The CBA’s new online lecture series will bring you a range of speakers from across archaeology and heritage. The lectures will be exploring a wide range of themes and ideas around the question, what is archaeology?
Speakers will draw on their own experiences, a range of sites, excavations, techniques, scientific approaches, and museum practice to bring you the latest in archaeological thinking and research.
Collectively the lecture series will sit alongside existing CBA activities such as the Festival of Archaeology and the Archaeological Achievement Awards and contribute to a wider debate on the very nature of archaeology and how we can draw in new audiences and perceptions.
Broken pots, mending lives - Archaeology as recovery for the military
ONLINE - Thursday 19th October 2023 at 7pm
Operation Nightingale began in 2011 and hundreds of service personnel and veterans have now moved through its ranks using archaeology to improve their situation. This work is supported by Breaking Ground Heritage and the speakers will examine some of the sites excavated, the discoveries made, and how archaeology can help the living.
Warrior Treasure: The Staffordshire Hoard in Anglo-Saxon England
ONLINE - Thursday 9th November 2023 at 7pm
When the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in 2009, it caused an international sensation. Nearly 6 kilos of gold and silver objects, many decorated with blood-red garnets, make it the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon precious metal ever discovered, and unparalleled in scale and type. Buried in an unprepossessing field in the West Midlands, the discovery- the most significant Saxon discovery since Sutton Hoo in 1939- took everyone, experts and the general public alike, by surprise.
This talk tells the remarkable story of the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, and the large-scale research project which followed. A decade of investigation now allows key questions about the Hoard to be considered: how did the golden ornaments come together, where were they made and what happened to their elite owners, who might have owned and buried them, never to return, and when did it all happen? The talk places the hoard within the context of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and discusses how it relates to the cycle of conflict that history records across 7th-century Britain, as rival pagan and Christian kingdoms fought for supremacy.
Many of the lectures from the This Is Archaeology series are recorded and available to watch again via the members area of the CBA website.
Journeys have become a huge topic in British archaeology and how we imagine our islands’ long history. In this talk, Mike Pitts looks at what happened in the past and how that affects our concepts of national identity?
This event was part of the CBA's 2022 Festival of Archaeology.
The Made in Migration Collective: A collaborative archaeology of contemporary forced displacement in Europe
The Made in Migration Collective is a fluid group of displaced and non-displaced individuals originally from eight different countries. Rachael Kiddey and the Made in Migration Collective will share how they use established archaeological and cultural heritage methods to co-document personal belongings and places significant to lived experiences of contemporary forced displacement in Europe.
This event was part of the CBA's 2022 Festival of Archaeology.
Roman Britain's Pirate King A talk by Dr Simon Elliott, archaeologist, author and CBA Trustee, on this great untold story of British history.
The Treasonous Sands – fiction and fatality in the narratives of Robert Erskine Childers and Mary Spring Rice
Breaking Boundaries and Building a Future for Archaeology: Current Research from Early Career Archaeologists
January’s This Is Archaeology event was all about celebrating the work of early career archaeologists and their work to develop and expand our understanding of the world around us and what it means to be human using archaeological tools.
This included 3 short talks:
Valuable Visuals: The Roles of Traditional and Digital Imaging in Modern Archaeology by Dr Li Sou
Building Ties Between Archaeology and the Public at Ilorin, Northern Yorubaland, Nigeria: A Nigerian Archaeologist's Perspective by Bolaji Josephine Owoseni
Lessons from the Past: What Can Archaeological Science Teach Us About the History and Future of Farming? By Ayushi Nayak
The talks were followed by a panel discussion chaired by Dr Alex Fitzpatrick.
This talk is about a new project that brings together archaeology, art and ecology. It focused on why these connections are important, and why they are of value to local communities.
In 1871 Alfred Nobel started building a dynamite factory on the Ardeer Peninsula in North Ayrshire, Scotland, for the manufacture of black powder, safety fuse, and detonators. From the 1940s onwards, munitionettes worked there and they graffitied lyrics on the walls of their workspace, of old and new songs, whilst they were cutting cordite paste. The sand mounds that surround the huts now support nesting songbirds. Alex Boyd, Iain Hamlin and Lesley McFayden are negotiating new ways in which to deal with a situation where the built environment is decaying whilst ecological habitats thrive, and yet there is the constant possibility of further development that would put all of this at risk. How do we value the human and the non-human in such a landscape? How are we creating a new kind of account of memory and place?
Can we ever know what it was like to move in the past; to understand its meanings and complexities? Unlike many other disciplines; ones that can observe and interview the moving subject, archaeology has only the silent witness. This silence, though, is not to be misconstrued with stillness, and the evidence for past mobilities surrounds us. Focusing on mobility provides a dynamic approach to archaeology, and in this presentation, I will discuss some of the evidence for mobility within the archaeological record and explore ways in which archaeology can engage better with it. I will address what mobility can contribute to the understanding and interpretation of past landscapes and move away from archaeology’s traditional focus upon place and location.
Our lecture will explore the significance of co-producing archaeological and historical research in close partnership with communities, and consider the ways in which valuing local heritage and the collective discovery of the past has the power to create new and positive life-changing opportunities for all involved.
To illustrate this, we will talk about the CAER Heritage Project from its humble beginnings to becoming an award-winning, flagship civic mission and development project for both Cardiff University and community development partners Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE). It is essential that we recognise that Universities are an integral part of their communities and that they have an immense responsibility to fulfil their social and civic mission. Our lecture will highlight the how power of archaeology, the power of community, and the power of co-production means that when we come together then we can harness the potential of heritage and create new pasts and new futures.
How we write about the archaeological past, especially prehistory, is not something we often consider in any depth, although in an age when we are rightly concerned to demonstrate the public value of archaeology it certainly deserves our attention. Archaeology is a form of story-telling but what kind of stories could and should we be writing about the deeper past?
According to JG Ballard, science fiction was ‘the most authentic literature of the twentieth century’, which seems apt for a time both obsessed with and anxious about technological progress. At first glance, therefore, it seems like the most modernist of genres. What could it possibly have in common with prehistoric archaeology? Yet I would like to suggest there are points of contact between the different ends of the time continuum - prehistorians constructing narratives from material evidence of a distant past and sf writers imagining how future societies in galaxies far, far away might respond to particular ecologies or technologies.
In this presentation, I will try and explore the relationship between ‘world-building’ in science fiction and prehistory. I begin with that quintessential pioneer, HG Wells, who wrote not only The Time Machine and other speculative futures but also global histories and tales of the remote past. However, we need not limit ourselves to those authors who have also shown an interest in the past. Taking inspiration from Fredric Jameson’s provocatively titled Archaeologies of the Future, about the Utopian aspect of science fiction, we could ask whether, in either prehistory or sci-fi, we are doing much more than writing about ourselves. Nevertheless, I suggest a study of the tropes, styles and settings of science
fiction can provide interesting and, hopefully, entertaining insights into how we might represent people of the past who were both like us and not like us, and why such reflections matter.
This event was part of the CBA's 2023 Festival of Archaeology.
In this lecture, Subha will explore the archaeological writings of Nina Frances Layard published in the East Anglian Daily Times from 1890 onward and demonstrate the ways in which Layard integrates queer approaches in her archaeological work. Throughout her life, Layard often travelled and excavated with her partner, Mary Outram and displayed gestures of queerness in her archaeological practices. In highlighting accounts of their shared experiences of excavating in various sites, Subha will also show how Layard’s writings emphasise the experiences of excavating and bring into focus the experiences of those people whose lives she excavates. These approaches are also reflected in how Layard demonstrates more intimate relations with the objects she excavated. Paying attention to the different discursive strategies Layard participated in allows us to decentre narratives of popular, imperial excavations, often led by middle class-men which dominated newspapers and periodicals from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.
This event was part of the CBA's 2023 Festival of Archaeology
Uist Unearthed – Bringing communities and archaeological landscapes together through augmented reality
The Uist Virtual Archaeology Project (UVAP) was established in 2020 as a pilot project with the aim of demonstrating the viability of place-based digital approaches to archaeological visitor interpretation in the Hebrides. The challenge was to find methods for engaging our local communities and the wider public in well-researched but hidden archaeological heritage that sits within fragile and sensitive landscapes. Further challenges were established by our desire to work with our local communities, to embed Gaelic in the research and presentation of archaeological material and to create outputs that support sustainable tourism with both economic and social benefits for our islands.
The digital approach we developed in response to these challenges combines location-triggered augmented reality visualisations of archaeological sites alongside multi-media interpretations of archaeological information. Our project outputs comprise the Uist Unearthed app, a cross-platform mobile phone app, and a travelling multi-media exhibition.
In this talk, the UVAP team will reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities associated with developing location-based augmented reality experiences for archaeological sites on the Hebridean islands of North and South Uist. We will also explain some of the thinking and decisions behind the development and use of various multi-media assets, how we agreed on digital content with project partners and stakeholders and how our digital approach evolved throughout the process. We will discuss the value of working with our local communities to coproduce material and explain why this has been so vital for creating engaging experiences that successfully connect people with Uist’s archaeological landscapes.