Archaeological project design

Encountering the work of FARO in Flanders (see blog entry – [Link]) prompted me to think about our own project in the Roman borders at the Roman town of Binchester – VINOVIVM.org – and particularly in relation to the Council of Europe’s Faro Convention [Link]

I talked about the implementation of broad principles and policies in heritage management, represented in the likes of the convention, at the fabulous new Gallo-Romeins Museum at Tongeren (the size and splendor of the museum a testament to the significance of the past and of “heritage” in this town of but 30,000 people) – [Link]

Binchester-lion

Binchester – VINOVIVM.org

I presented a pragmatics for running field projects. I explained the idea of such a pragmatics in my commentary on our team taught class in the d.school [Link]

My argument is that archaeology is a creative field, working on what remains of the past – designing the past. The convention supplies a framework, an attitude  towards participatory heritage, one that, albeit implicitly, recognizes the multivalency of the concept. It is a kind of design brief. Archaeological field projects are not only about researching the past. They are typically connected with much broader agendas relating to regional development, conservation, legislative instruments that protect the past, aspirations, stands taken in a cultural politics, like the Faro Convention, to recognize the importance of the past to the present and future, to enrichen, and to open it up to people.

Scientific methodology isn’t therefore enough. Archaeological project design is always located, “actualistic”, dealing with specific conjunctures between past and present. It needs to be iterative and adaptive, a flexible process.

Here is a synopsis of the pragmatics I presented for our Binchester field project, the imagery and a copy of the Faro Convention – [Link].

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