To coincide with the Dead Normal and Memento Mori exhibitions at the Grosvenor Museum, last week I presented an evening public lecture on The Archaeology of The Walking Dead.
This was a follow-on from my University Archaeology Day talk where I considered the archaeological themes and dimensions of the popular post-apocalyptic zombie horror series The Walking Dead. In this public lecture, I reviewed both the comic books as far as I have gotten with them – Compendia 1 and 2 – and the TV series up to the end of Season 8. I identified shared themes linking how the dead are treated, and how morality and mortality define and test characters in a world where the dead walk the Earth.
I think there is the basis, having presented this twice, for a journal article or book chapter this topic, drawing on my blog posts on The Walking Dead.
This is in spite of the fact that this talk was one of the worst attended of my career: where my public talks have attracted from 20 to 100 people, I got a grand total of 4 coming out of an evening to hear about the archaeology of the zombie apocalypse. Maybe it is a niche market, and one of the most popular US TV shows ever made is simply not interesting. Alternatively, maybe it is just too gruesome. Or again, perhaps the discussion of the undead is just too close to home given the demographic of many who attend city museum evening talks?