Tag Archives: saa2011

Blogging Archaeology – Afterwords

Kris was waiting for me at the Starbucks in the Convention Center a couple of hours before the session. We were in the same session together at the SAA in 2007, when I urged my fellow archaeologists to use spatially-aware social media for outreach and she had enthusiastically supported me in her comments on my paper–it was good to see her again! I was a little late because I wanted to see Randy McGuire’s talk in the Activism in Archaeology session. (Thought provoking, but there is a fundamental disconnect rampant in public outreach and archaeology that I’ve been dared to blog about. We’ll see if I get up the courage.)

We chatted about the upcoming session and I groggily admitted that I had depleted most of my resources just to get to the conference, but after some coffee and a sandwich I was ready. I usually like to check out the room ahead of schedule and spend some time getting to know the space. I stood at the mic and welcomed an empty room to the Blogging Archaeology session at the meeting for the Society for American Archaeology.

The session participants began to show up and I told them the routine, asked if they had any questions, then spent a bit of time making sure Shawn Graham’s presentation would work. We didn’t have any computer speakers so the wonderful Sacramento Convention Center AV staff member (Hi Max! Thanks!!) gave us an extra-long mic cord that I held next to my computer for the talk.

And the show began.

The speakers were beyond excellent. They gave compelling, intelligent and surprisingly funny talks about the place of blogging in archaeology. The energy in the room was great and our audience stayed with us–I was in the front most of the time, but I did a quick headcount and came up with about 75 people in the room early in the session. Later it would grow to 100-125 and I spotted the friendly faces of colleagues, students, and my former CRM boss! Whispers went around–was that John Hawks in the audience?

A summary of the papers seems unnecessary because the whole session was live-tweeted, the results of which have been collated by @archaeologist at Storify and Shawn Graham and John Lowe have posted their papers online. Needless to say, I believe that between the blog carnival and the strong session presentation and discussion, we have a firm foundation to pursue publication.

As the community has become self-aware, some have taken it upon themselves to implement key questions and interests that were raised by the carnival and session.

Past Thinking has published a list of archaeology blogs, along with a bundle in Google Reader for the RSS-dependent like myself.

Alun Salt has expanded on the idea of a group blog – this is essential reading for bloggers who are interested in the possibility. The carnival was harder work and took longer than I anticipated, and editing a group blog would only amplify the amount of work and attention necessary to create a quality outcome.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this timely and essential conversation about the place of the short form in archaeology.

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Blogging Archaeology – The Carnival

I am honored to join several of my fellow archaeology bloggers at the Society for American Archaeology meetings in Sacramento, where we will hear short, 5-10 minute presentations followed by questions and discussion regarding the use of this social medium within our profession. A lot has happened since I proposed this session last Fall, both in the world of anthropological blogging and the wider world of political regime change, highlighting the relevance of social media.

I have invited the session participants to answer a question each week regarding blogging archaeology, but I wanted to widen the conversation to folks who couldn’t make it to Sacramento this year, especially as I’m not sure that we’ll be able to broadcast the session in any way, given that the meetings lack internet access.

So it goes like this:

* Each Sunday evening (Qatar time!) I will post a question. If you would like to answer this question, please feel free to steal the banner above, and link back to this post.

* Please also email me at clmorgan@gmail.com with a link to the post, just in case WordPress doesn’t notify me of your link.

* At the end of the week, I will summarize all of the post and add links so that folks can find them all in one place.

The carnival will run for four weeks. Answer as many or as few of the questions as you like, and feel free to propose questions of your own! The more people we hear from, the better! There are so many great archaeology blogs out there that don’t get enough readership, hopefully this will bring a few of them to light.

So, the question for this week:

The emergence of the short form, or blog entry, is becoming a popular way to transmit a wide range of archaeological knowledge. What is the place of this conversation within academic, professional, and public discourse? Simply put, what can the short form do for archaeology?

Blogging Archaeology 2011 – The Abstracts!

As you may have noticed, I’ve organized a session called Blogging Archaeology for the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology 2011 in Sacramento.  The session has been finalized, with the following participants joining in the discussion:

Discussant – Kris Hirst of Archaeology@About.com fame.

Michael E. Smith
Can Archaeological Blogs be used for Serious Scholarship?

Most archaeological blogs are aimed at the dissemination of information to a non-professionalaudience, with a few blogs focused on communication of professional information amongarchaeologists. I explore the possibilities for expanding blogging beyond a teaching-service-entertainment orientation into a more serious intellectual realm. Why are there no archaeologicalblogs for serious intellectual conversation (like the anthropology blog, “Savage Minds”). Mightarchaeological blogs be used for the production of intellectual content through collaborationamong professionals? I discuss some of the roadblocks and potential benefits to expandingarchaeological blogging in the direction of intellectual and scientific production.

John Lowe
Blogging archaeology in CRM

In the practice of archaeology, engaging with the public is an important element. By doing so, archaeologists can help to explain the value of protecting cultural resources and the important data “in the ground.” However, this interaction can also benefit the work of the archaeologist, in understanding the perspective of other stakeholders, as well as revealing sources and data not readily apparent otherwise.
Blogging, although in many ways more of a soliloquy than a dialogue, is one way that archaeologists can and do reach out to the public. By sharing data, pictures, and stories, the everyday work of an archaeologist is exposed to any who are interested. The information is more personalized, and the exchange more dynamic, than a static presentation of results.

For American cultural resource management (CRM) professionals, blogging presents a challenge. The projects are often small and unexciting, and negative results are the norm. State and federal laws are a consideration when discussing site finds. Clients may have non-disclosure contracts associated with a project, or monitor the Internet for any references to project details and negative comments. Often, there’s a sense that you’re trying to reach out to a public that just isn’t there, or isn’t responding. The work is unpaid, and finding the energy to write after a long, hot field day can be a challenge.
However, blogging should become a more important part of the practice of CRM. Publicly funded projects in particular often require a public outreach component; blogging is a way of doing this real-time, and being more inclusive of the participants.

Nicolas Laracuente
Public Archaeology 2.0: Facilitating Engagement with Twitter

Public archaeology increases public awareness of archaeological issues
and their practical applications to modern social concerns. Classroom
visits, hands-on activities, site tours, and other events give
archaeologists the opportunity to engage public audiences and transfer
knowledge through face-to-face interaction. However, engagement ends
at the conclusion of the event leaving the audience with an incomplete
understanding of the subject. Twitter, a social media application,
transcends these spatial and temporal limitations by allowing
sustained multi-directional communication between archaeologists,
their audience, and others who never attended the original event. This
form of engagement facilitates learning and can be applied across
disciplines.

Johan Normark
Dealing with the public view of the Maya

The public view of the Maya is often affected by stereotypes, exoticism,
and ethnocentrism. Nowhere is this clearer than in the 2012-phenomenon.
While blogging about various parts of this phenomenon I have encountered
everything from threats, dismissals on the grounds that I am biased because
I am part of the academia but also positive feedback on the attempt to
uncover frauds. Although my blog primarily is dedicated to Mayanist studies
and archaeological theory, the 2012 part of the blog is most popular. How
does that affect my choice of topics? Am I also feeding on the phenomenon
that I criticize?

Sarah Nohe

Digital social media has emerged as one of the most powerful and revolutionary forms of media consumption, interaction, and information distribution.  Unlike traditional forms of media, blogging and social networking allow information to travel from the source, reaching wide audiences directly, and providing opportunities for feedback, criticism, and interaction. Two programs, the Michigan State University’s Campus Archaeology Program and the Florida Public Archaeology Network, have successfully employed digital social media to engage the public in archaeological heritage.   This paper illustrates the effectiveness of digital social media as a means to facilitate public archaeology.

Terry Brock
Teaching Archaeology and Community Engagement through Blogging: A Public Archaeology Field School Project at Michigan State University

Blogging has had an impact on both public engagement and college teaching. This paper will use a field school blogging project conducted by the MSU Campus Archaeology Program to discuss the importance of digital community engagement, the use of blogging as a means to share with the public not only what archaeologists find, but also to educate the public about how archaeology is done and how conclusions are drawn. Additionally, it will discuss how blogging in this manner can better teach students about archaeological methods, while introducing them to public archaeology and digital media.

Shawn Graham

Signal versus Noise; or, why blogging matters”   The single greatest reason for
blogging, for creating a professional on-line  profile and for creating a
sustained presence for our research can be summed up  in one word: Google.
Academic blogs are content-rich, and tend to focus on very  specific areas.
Academic bloggers create an enormous signal in the chaos of the  internet.
Google controls how we find information; but often, academic blogging  tells
Google what’s important. Thus, academic blogging can set the larger  research
agenda.