatist, kayaker and (would-be) bee-keeper. This session celebrates Tringham’s wide-ranging impact on lithics, household archaeology, feminist practice, and digital archaeology with presentations from her colleagues and students throughout the years.

Discussants:

Ruth Tringham
Ian Hodder
Julian Richards

Participants:

Margaret Conkey
Michael Shanks
Peter Biehl
Henrietta Moore
Mirjana Stevanovic
Lori Hager
Michael Ashley
Barbara Voytek
Colleen Morgan
Douglass Bailey
Angela Piccini
Steve Mills

Ian Hodder told me yesterday that he has been collecting good stories about Ruth–it should be a lot of fun!

Fossil Hunting with Paleontologists in Saltwick Bay

 

About a month ago I got an email. Any archaeologists who were interested could tag along on a trip to Saltwick Bay on the northeast coast of England to hunt for fossils. The trip was arranged as part of the Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, an annual conference that was being held at King’s Manor this year.

 

Going fossil hunting with a bunch of paleontologists? Heck yeah! A month later I was neck-deep in deadlines, but decided to go anyway and do some writing on the bus. We scrambled along the shoreline and picked up a bunch of fossils.

Dean Lomax, Assistant Curator of Paleontology at the Doncaster Museum and author of ‘Dinosaurs of the British Isles‘ was along to answer my silly questions about what I’d found.

It was interesting to watch the Paleontologists in action, smashing up rocks, wrapping samples in tissue paper and putting them into plastic bags.

 

There were even a few possible dinosaur tracks! I felt pretty good about my fossil spotting after doing a fair bit of archaeological survey, but I totally missed these.

What is more interesting than dinosaurs? The debitage left behind by people looking for dinosaurs, obviously.

It was a good day out–thanks to the fantastic paleontologists who invited us along!

 

Origins of Doha Re-Photography Featured on CNN

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I was happy to see that a mash-up that did a while ago for the Origins of Doha project was featured on the special Qatar Foundation section of CNN. The photo is near the Souq Waqif, and we located and re-shot the photograph using one of the few landmarks left in that area, a small minaret visible above and to the left of the men walking toward the camera. The black and white photograph comes from the Bibby and Glob expedition to Doha.

I posted some of my initial attempts here:

http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/rephotography-in-doha/
http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/take-two-rephotography-in-doha/

You can see the full feature about the Origins of Doha Project, as linked from the project webpage HERE, and includes the print versions of the article in Arabic and English.

From the Morning

I really should be writing something else. I really should be writing at least a half-dozen other things, all looming, lurking, people expecting.

When I was a little girl, my parents had a record player, which is not unusual. I remember laying on my little round stomach, using a record as something hard beneath my paper to color on. I’d draw and draw, on white paper, on newspaper, on anything. But the records peeked out from behind the paper, and I remember a few vividly:

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The Beach Boys, Endless Summer. It was a gatefold, so it was thick and had mysterious images inside. It also had the song “California Girls” which I liked, because I was told that I was born in California, though I didn’t remember it. I know all of these songs by heart, but I never owned or listened to the album after my childhood.

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Unlike Endless Summer, I don’t remember any of these song, but I remember trying to spell out the title. For many years I didn’t even know it was a Jefferson Airplane album, I actually thought it was the Surrealistic Pillows.

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For some reason, the cover for Nick Drake’s Pink Moon was indelibly embossed on my brain. It captured my imagination more than anything else–was that a clown-tooth? Was that a stamp? What are these adult symbols? I wanted to know what it meant, dammit. But like the Jefferson Airplane album, I didn’t remember any of the music.

Happily, I re-discovered Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, and listened to it obsessively while I wrote my dissertation. It was a lonely time, a time for obsessions, ritualized routines and the life of the mind. There are streets in Berkeley that I will never be able to walk down again without hearing one of my favorite songs in the world, From the Morning.

A little girl, coloring. A woman, writing her dissertation. Go play the game that you learned from the morning. 

I decided to buy it on vinyl again.