archaeological news

The future of archaeological theory – looking forward with Ben Cullen


On the anniversary of the untimely and sudden death in 1995 of Ben Cullen, archaeologist and anthropologist. Now twenty years past – how time accelerates. And in April Ian Gollop, his friend who found him that December morning, died in St Dogmael’s, West Wales – [Link] [Link] Previous thoughts – [Link] [Link] [Link] [Link] – […]

Binchester – plaster


David Petts has just released a picture of one of the pieces of plaster found this season in the excavations of Binchester Roman town. [Link] [Link] – Lapidarium Septentrionale (in edit)

Cultural heritage and violence in the Middle East


From Fiona Rose-Greenland on openDemocracy war encompasses the old things and places that make us who we are Cultural heritage and violence in the Middle East. Theatres of erasure: Syria and Iraq The violence in Iraq has killed nearly 6,000 civilians since the start of 2014, according to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq. In […]

archaeological discovery – Binchester


There’s something so appealing about archaeological discovery: the excavations at Binchester (I am so missing being there this year) are turning up all sorts. Here’s David Petts reported in Culture24 – Archaeologists find baths of "sociable" Romans and early evidence of Christianity in Durham. (Much better than the article in the UK Daily Mail yesterday […]

Richard III found? – why it matters


It’s all over the news today – the claim that the 500 year old body found by archaeologists under a parking lot in Leicester UK is that of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England who fell at Bosworth Field in 1485, losing his throne to Henry Tudor. For much of the popular press […]

at Metamedia


Last night we celebrated ten years of work in all things archaeological run through our Metamedia Lab. Archaeology: the discipline of things [Link] is one of our latest productions – a collaborative effort (exactly what the studio is meant to stand for) – four of us working together such that the whole book is one […]

Bill Rathje


Bill Rathje died last Friday. Inventor of garbology, pioneer in anthropological approaches to contemporary material culture, expert in ancient civilizations, prescient, daring, and, above all, a great and warm person, larger than life. He had been ill for a long while, but I always thought he’d get better when his doctors found the right medication, […]

Revs at Stanford

We are less than a week away now from the launch of a major new program at Stanford devoted to the history of automobile design, and a whole lot more. I am heading the faculty effort with Cliff Nass and Chris Gerdes. Here is a press report from Andrew Myers in Stanford Engineering. Anyone who […]

archaeological research at the edge of empire

This appeared under the title Edges of Empire – the new excavations at Binchester Roman town, UK in the 2010 opening edition of the online magazine Electrum – [Link] Gary Devore and Michael Shanks Binchester Barrack block turned abattoir – the late cattle ranch in the corner of the fort. The town extended beyond over […]


Update – a revised version now appears at – We are starting to plan for our excavations next summer of Binchester Roman town in the north of England. Here is a short news item about this last summer, released yesterday. July 2010 was the second archaeological field season for the Binchester Project. We are […]

Binchester 2010

The excavations of Binchester – Vinovium – continue this month as the international team arrive from Stanford, Texas Tech and a host of other universities. Community involvement is substantial this year too, with 20 people a week joining the project. website – website – blog –


Our project to explore the Roman town of Binchester – Vinovium – reached the news at Stanford today – [Link] The report took an appropriately student-centered focus. And we certainly had a wonderful team last year. Project site – VINOVIVM.ORG

Metamedia at Stanford

Reception yesterday in our lab at Stanford. Metamedia – because there can be no archaeology without media(tion) – the past is turned into something else – that we may attempt understanding. As archaeologists we displace the remains of the past, translate, write, draw, photograph … A lab – devoted to collaborative experiment. [Link]

“Seeing the Past” – archaeology conference at Stanford

I wound up a fine conference at Stanford today – Seeing the Past – Building knowledge of the past through acts of seeing. Congratulations to the organizers – Stacey Camp, Sarah Levin-Richardson and Lela Urquhart. All the papers are on line and available for comment – [Link]. It is a high quality collection and worth […]

forgery and illicit antiquities – the importance of narrative

From the Guardian today – Forgers ‘tried to rewrite biblical history’ Hundreds of biblical artefacts in museums all over the world could be fakes, it has emerged after Israeli investigators uncovered what they claim is a sophisticated forgery ring. Four men have been charged with the faking of some of the most important biblical discoveries […]

sham archaeological science in the academy

Glasgow TAG conference – the cows come home to Monte Polizzo. A few years ago now I left I field project in Sicily after just two seasons. I was very angry because I felt I had been forced out by people who didn’t want to listen to my concerns. Angry at my wasted effort, because […]

the ancients: now available in colour

John Hooper in the Guardian reviews the “Colours of White” exhibition at the Vatican museums, Rome (until January 31) – Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | The ancients: now available in colour. For hundreds of years, Caligula’s handsome, marble face has stared out at a fascinated world. Now situated at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum […]

Robert Sarmast – more junk about Atlantis

More fantasy archaeology in the news. Robert Sarmast has modelled underwater topographic data and sees the remains of a city. Sarmast’s Atlantis This underwater geology has been well researched and is understood as volcanic activity ([Link] [Link]). But the pictures have far more rhetorical force. As does Sarmast’s own story of the rogue amateur who […]

Bulgaria’s golden archaeological hopes

BBC item today Bulgaria’s ancient Thracian heritage has been thrust into the spotlight this year with a number of key archaeological discoveries in the so-called “Valley of the Thracian Kings”. The golden treasures are attracting international attention and there is a push to make the Thracian heritage Bulgaria’s trademark abroad in a bid to boost […]

Web Watch – Tom Elliott

Just come across Web Watch – a summary of web news and current items on archaeology and classics that comes from Tom Elliott and the Ancient World Mapping Center at Chapel Hill. Very smart.

Fred Dibnah – industrial archaeologist

Fred Dibnah has died [Link] [Picture Link – BBC] Steeple Jack turned uncanny acolyte of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, he knocked down chimney remnants of Victorian industrial England with a style and passion matched only by his love of steam engines. Now industrial archaeology is dogged by rather geekinsh character types who love brass fittings and […]

Jan Assmann and ancient monotheism

A talk and dinner tonight with Jan Assmann, the great Egyptologist – the topic – ancient monotheism. Fascinating. Jan Assmann tonight I am particularly interested in the early genealogy of religion, part of my Origins project. What I came away with was Jan’s distinction between universalist and globalist monotheisms. The first centers upon an inherent […]

another unique species?

A BBC article on the new species of homo UK | Magazine | Eton or the zoo? raises some excellent questions. How would the new species be treated? If it is such a close relative, would we give these people the vote? The discovery of homo floresiensis reiterates what anthropologists have been saying for a […]

a new species of homo?

The discovery of remains of another species of homo that lived alongside modern humans only 18 or even 13 thousand years ago is everywhere today – Guardian Unlimited | Life | “From 18,000 years ago, the one metre-tall human that challenges history of evolution” – a new “hobbit” species found on the Indonesian island of […]