The Top Five Archaeological Bloggers
by Heather Pringle
June 28, 2010
First a confession. As an avid reader of all things archaeological, I love it when archaeologists lay down the trowel, clamber out of the trench, and venture into the public arena to talk sans jargon about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what kinds of trouble and/or joy they had along the way. For years, most researchers saved this kind of fascinating chitchat for the slide shows they gave to local archaeological associations. Very little made it into print.
That was before the blogosphere, however. It now turns out that many younger archaeologists are no more able to resist the siren call of the “publish” button on WordPress and other blogging software than the rest of us are. And I think we are all the luckier and wiser for it. I spend at least a part of every day roaming my favorite archaeological blogs, catching up with archaeologists from Newfoundland to Jordan.
So today, I’d like to tip my hat to the five of the best archaeological bloggers around. Check them out and see if you don’t agree.
1. Middle Savagery. Taking time out from her teaching and from working on a Ph.D. in archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, Colleen Morgan blogs on everything from building a virtual Çatalhöyük on Second Life to the archaeology of the Burning Man festival in Nevada. I particularly loved her recent post, Haram at the Beach, which described the behavior of modestly dressed Muslim women on a Red Sea shore.
2. Elfshot: Sticks and Stones. Here’s how Newfoundland archaeologist Tim Rast describes his eclectic blog. ”It’s a global recession, your only skill has been obsolete for 10,000 years and you have a mortgage to pay. Making a living as a 21st century flintknapper.” Rast is a diehard experimental archaeologist and the series he did on carving up a hooded seal in his backyard and processing all the byproducts to make adzes, harpoons, and other gear is a classic. At one point, Rast risked inciting the wrath of his neighbors by festooning his clothesline with seal gut. Not for the faint of heart perhaps, but not to be missed either.
3. Northwest Coast Archaeology. This superb blog by Quentin Mackie, an archaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada, has just picked up a major award from the Canadian Archaeological Association. And the prize was richly deserved. Quentin has a wonderfully droll sense of humor, a kind of Mark Twainishness that brings just about everything he writes to life. His beat is, as the title suggests, North America’s Northwest Coast, but this blog isn’t just for the specialist. Quentin happens to be in the field right now, but promises to return to the blog in late June.
4. Whitewater PoW Camp Archaeology Project. I’d love to see more archaeologists blogging about what they are up to in the field. Stanford University Ph.D. student Adrian Myers and his team shows us how it can be done, writing every few days on various aspects of their work on a World War II prisoner of war camp in Manitoba, Canada. I particularly loved it when Adrian recruited his father Paul Myers to post on his experiences as a volunteer on the project. Meyers Sr. obviously had a lot of fun in the field.
5. Bad Archaeology. What passes as archaeology in the popular press often needs some serious debunking. And that’s where blogger Keith Fitzpatrick Matthews, the archaeology officer for the North Hertfordshire District Council, and his colleagues step in. Was Noah’s Ark really found recently on Mount Ararat? Or did the Knights Templar leave a nail from the crucifixion in Madeira? Bad Archaeology gets the last word in.
Do you have favorites of your own? By all means drop us a line here at Beyond Stone and Bone, and share their URL’s with us.
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