We are happy to announce that we have secured a contract for the Creating Material Worlds symposium to be published in 2014! More details to follow, but things have certainly heated up a bit here at CMW HQ. We have secured the skills of one of the University of Glasgow’s up and coming GIS specialists to produce all the maps for the book to keep visual consistency across the volume, all papers have been first-edited and are now ready to go off to peer review. In the meantime, we’ve also added a couple of recent book reviews, so make sure to explore our Resources page!
The ID Crowd
We are back in full swing for 2013. The CMW Symposium in November was fantastic, with new threads found connecting the various papers into what looks to be a really strong volume! Having Bernard Knapp there to bring it all together was in an incredible opportunity, and he has generously offered to write up his insights for a conclusion to our forthcoming book. The contributors are now in the process of editing and updating their papers, now with added links to other papers where appropriate. Watch this space for more news!
Last Friday we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Rob Collins (Portable Antiquities Scheme/Newcastle University) for a new way of looking at identity in the Roman armies. After an enlightening trip to Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum to see the Antonine Wall: Rome’s Final Frontier exhibition, Rob introduced us to the ‘occupational communities’ on Hadrian’s Wall in the 4th century and beyond. By the late Roman period, life on these frontier stations was not just a job but a way of life as recruitment became more local, and positions became more hereditary. In contexts such as these, occupational identity often grew into self-identification, modifying both into something distinct and new, as a member of the audience with a military background could attest in the subsequent discussion. Rob highlighted place-making as a crucial element in this process, and indeed, the ‘Roman-ness’ of the archaeology began to change well before the end of Roman Britain, leading to new questions about where the Roman period ends and the early medieval begins in the north. Thanks to Rob for opening another route into identity for us!
We are pleased to finally announce the details of our upcoming Creating Material Worlds Symposium! This is going to be an event in two parts. First, an open discussion session on studying identity through material culture on Friday 23 November to wrap up the hugely successful CMW Seminar Series. Second, on Saturday 24 November, all our contributors will be in one room to discuss their research together in advance of publication.
Don’t forget there’s still two lectures in the CMW Seminar Series: Rob Collins on the Roman Armies on 9 November, and Melissa Edgar on Late Iron Age Gaulish brooches on 16 November. You won’t want to miss them!
Last Friday we had the pleasure of basking in the knowledge laid down by Dr Oliver Harris (University of Leicester). While his paper was based on recent research on perceptions of the body throughout human history, it was his discussion of post-humanist theory which was most thought-provoking. He traced the shifts in archaeological theory which have led to the current post-processual approach to identity, noting that for all the ink spilt, all we’ve done is move the intellectual furniture around without affecting a fundamental interpretive change. Using Deleuzean philosophical concepts on the social nature of things, he argued persuasively that the recent relational turn in theories of identity has the potential to be a genuine paradigm shift in how and why we do archaeology. Bring it on, we say; thanks to Ollie for the mind-expanding seminar!
Last Friday, we hosted Dr John L Creese (University of Cambridge) for a fascinating journey into the material world of the Iroquois. Focusing on the Wendat and Huron, John was able to call upon written reports from the earliest French missionaries in this territory and balance these with the archaeological remains. The process of fragmentation, accumulation, consumption and enchainment can be traced with both tobacco pipes and human remains, raising questions of personhood and self which apply well to those of us working in Old World contexts. The concept of emotion-work is a convincing framework for understanding how these processes worked on a personal level beyond the field of archaeology. We hope to hear more from John soon!
Yesterday marked the first of the CMW Seminars, with Dr Meggen Gondek (University of Chester) kicking things off with a fantastic paper on the creation and consumption of Pictish symbol stones. Inspired by her research on the setting of Pictish stones with Gordon Noble on the Rhynie Environs Archaeological Project, she has added a new dimension to the traditional interpretation of these mysterious carvings. Rather than seeing them as texts to be read, or markers of Pictish identity to be mapped, she argues for a greater focus on the process of carving, displaying and in many cases depositing the stones in their eventual findspots. We look forward to seeing the results of this ongoing research!
We now have five confirmed speakers for our upcoming Seminar Series this autumn, spanning the Old World to the New, and across prehistory into the early modern period. It’s gearing up to be an exciting programme of events; stay tuned for more as it comes in!
Congratulations to CMW member Jeremy Hayne, who successfully passed his viva this past week. Well done Dr Hayne, the CMW community owes you a drink!
The project has really kicked into gear now. Here’s a summary of developments in the last month:
And we’re just getting warmed up. Stay tuned for news about our upcoming Seminar Series.