Over the past year I have participated in the Blogging Carnival ahead of today’s SAA session on Blogging and Archaeology.
Coinciding with the conference session, Doug Rocks-McQueen and Chris Webster have worked their archaeo-behinds off editing a collection of papers reflecting and exploring on the role of blogging in current archaeological endeavours. I am pleased and proud to have contributed a co-authored chapter to Doug and Chris’s e-book and congratulate them on its rapid publication to coincide with the SAA session. The book is simply titled: Blogging and Archaeology.
I had the idea of writing something about mortuary archaeology and blogging – inspired by thinking about the particular challenges and opportunities of this medium for writing and discussing death, burial and commemoration in the human past and making archaeological research into practices and beliefs relating to human mortality and the afterlife relate to present-day societal concerns and understandings.
I thought the best way to do this would be team up with someone who has a far wider set of experiences at blogging about mortuary archaeology than me. So a couple of months ago I approached the author of the great blog phenomenon Bones Don’t Lie: Michigan State’s one and only Katy Meyers. Together we have been working on a joint paper: exchanging ideas and honing drafts and finally we submitted just before the deadline. Following helpful comments from Chris and Doug and some superb insightful constructive input from the digital legend that is Sara Perry, we are amazed to see it so rapidly come to ‘print’.
The resulting collaboration with Katy Meyers explores some of the key issues faced by mortuary archaeology in the blogosphere and our solutions/strategies in dealing with them. Of course, we cannot attempt a full appraisal and critique of everyone blogging about mortuary matters amid the archaeological fraternity, so we draw upon our own experience and our own blogs for examples: Bones Don’t Lie and Archaeodeath. We identify the merits in blogging about mortuary matters and then we focus on the challenges faced regarding the use of images, tone and humour.
Our paper also explores how archaeology blogs can report, appraise and challenge popular misunderstandings and misconceptions of death, burial and commemoration in the past and present and engage with the archaeological process of investigation and interpretation of mortuary practices and contexts for new audiences and in new ways.
We hope you like the book and like our paper. I believe that there will be many versions of the book circulating on different applications, but perhaps this one is a fun one to explore: