The Pillar of Eliseg

A while back I mentioned that Joe Tong (Archaeological Research Services), Sue Evans (Llangollen Museum), Nancy Edwards (Bangor University), Gary Robinson (Bangor University) and I have written up the video blogging dimension of Project Eliseg’s outreach as a journal article. We are pleased to say that the article has been published in the journal Internet Archaeology called ‘Vlog to Death: Project Eliseg’s Video-Blogging’.

This is an open access article and it is free to read it here. This is part of the Critical Blogging in Archaeology special issue by Colleen Morgan. The article is regarded by everyone I have come across as the first critical reflection on the use of vlogs in archaeological fieldwork in the UK.

Our principal focus is upon how we face the challenge of dealing with mortuary archaeology via vlogging when the archaeological dead are not represented by articulated skeletons or cadavers: the most readily comprehensible material traces of ancient mortality. We reflect on how the vlog allowed us to engage with death that is textual and cenotaphic, material and spatial, multi-period and (when human remains were found) robbed, burned and fragmented.

A further interesting dimension to the article is that it is published following ‘open review’, in which other critical voices in public and mortuary archaeology have added their opinions. Why not add your comments?


Project Eliseg involved three field seasons (2010–12) of survey and excavation at the multi-period mortuary and commemorative monument known as the Pillar of Eliseg, near Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales. Each season incorporated an evolving range of media and public engagement activities, with digital media employed to disseminate ongoing work both globally and locally, including to those unable to access the site during the excavation seasons. One of the key strategies employed via digital media in seasons 2 and 3 was a daily video-blog (hereafter: vlog). This article presents and appraises the rationale, design, content and reception of the Project Eliseg vlog revealing key lessons in the use of digital media in archaeological fieldwork, particularly for those engaged with the archaeology of death, burial and commemoration.