For the past 7 years, I’ve written this WordPress blog and disseminated it through Twitter and Facebook. I had brief experiments with Tumblr and Instagram but I failed to see/exploit their merits in relation to Archaeodeath.

Yet, I’ve long been considering augmenting the Archaeodeath project with a YouTube channel. Indeed, I have admitted this in print (Williams 2019). Inspired by the successful and distinctive YouTube work of (among others) Ask a Mortician, ArchaeoDuck, Archaeosoup, Dr Mathias Nordvig and Dr Jackson Crawford, I’ve been wondering whether this might be a viable additional avenue of public engagement for my Archaeodeath research. I just learned medieval scholar Dr Emma Wells has also embarked down this route and has posted some super-smart and engaging videos. And let’s remember (or maybe not!) that I did a series of fieldwork videos for Project Eliseg back in 2011 and 2012 (no one watched them, but they will probably go down in Archaeodeath pro-history as a seminal moment)!

So, set against this background, I’m going ahead and launching Archaeodeath on YouTube! The Archaeodeath to join YouTube is now! I hope it will interest general viewers, students and scholars alike. At first, I want to keep it simple and focus on linking it to what I already do, rather than replicating the themes and foci of others or trying out fancy new things too much.

Archaeodeath 7

Why now? I’ve been particularly inspired to do this now because of coronavirus. Specifically, for the #SpecialOffa event, I had to activate it to deliver videos created by me and others for the digital conference, and so I looked into my long-dormant YouTube site and I’ve learned some of the basic ropes of YouTube. Furthermore, with the generous help of Archaeosoup Productions, I’ve learned some aspects of OBS Studio for video capture. Subsequently, I’ve been also playing with Adobe Premiere Pro. Before setting up, I also created a basic logo and card to use on YouTube, and this now also appears on the WordPress blog! At this stage, I wanted to use text, rather than an image or avatar.

How will I use YouTube? My plans are current fluid and feedback is welcome. However, the central idea is that the YouTube channel will mesh with the various strands of my WordPress, and serve as a conduit for people to go to the blog to read up in more detail, as well as to promote my academic publications. However, my current idea is to structure it around 4 playlists, although I might add others:

  • Archaeodeath Field Reports: presentations on site introducing mortuary material cultures, monuments and landscapes, linked to blog-posts about the sites, but perhaps featuring different observations, materials and/or themes;
  • Archaeodeath Debates: again, linked to one or more blog-posts, reflecting on a key controversy or new idea in mortuary archaeology and the archaeology and heritage of memory;
  • Archaeodeath Monthly Reviews: reviewing the month’s blogs and spotlighting some, or expanding in response to feedback regarding one or more blog-post. I might even do some reviews of older blog content, picking up on and revising my thinking.
  • Archaeodeath Publications: Overviews of new publications by me, including journal articles, journal issues and edited books. I’ll also feature ‘archive’ reviews!
  • Archaeoden Updates: Updates about the ongoing teaching, administration and research of a University Professor exploring all things deathly and mnemonic, past and present! (i.e. a catch-all for everything else!)

As well as being a different and experimental format for me, I hope this will reach new audiences as well as existing readers of my blog. I might try additional ideas, but for now I’m not going to branch out into giving ‘lectures’ online or interviews with other academics. But who knows what the Archaeodeath of 2021 and beyond will look like?

You can link to the YouTube channel from the right-hand side of this blog, or else here.

My first-ever Archaeodeath video (in addition to those about #SpecialOffa) considers the closure of cemeteries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I sincerely want this to be a mechanism for reaching out and promoting my work and those of others working in the fields of medieval archaeology and mortuary archaeology as well as the archaeology of memory from prehistory to the present day. I also hope it might promote Chester’s undergraduate Archaeology degrees and sustain interest in the MA Archaeology of Death and Memory at the University of Chester. It will continue to possess my biases and flavour, and I cannot address all ‘hot topics’, but let’s see how this adventure unfolds and what mortuary and mnemonic journeys it embarks upon! Let the Archaeo-You-Death-Tube commence!

Williams, H. 2019. Archaeodeath as digital public mortuary archaeology, in H. Williams, C. Pudney and A. Ezzeldin (eds) Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement, Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 132−156.