I’m still busy exploring the archaeology of death in today’s world. There is a building momentum for discussion of the interactions of mortuary archaeology and contemporary society, particularly for the UK.
In 2016 I published Archaeologists and the Dead, co-edited with Melanie Giles, with Oxford University Press. Now I’m busy with new projects about public archaeology and death. A second book developing on this theme is entitled The Public Archaeology of Death, co-edited with Ben Wills-Eve and Jennifer Osborne; it is now in production with Equinox Press, and due out in 2018.
These two books together offer a rich range of perspectives and approaches to mortuary archaeology’s contexts, significance and relevance today. Yet there remain many key themes yet to be addressed by researchers regarding public archaeology’s connections/intersections with mortuary archaeology. Hence, building on the #PATC first conference in April 2017, digital and public archaeologist Dr Lorna Richardson and I are joining forces to co-edit a special issue of AP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology.
The planned special issue involved select invites to those who presented mortuary themed papers at the first #PATC conference organised by Lorna, followed up by an open call for papers.
Our theme is: Death in the Contemporary World: Perspectives from Public Archaeology.
Following the invites and the call for papers, we got a mammoth 17 exciting and far-ranging submissions from archaeologists working across the globe. Yesterday, Lorna and I issued to authors our editorial decisions, drawing on the expertise and appraisals of over 40 anonymous referees who generously offered their support to the project.
At that point, we will appraise the papers once more and make judgements on whether they can be published or whether they require any further revisions. At the end of the complex editorial process, the special collection will be out by the summer of 2018. In academic terms, and for a rigorous peer-reviewed collection, this promises to be a relatively swift turnaround producing a distinctive online open-access collection exploring a rich range of approaches and perspectives in public mortuary archaeology.
How will these three outputs work together? It remains for reviewers and readers to judge, I guess. However, I feel that together, all 3 collections – the two books and the AP special issue – will constitute an rich resource of ideas and applications in public mortuary archaeology for students, specialists and professionals as well as all those interested in community and public archaeology, museology, heritage studies, the archaeology of death and memory. I’ll be able to use them in my teaching to Archaeology undergraduates, and postgraduate students on the MA Archaeology of Death and Memory at the University of Chester.