+34 981 590 958 nearching@nearching.org

List of specific working groups

We aim to create a space for dialogue and work within the framework of the main issues in which the relationship between archeology and society can be written in terms of common benefit and support.

In connection with these main issues, we aim to work on specific topics which will be dealt with in a working group in the NEARCHing Factory.

Digital Capabilities for Sustainability

Manager: Holly Wright

Holly Wright works for the Archaeology Data Service (ADS); a national archive for archaeological data in the UK (archaeologydataservice.ac.uk), based in the Department of Archaeology, at the University of York. Her research focusses on international collaboration around archiving, sustainability, field drawing, vector graphics, visualisation, Web design, Web standards and the Semantic Web in archaeology. She currently manages ADS involvement in three European projects, including ArchAIDE, ARIADNE and NEARCH.


Archaeology is at a point of great opportunity with the rise of the Open Data movement, but at an important crossroads when it comes to stewardship of archaeological data. There are changing ideas and attitudes around access to data and publications by archaeologists, universities, publishers, funders, governmental agencies and the public, which must be answered. The changing attitudes have also allowed archaeologists to think creatively about new ways to engage with the public, such as crowdsourcing and citizen science projects. As archaeological knowledge becomes increasingly digital however, it also becomes more fragile, and yet sustainable ways to preserve these data remain elusive or non-existent in most countries. The vast majority of archaeological data is the result of non-repeatable archaeological interventions, and to lose it to the rapidity of digital obsolescence means a double loss of knowledge. This obsolescence, combined with the fact that in most countries in Europe, no suitable outlet exists for the myriad types of data archaeologists produce, means a breakdown is occurring at multiple levels that will result in a new sort of ‘gap’ in the archaeological record. The Open Data movement is challenging the prevailing attitude that archaeological data is the property of the researcher who created it, not to be shared outside the project or re-used, and with no inherent publication value. This challenge represents a significant shift in archaeological practice, and will take considerable time to achieve. In some instances the sheer volume of digital data being produced creates further difficulties for data management, but ‘big data’ also opens doors to new avenues of research not previously available for archaeology, such as data mining.

EU projects like ARIADNE (ariadne-infrastructure.eu) and NEARCH (nearch.eu) have been trying to understand these issues, but often there are more questions than answers. How do we ensure archaeologists are at the heart of proper stewardship of their data during this complex transition? How do we address not only the resistances to open data within the domain, but the lack of coherent and positive workflows to address the widening ‘gap’? How do we envision what open data in archaeology should look like? How do we ensure that the open data we create is as useful as possible in the future? How do we use this transition as an opportunity to better serve our existing communities and reach out to new ones?

While all of these aspects surrounding archaeological data are interrelated, the Digital Capabilities for Sustainability NEARCHing working group seeks to focus on conversations around:

  • Sustainability through access: Archaeology and the Open Data movement
  • Sustainability through participation: Archaeology, crowdsourcing and citizen science
  • Sustainability through preservation: Archaeology and digital obsolescence
  • Sustainability through knowledge creation: Archaeology and data re-use
  • Sustainability through imagination: Archaeology and the future of digital data

Smaller groups will work together around some or all of themes listed, according to interest and expertise, to produce a concrete and collaborative response. This may take the form of storytelling or other creative forms to allow open discussion, understanding and communication of the topics to the rest of the NEARCHing Factory.

Participative Heritage Management

Manager: Hayley Roberts

I am a post-graduate researcher at Bournemouth University. My research subject is the impact of community archaeology. I am also a community archaeologist for Dorset County Council where I am working to involve the community in landscape-wide heritage management projects.


Exploring New and Participative Ways of Managing Archaeological Heritage

This workshop will consider how the public and volunteers are included within archaeological and heritage management. It will ask what is archaeology and what does it mean to people?

Many people have a wide definition of archaeology. This includes the majority of material culture and landscape but they may also consider the more intangible things, such a music, folklore etc, to be heritage at least, if not archaeology. But what is the practice of archaeology? Is it just field work, is it analysis, is it the whole research process? Does it count as doing archaeology if you don’t tell anybody that you have done it? Do the public really see archaeology as production of knowledge, do they view it as an interpretation process, or is it non -negotiable fact? Is it just about telling stories? How do we build this into what we do as archaeologists and heritage managers and how we do it?

This workshop will start with the premise that these questions should be asked of archaeologists, volunteers and the public alike and they it should underpin everything we do. This is not always the case and so this workshop hopes to look at inspirational case studies that illustrate the incorporation of public perception and volunteer inclusion into heritage management. It will also consider reasons for not doing so and provoke debate about how we deal with the answer that may be received.

Examples of projects which have actively incorporated public contribution, or who have deliberately not incorporated them are welcome.

Professional Regulations and Codes: Sustaining the Archaeological Profession

Manager: Gerry Wait

Dr. Gerry Wait is a director of Nexus Heritage (specialising in conservation management and environmental impact assessment) and a Director of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (and formerly Chairman) with special responsibility for developing international partnerships and membership recruitment. Gerry is also on the US Register of Professional Archaeologists and a member of the European Association of Archaeologists since the conference in Santiago in 1995.


This working group will discuss, among others, the following themes, with attention to the roles of professionalism, professional associations, and professional codes and regulations:

  • The working conditions of professional practice and how to improve and sustain them;
  • The definition of methodological standards and ethical codes for sustainability and delivering benefits to the wider public;
  • Cohabitation of professional/scientific archaeology with amateur archaeology and pseudo-archaeology;
  • The relationship with the public what benefits can archaeologists deliver and what does ‘the public(s) want to get from archaeologists;
  • What constitutes a minimum legal basis to protect archaeological heritage and keep preventive Archaeology as a sustainable practice.

The Group will utilize the techniques of ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ (and Center for appreciative inquiry, to guide discussion and the generation of ideals and future actions.)


Arts and New Heritages

Manager: Anita Synestvedt

Anita Synnestvedt, Department of historical studies and Centre for Critical Heritage Studies, University of Gothenburg. My main line of work and research are public archaeology, art and archaeology and pedagogy.


This working group will use the method of walking examining relationships between art and archaeology and questions of heritage.

Santiago de Compostela, venue for our factory is clearly connected to the concept of walking as a center and meeting place for the large network of pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela. People have been walking to this place since the 9th century and the routes are more popular than ever. Today people walk here for pleasure, for guidance, for the joy of walking or for religious believes. Today tough, many take a plane and walk just a distance, because we nowadays live in a global and fast consuming world, there is little time wandering for weeks and months.

But, even if we today travel across the world by fast planes, cars, boats and trains walking is, and always will be, our most basic and natural form of travelling. In an archaeological perspective our ancestors have been walking and walking and have thereby spread new ideas, new cultures and explored unknown territories. We are who we are and where we are today due to previous peoples walking. Embedded in their imprints is the mythic and timeless saga of existence and traditions that have been handed down during walks. Therefore, it is not only a matter of transporting oneself from one point to the other, but to be open to experiences underway. It may carry associative thinking, bring about memory processes and lead us onto unknown paths. It is often described as a deeply human activity, as it recreates a sense of connection – a reunion – both with one’s own existence and with the surrounding world. Within man’s corporeal comprehension of the world there is contained information about society and the political and social conditions that form our existence.

For thinkers through the ages walking has been a means of understanding the world. For example, the writer, philosopher and activist Henry David Thoureau often drew parallels between a simple walk in the country and the journey of life (Thoreau 1862). That is probably what many consider the pilgrim walks to Santiago de Compostela to be too. In this context walking can be seen as a kind of meditation and maybe also considered a ritual kind of walk.

Another way of addressing the idea of walking is to see the activity as an investigation. Within archaeology this is an established field method doing surveys and field inventories. Yet another way considering walking is as part of an artistic practice. Walking and art have long gone hand in hand within artistic movements of for example Conceptualism, Performance Art, Land Art, Situationists and Sound Art. It is indeed an interdisciplinary practice often using theories and methods from geography, archaeology, artistic practice, anthropology and education.

In this working group we will use the different experiences of the participants creating new ideas and concepts exploring the environment and heritage through the method of walking. Dependent of the abstracts of the participants the workshop will be designed and developed. Richard Long, well known artist has been in the vanguard of conceptual and land art in Britain since he created A Line Made by Walking in 1967. His photograph of the path left by his feet in the grass, a fixed line of movement, established a precedent that art could be a journey. Through this medium of walking, time and distance became new subjects for his work. The following quotation from his work Five, Six, Pic Up Sticks could symbolize the idea of this workshop:

“I like simple, practical, emotional quiet, vigorous art.
I like the simplicity of walking, the simplicity of stones.
I like common materials, whatever is to hand, but especially stones.
I like the idea that stones are what the world is made of”.

Archaeology of the Present

Manager: Alfredo González-Ruibal

Alfredo González-Ruibal is an archaeologist with the Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit) at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). His research focuses on the archaeology of the contemporary past. In particular, he works on the darker side of the 20th and 21st century: wars, mass migration, failed development projects, colonialism, global consumerism and totalitarianism. He is also interested in the material strategies deployed by communities who still resist (or have resisted until recently) modernity, globalization and the state.


Contemporary archaeologies offer new possibilities of social engagement and critique, because knowledge and even experience of the recent past are immediately available to non-experts—as opposed to more remote periods. From this point of view, the archaeology of the present creates new challenges in relation to what is considered heritage, how it is produced and by whom, and how it is managed. At the same time, this kind of archaeology offers new spaces of creativity and transdisciplinary interaction, as its field of study is not subjected to the rigid disciplinary policing and boundary-making that limits engagements with the material remains of other historical periods. Contemporary sites bring together communities, artists, archaeologists, anthropologists and heritage experts around matters of common concern that may not yet be sanctioned as heritage. In this working group we will be discussing, among other things:

  • Which are the opportunities for professional archaeologists and heritage managers in the archaeological record of the recent past and the present?
  • What are the potential modes of engagement with communities and which are the risks and benefits of such engagements?
  • How can we deploy critique, in which spaces and to address which topics?
  • Can critique, education and play be reconciled?
  • What is the role of art and artists in the archaeology of the present?
  • What are the public benefits of contemporary archaeology and heritage?
  • How can we convince local authorities of the relevance of the material present?

Participants are expected to make short presentations (5-10 minutes) to spark debate. Presentations can be of actual examples of archaeological work with the present that collaborates with communities, co-creates heritage or provokes public controversy. Alternatively, projects at a planning stage can be presented or simply ideas they wish to develop in the future. In any case, participants are expected to be non-conventional and develop creative proposals that explore new forms of mediation, engagement and manifestation beyond disciplinary limits. Political and aesthetic provocations are welcome.

Heritage value(s)

Manager: Margarita Diaz-Andreu

Margarita Díaz-Andreu is an archaeologist based at the University of Barcelona (Spain), where she is ICREA Research Professor. She is interested in prehistoric archaeology and art (mainly rock art) of Western Europe. She is also concerned with heritage, history of archaeology and the politics of identity in archaeology (social engagement, nationalism and colonialism, ethnicity and gender). Díaz-Andreu has published on heritage and the public in relation to World Heritage (European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies, 2016) and to heritage values (Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage, forthcoming). Some of her recent work has focused on heritage, social inclusion and migration. She was a member of the Heritage Values Network (JPI-JHEP project) (2014-15) and is leading GAPP (www.gapp.cat).


This workshop will deliberate on heritage values, paying particular attention to social values. There will be three major themes of discussion. The first one will relate to the assessment of social values. Questions to centre the discussion will be: What should be the best way to assess social values? What is best practice? Consultation vs. participation. Creating public awareness vs. encouraging public participation, but how can engagement be achieved? Is there a value-based model the best way to assess social value? Why do social values tend to be side-lined in favour of other more traditional (historical, artistic…) values? The second theme of discussion will revolve around memory and social value, and the debate will try to answer a series of questions such as how communities understand and value archaeological and other heritage sites; what is the role of memory for social value; and whether there is a tension between historical and social value. The last theme of discussion will concern policy and practice, and in it examples that workshop participants may provide on community-led initiatives will be welcome. Issues to consider will include whether there a gap between heritage policy and practice as regards to social values and, if there is, how can it be closed. The possible tensions between social value and heritage protection will be a final point of debate.

Social Innovation and Archaeology

Manager: Eva Parga-Dans

I am a postdoctoral researcher of the Xunta de Galicia (Spain) at the Universidade da Coruña / Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal). I hold a degree in sociology with a with a PhD in Applied Economy at the University of Santiago de Compostela and Incipit-CSIC. I specialized in the sociology of innovation and in the organizational field of cultural heritage. More specifically, my work focuses on Spanish commercial archaeology as a knowledge-based service activity which currently is trying to overcome the economic crisis. In terms of my postdoctoral research trajectory, I have strengthened this investigation strand working in different research institutes and contexts such as the Department of Business Studies of Aalborg, Denmark (2009), the Department of Management Organization at the Carlos III University of Madrid (2012), the Management Department of Universidad Técnica de Ambato, Ecuador (2014), the ESPAE Graduate School of Management at ESPOL, Ecuador (2015), and at the faculty of sociology at Universidade da Coruña (2016). I have also participated as consultant with the Spanish Ministry of Education for the assessment of the social and economic impact of the Altamira World Heritage Site (2013). Currently, I am expanding my research to the wine sector and wine consumption, the transition from quantitative and industrial models towards an innovative quality sector between Galicia and Portugal.


The question of technology within the paradigm of innovation has been an important strategic resource for economic and business growth in the twentieth century in Europe and elsewhere. However, the current context of global crisis has led to the emergence of a new rhetoric about the concept of social innovation, emphasizing the need to strengthen the social concerns in the face of a new development paradigm for the XXI century. Indeed, the so-called “Europe 2020” strategy aims (at least in its rhetoric) to transform Europe into a social market economy, shaping and developing creative ways of meeting social needs, in ways that deliver social and territorial cohesion.

But what does social innovation mean, and specifically in such as heritage and archaeology at the verge of collapse? How could archaeology generate initiatives and pave the way for the establishment of models of sustainable production? This working group aims, first, to identify successful and unsuccessful social innovation experiences in the field of archaeology and heritage; to then reflect about them from a situated and empirical perspective. We welcome communications, lectures and debates analysing case studies or reflecting about the relationship between social innovation and its applicability.

Archaeology, Spatial Planning and Economic Development

Manager: Sarah Howard and Samantha Paul

Sarah has worked within archaeological archives (Historic Environment Records) for a number of local planning authorities in England, including the Lake District National Park, Sheffield City Council and Norfolk County Council. In 2011 she started a part-time PhD at the University of Birmingham taking a critical discourse approach to understanding of the concept of sustainability as applied to archaeology within international policy, UK planning policy and archaeological heritage management guidance. More recently she worked as an information manager for the educational charity The Council for British Archaeology until April 2015 when she took up her current position as a ‘Heritage at Risk’ project officer at Historic England (formerly part of English Heritage) covering archaeology in Cumbria and Coastal Lancashire.

Sam has worked within British archaeology since graduating from the University of Cardiff in 2001. She has worked across the country as a commercial field archaeologist for a number of years and more recently moved from archaeological project management into academia. Sam is currently an honorary research associate and part time PhD student at the University of Birmingham, focussing on the values attributed to commercially derived archaeological archives within the museum sector, the sustainability and future research potential of such material as well as how the relationships between academics, commercial units and the rest of the heritage sector influence and affect archaeology in England. This research has supported Sam’s role as a freelance heritage consultant working with museums and other heritage bodies on the use, sustainability and potential of their archaeological collections and archives.


This workshop seeks to explore how to better connect different sectors of archaeology that engage both directly and indirectly, with preventative archaeological practices undertaken ahead of spatial planning and economic development projects. We are particularly interested in further discussions around:

  • Interface between commercial and academic archaeology – looking at the shortage of archaeologists, reduced student numbers, vocational skills training
  • Archives – What is the value of the material we retain in perpetuity and what as archaeologists do we want to retain for future generations? The reported low reuse and impact of archives within museums against overflowing stores and the cost of curation. The creation of national and international standards as a response to this ‘crisis’, but what does this resolve? Projects that sit outside of the existing systems of monitoring.
  • Classification of archaeology – pros/cons of amalgamated archaeology within wider categories/concepts of culture, heritage, historic environment in planning policy and guidance.

Overarching themes:

Connecting up the sector

We seek to treat preventative archaeology in a holistic manner rather than splitting it into archaeological planning advisory services, commercial services, curatorial services, voluntary services and educational services. The theme of responsibility has been raised over the last few years in a number of conference discussions on archaeology as a sustainable practice. The ethos of this working group is one of shared responsibility: to improve the outcomes for all sectors of the discipline and the archaeological resource when it is threatened by development. In many European countries the ‘polluter pays principle’ enshrined in planning policy places responsibility for investigation with developers and their archaeological contractors who are often detached, or perceived to be detached, from other sectors of the discipline. In the UK this situation has been exacerbated by universities closing commercial units that were attached to archaeology departments and the loss of the close connection between these two areas of the sector. This not only negatively impacts upon teaching vocational skills in higher education but also helps to perpetuate the notion that commercial archaeology is somehow different from, and therefore should be detached from, academic archaeology. A ‘shortage of archaeologists’ has been reported across a number of countries as a knock-on effect from fewer students choosing to undertake archaeology as a degree and practitioners leaving various sectors of archaeology following job losses caused by the global recession from 2008. This ‘shortage’ of archaeologists has led to the possibility on on-the-job training, the option to obtain archaeological qualifications while working and thereby bypassing the university route altogether. But does this mean the end of archaeology degrees, or are we simply creating two types of archaeologist thereby further detaching commercial from academic archaeology.

Working with what we have – making current frameworks work for us

Although it is clear that aspects of current frameworks across different European contexts are proving inadequate for promoting a vision for preventative archaeology that elevates it beyond a mere clean-up operation prior to development taking place, opportunities to completely revise these systems will be limited, if not undesirable to many governments. As such, we will encourage working group participants to look at how we might make adjustments to improve connectivity between sectors now as well as investigating potential ‘new scenarios’ so that preventative archaeology might evolve to meet the needs of 21st century professionals as well as the different publics they serve. The workshop is not looking for a one size fits all ‘solution’, but a discussion drawing upon experiences from archaeologists coming from different archaeological traditions, and particularly the differences and similarities between countries where the state plays a greater role in development-led archaeology and those that are more dominated by the private sector.

Working Group Format

The Santiago de Compostela working group will be organised as a ‘World Café’ seminar:

  • Brief introduction from the chairs to explain the session format and set the scene by highlight themes and key discussion points.
  • Short presentations (no more than 10 mins) to highlight particular issues and questions within the four main themes.
  • Further in depth discussions in small groups of delegates.
  • Sharing of discussion points and formulation of key issues and actions to be taken forward by NEARCHing Factory.

Remote engagement

We realised that many people who could offer insightful contributions to this working group might not be able to make it to Santiago de Compostela, especially following the Christmas vacation and the start of the academic term. Our solution to this issue was instead of a closed working group, we would enable people to remotely contribute presentations (pre-recorded and via Skype) as well as discussion points within an online forum. This online working group will run in parallel to the Santiago seminar with support from Dr James Dixon and Dr Sarah May. To receive updates and instructions for joining the *free* online working group you can join the Facebook Group or register on the EventBrite webpage. To propose a remote presentation, please contact the working group managers via email.


Archaeology and School & Archaeology for Long-Life Learning

Manager: Arkadiusz Marciniak

Arkadiusz Marciniak is professor of archaeology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań in Poland. His expertise is in the development of early farming communities in western Asia and central Europe and their progression to complex societies as well as archaeological heritage and political context of practicing archaeology. He is an initiator of the Heritage Educational Portal – a platform offering a wide range of online courses in the domains of cultural and natural heritage for professionals and the public.


A role and position of material heritage of the humankind is rapidly changing in a dynamically developing world. This requires a continuous presentation of its different facets to different members of the civil society, including children, active professionals, lay public or elderly citizens. The working group aims to discuss the ways in which archaeology and archaeological heritage is communicated with these groups at schools and in the form of long-life learning.

It first objective of the working party comprises a discussion on how to include the concept of archaeological and cultural heritage in the education at schools as a tool to support the understanding of the historical process and promoting the critical thinking as regards of the historical events. The working group aims to explicitly discuss the methodology as the necessary guidance and recommendations to implement and adapt these themes into the school curricula.

Different methods of learning aiming at achieving pedagogical and learning objectives will be debated. These include learning by doing, dialogic learning or active learning. They need to contribute to develop key competences of students, such as (a) knowledge – to get the them familiarized with the concept of archaeological and cultural heritage, but also a number of transferable skills such as (b) critical thinking, (c) decision making and creativity; as well as (d) a sense of active citizenship and (e) a better knowledge of how the past has influenced the society they live in.

The participants in the working party are requested to prepare a short presentation of good practices and their respective experience in providing trainings in archaeological and heritage matters at schools. The ultimate goal of this part of the WP is to define the state-of-the-art in providing school education in this domain, which can serve as a departing point for preparing a declaration on Archaeology and Schools defining the scope of archaeology and archaeological heritage education at schools, including their potential content, methods of training, pedagogical value as well as civic and participatory competences of the students.

The second part of the workshop will involve an in-depth discussion on different formats of long-life learning solutions dedicated for the professionalists and non-professionalists in developing and upgrading vocational skills in the domain of archaeology and archaeological heritage. Reliability and efficiency of different formats of more traditional modes long-life learning, such as adult education, continuing education or knowledge work, will be debated. The benefits of this form of training in enhancing personal development, social inclusion and active citizenship will also be presented.

A special attention will be focused upon usability and effectiveness of different modes of distance learning. It is a form of distance education in which the development of skills and knowledge is realized through the use of modern electronic technologies. This is a broad category referring to any type of learning environment that is computer enhanced and supported by multiple computer and online multimedia technologies. The process of learning is independent in time and place and the trainer and trainee are bridged through the use of these technologies. Distance learning education is of a universal character and can be used and directed to a wide audience. It is particularly suitable for working professionals who lack time for participating in traditional training and/or are working in remote geographical territories, the disabled, the unemployed, etc. Selection of methods for e-learning course delivery in the internet environment can always be directed by the explicitly defined character and expectations of the target group.

Different forms of distance learning will be critically discussed: (i) scheduled course sessions with instruction and certification, (ii) certification sessions with exams for certification, (iii) open access to didactic materials on an e-learning platform, (iv) E-mentoring involving consultation with an expert available online, and (v) self-paced learning from didactic material available online on website with no human support for learners.

The working party aims to critically evaluate this form of content delivery in the domain of archaeology and archaeological heritage, assess its potential usefulness for different stakeholders of archaeological heritage, and estimate a potential need for delivering this kind of training to different target groups. The participants are requested to get familiarized with different formats of distance learning and provide some examples of the use of different methods of distance learning in vocational systems in archaeological heritage.

Archaeologies of/for Future

Manager: Cornelius Holtorf and Gavin McGregor

Cornelius Holtorf, Professor of Archaeology, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden. I am the Director of the Graduate School in Contract Archaeology (GRASCA) and spokesperson of the Centre for Applied Heritage at Linnaeus University. In my research I have long been interested in the role of the past and of archaeology in contemporary society. I am also working as Co-Investigator in the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures project and investigate, among other topics, issues to do with nuclear waste and space messages.

Gavin MacGregor has worked in Scottish archaeology in both research and consultancy contexts and is currently a Director at Northlight Heritage where he is responsible for a range of applied heritage projects and programmes.


The working group will consider our inter-relationships with the future and, in light of which, assess the ramifications for future archaeological and heritage practices. It will comprise two main elements, the first will scope an Archaeologies for the Future, the second will provide space for further, deeper, critical reflection through considering the nature of Archaeologies of the Future. Through these two elements we wish to support participants to reflect on their current range of practices and begin to re-imagine how these may change in face of a range of contemporary challenges. This will be facilitated in a concluding ‘actions laboratory’, through which we will outline specific responses to Archaeologies for / of the Future.

Archaeologies for the Future

In this element, we wish to explore the nature, scope and ramifications of developing Archaeologies for the Future as a potential response to contemporary challenges. Developing an Archaeologies for the Future approach to our practices requires us to reflect critically on our inter-relationships between past-present-future.

Many of our contemporary temporal inter-relationships are substantially underpinned by 19th / 20th century modes of time and space, which have often been created to achieve economic efficiencies, and privilege views of time as linear. Additionally, the ontological nature of archaeological practitioners has been embedded in preservationist and conservationist stances in relation to the past. As such we are perceived by wider society and behave as a backwards looking profession. This position extends and reinforces the conceptual temporal distance between our past and present. In reality our temporal relationships are more diverse and complex, and as in part socio-political constructs, have scope for redefinition and renegotiation. At the juncture of a new geological age, and the associated debate (‘Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene’), there are opportunities for new temporal narratives. In this context, we need to question our ontological status, how do we develop a new stance as active co-producers of knowledge, action and values which project forward contributing to the possibilities and character of future conditions?

In developing an Archaeologies for the Future approach it is recognised that, as key components of landscapes, archaeological deposits and sites, represent a common resource which should be managed and valued in terms of common good.

In developing an Archaeologies for the Future approach it is recognised that in landscape terms, the encounter with the past, is often seen as traveling back to fragments of what has gone before, yet in reality all pasts are folded into the contemporary character and encounter with a landscape : the encounter is not however uniformly experienced but mediated by differential access, competencies and perspectives : and as such raises issues of landscape justice.

In developing an Archaeologies for the Future approach it is recognised that archaeological practices have been constrained, as a narrow academic discipline, by knowledge production models. Rather archaeological practices are broad, contributing to the understanding and mediation of a wider range of heritage values.

With such perspectives, our role as archaeologist, not least in socio-political terms, should be very different.

Can archaeologist help society explore New Models of Temporality? If we accept there are historically and currently different cultural modes of time (e.g. linear vs cyclical, different rhythms of deep / ecological time, dynamic entangled temporal rhythms of landscapes), what are the ramifications for us in terms of our practices, narratives, and stances in relation to potentially emergent temporal inter-relationships as we look to the future?

What responsibilities does this bring to archaeologists, no longer ‘neutral’ scientific observers, rather as archaeological activists (pro-actively re-connecting, re-vitalising and re-animating) the possibilities of the past-present-future?

Archaeologies for the Future asks us to situate ourselves differently, rather than knowledge producers, we facilitate, catalyse and enable a wider range of social, cultural and economic outputs and outcomes.

The workshop will explore how changing our stance to a forward looking socially just practice raises a range of associated ontological, epistemological, methodological and pedagogical issues for archaeological practitioners which will be explored in the workshop.

Archaeologies of the Future

In this element, we recognise there is a paradox in large parts of the heritage sector. Professional heritage practice focuses on the future as a fundamental premise of the work, both in terms of research results accumulating over time and as acknowledged in many heritage policy documents according to which the heritage needs to be preserved “for the benefit of future generations”. Yet this future remains implicit in daily heritage practice which operates in the continuing present. It is expected that future generations will look back gratefully at the work done by the heritage sector today, but few archaeologists and other professionals working in the heritage sector have professionally thought deeply about the future at all.

Working Groups
Nearching Factory

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