A belated Happy New Year from Archaeodeath!
In this post, I wish to reflect on my Archaeodeath posts of 2020. I posted 180 fabulous and varied blog-posts, some of which were read a lot, many of which were read very little. In overall stats, I had almost as many views for 2020 as my bumper year of 2019, which all things considered is rather smashing: 149,750! Thanks to all of you who dropped by and read something on my blog. Remember: you can explore the rationale and character of my blogging by downloading my chapter in the book Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement (Archaeopress, 2019).
What were my most-viewed blog-posts in 2020? Here is my 2020 top-twenty in terms of views-per-post. I’ve put the year of original publication after each title:
- Vikings- An Archaeodeath Review of Death in Season 1 – 2015
- Fire on the Water: Cremation in Game of Thrones Season 3 – 2016
- “Liar”, “Rapist”, “Murderer” and “Rich Bitch” – Naming and Displaying Corpses in The Walking Dead Season 4 – 2017
- Archaeologists Dig Up Fossilized Flying Saucer Filled with Cremated Aliens Slain by Giant Saint – 2015
- Norsemen Season 2 – 2019
- Five early ’80s music videos filmed at archaeological sites – 2018
- Angrbotha’s anti-funeral – Vikings Season 4 part 1 – 2016
- Back Boris! -2019
- Making Up Maketh Viking Warrior Women: An Archaeodeath Response Part 9 – 2019
- Vikings Season 3: Making and Moving Ragnar’s Coffin – 2016
- Death and Memory on the Coast: The Early Medieval Chapel of St Patrick, Heysham – 2017
- Vikings Season 2 – Private Mourning and Infanticide – 2015
- Grave is all! Ragnar’s Lakeside Burial in The Last Kingdom Season 3 – 2020
- Coffin is All! St Cuthbert in The Last Kingdom Season 2 – 2018
- Five late ’80s music videos filmed at archaeological sites – 2018
- Viking Slavery on Display at the National Museum of Ireland – 2020
- “Remembered with a Laugh” The Grave of Sir Norman Wisdom OBE – 2016
- Darth Vader’s Mask Strikes Back: Star Wars Crematifacts Explored – 2015
- Dragons at Caerphilly Castle – 2018
- Coronavirus and Offa’s Dyke. Why Offa’s Dyke has never divided the ‘English’ and the ‘Welsh’ and still doesn’t – 2020
As in previous years, you will see that my commentaries on the television shows Vikings (no less than 4 of my top-twenty), The Last Kingdom (2 of my top-twenty), Norsemen, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Doctor Who (‘Making Up Maketh Viking Warrior Women…’) dominate. Augmenting this, I’m interested to see my 2015 post on Star Wars is still proving popular! My 2018 pair of reflections on ’80s music videos at archaeological sites fits this pattern that my discussions of mortuary archaeology in popular culture get a lot of hits.
But that’s not the whole picture, and while TV and films gets most attention, I’m pleased that a lot of people have also shown interest in some of my heritage interpretation and site-visit posts, albeit those framed by the most click-baity titles! These comprise my discussion of animal commemoration at Chester Zoo (‘Back Boris’), a chance encounter with a celebrity grave in a churchyard (‘Remembered with a Laugh’), my explorations of medieval monuments and buildings (‘St Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham’; ‘Dragons at Caerphilly Castle’) and museum displays of the dead (Viking Slavery on Display). I’m also pleased my ‘fact-checky’ post criticising media and popular misrepresentations of Offa’s Dyke during the successive pandemic lockdowns also sneaked into the top-twenty!
Also fitting a long-term trend, they weren’t often new blog-posts, but posts people come across searching in relation to news stories but often months, even years, older. This at least shows the enduring appeal of my blog. To complement this list, therefore, let me also present my top-twenty new posts for 2020 (the top-three only are in the top-twenty for views in 2020 listed above)
- Grave is all! Ragnar’s Lakeside Burial in The Last Kingdom Season 3
- Viking Slavery on Display at the National Museum of Ireland
- Coronavirus and Offa’s Dyke. Why Offa’s Dyke has never divided the ‘English’ and the ‘Welsh’ and still doesn’t
- Norsemen Season 3
- Anglo-Saxon Archaeology for All
- Burning is all! The exhumation and cremation of Gisela in The Last Kingdom Series 3
- DigiDeath: Public Archaeologies of Digital Mortality – 6th University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference, Thursday 28 January 2021 – PROVISIONAL LIST OF SPEAKERS
- Settlement and Death – Iceland’s First Cemetery in Vikings Season 5 part 2
- Social Distancing and Cemeteries
- Prince and the Anglo-Saxons – Bonnie Greer in the British Museum
- The ultimate Viking funeral: farewell to Lagertha in Vikings Season 6 part 1
- Social Distancing the Dead?
- The Lost Boy Burns – Billy Costa’s Funeral in the BBC’s ‘His Dark Materials’
- ‘A well-connected man’: Britain’s most-viewed skeleton.
- CALL FOR PAPERS: DigiDeath: Public Archaeologies of Digital Mortality – 6th University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference, Thursday 28 January 2021
- The Aesthetics of Execution in Vikings Season 5 part 2
- The Horned Helmet in Vikings Season 6 part 1
- Digging into the Dark Ages: Early Medieval Public Archaeologies – Published #openaccess
- Fictional frontiers explored – The Game of Thrones Wall
- The Early Anglo-Saxon Dead on Display at Stoke
This is perhaps a more representative sample of my 2020 blogging, with the discussions of the popular culture receptions of mortuary archaeology (again Vikings is most popular, but there are posts about His Dark Materials and The Last Kingdom too. These are joined by posts addressing museums, heritage sites, new publications and conferences, as well as my reflections on things ‘Anglo-Saxon’ and the closure of cemeteries during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns of the spring of 2020. I’m also glad to see my ‘Game of Thrones Infographic’ made the top-twenty!
So what next for Archaeodeath?
Well, I aim to continue posting about the archaeology and heritage of death & memory via this blog as well as perhaps continuing with my YouTube channel and also my TikTok account if there is sufficient interest (both of which are new initiatives started in the spring of 2020).
I’m not quite sure how many posts per year I will do, but I suspect it will be less than 2020, I might try and aim for 10 per month as opposed to last year doing 15 per month of 2020.
I hope you stay with me on the Archaeodeath blogging journey!