Friday, 17 January 2014

Archaeology and Photography (Royal Anthropological Institute Conference Panel)

Image: "The buried bank of a Bronze Age field boundary ditch found in the deeper soils of the Newark Road subsite,  Cambridgeshire". From Francis Pryor's 'Flag Fen' (1991. London: English Heritage), p. 61. 
Lesley McFadyen and I are convening a panel on the theme of 'Archaeology and Photography' at the Royal Anthropological Institute's conference on Anthropology and Photography at the British Museum, 29-31 May 2014. We received a very high number of proposals, and from which an excellent provision schedule based around four themes - Knowledge, Time, Absence, and Art - has emerged. 

The Paper titles and short abstracts are below. The panel will be chaired by Dan Hicks (Oxford) and Lesley McFadyen (Birkbeck), and Victor Buchli (UCL) will act as Discussant. 
These details are still provisional, as we await confirmation of time and venue from the RAI conference organisers. These will be posted here and on the RAI website in due course.


ARCHAEOLOGY AND PHOTOGRAPHY: PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME

I  KNOWLEDGE

Duncan Shields (De Montfort University) - Alfred Maudslay's causality dilemma: photography, archaeology and the influence of 19th-century travel literature.
This paper will attempt to account for the relationship between travel literature of the nineteenth century and the photography of archaeological surveys in the work of Alfred Maudslay.

Melania Savino (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz) - Reaching the public: archaeology and photography in the Turkish Republic.
This paper aims to explore the visual representation of archaeology in the Turkish Republic through the medium of photography. Based on images found both in official publications and archives, this research investigates how archaeological knowledge was created and presented to the general public.

Charlotte Young (University of Exeter) - Visual literacy and site photography in the mid 20th century.
This paper considers how photographic discourse in archaeology affects our perception of the discipline. Today, there is no specific study on how Processual and Postprocessual archaeology affected the visual representation of archaeology in photography published in academic and non-academic works.

Colleen Morgan (University of York) - Archaeological photography as dangerous supplement?
This paper discusses the process of creating a theory-laden archaeological photography, using the photographic record from the sites of Catalhoyuk and Tall Dhiban. Through this record I will investigate photography and visualization as a particularly productive instance of the dangerous supplement.


II  TIME

Dan Hicks (Oxford University) - Unrepeatable experiments: photographs and the double historicity of archaeological archives
This paper reports on archival research undertaken in 2014 into the author's own archaeological fieldwork, carried out for English archaeological units between 1989-1999. In doing so, the paper thinks through some of the limits of life-writing in archaeological thought and practice.

Antonia Thomas (University of the Highlands and Islands) - The Brodgar Stone: image and artefact
This paper presents a photographic biography of the Brodgar Stone, a carved Neolithic slab found in 1924 at the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney. It then extends the discussion to include the wider assemblage from the site to explore the role that photography plays in constructing archaeological narratives.

Mark Knight (Cambridge Archaeological Unit) and Lesley McFadyen (Birkbeck) - At any given moment: archaeology and photography
This paper is about how archaeology and photography share similar properties especially when it comes to exploring ideas concerning extent (space) and duration (time).


III ABSENCE

Oscar Aldred (Newcastle) and Ian Thompson (Newcastle University) - Archaeological imaginaries and erasures: photographing the Great Northern Coalfield
This paper is based on a collaborative project called Imaginaries and Erasure in the Great Northern Coalfield. In this paper we will explore our research by addressing the specific way that Imagination and Erasure interact with one another when viewed through an archaeological lens.

Jennifer Baird (Birkbeck) - Mistaken images: intent and accident in archaeological photography
Archaeological archives preserve many failed photographs. Using archival photographs from 1920s and 30s excavations at Dura-Europos, this paper considers how unpublished photographs shaped archaeological knowledge, and what alternate histories of archaeology they might reveal.

Danae Fiore (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires) and Marie Lydia Varela (Universidad de Buenos Aires) Photographs as artefacts: a visual archaeology of three indigenous societies of Tierra del Fuego.
This presentation proposes a "visual archaeology" of ethnographic photographs as artefacts which contain information about indigenous socioeconomic practices and material culture trends. This approach is applied to 1130 photographs of 4000 individuals from 3 indigenous societies of Tierra del Fuego.


IV  ART

Ursula Frederick (Australian National University) - Dust on the lense: intersections in archaeology and art photography
This paper surveys the work of contemporary Australian art photographers whose practice involves a dialogue with archaeology. In addition to considering artwork made within the landscapes and fabric of heritage, it explores how contemporary art photographers think and practice archaeologically.

Carolyn Lefley (University of Hertfordshire) - Excavating images: a photographic response to an archaeological excavation
In 2013 Timespan Heritage Museum in Scotland commissioned photographic artist Carolyn Lefley as their Artist in Residence during the excavation of a longhouse ruin. This paper explores the relationship between photography and archaeology, referencing Lefleys methodology and photographic output.

Helen Wickstead (Kingston University) and Martyn Barber (English Heritage) - Drawing on photos: aerial photogrammetry and virtual mapping, 1865 to 1900
The spectacular failures of early aerial photography reveal that, although aerial photographs are often treated as virtual maps today, making this equivalence requires fundamental transformations in ways of viewing and relating drawings and photographs.

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