“Ancient Bodies” is basically everything I’ve ever wanted in an archaeology blog. Their articles are intelligent, well researched and thought provoking, as well as important for the general understanding of sex and gender in past societies. The author, a professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, is appropriately colloquial in her writing while maintaining an academic dialogue- a combination that makes for an easy to read and highly informative, professional blog. I love that the concepts breached in this work are conveyed in such a way that they remain accessible to the “general public” without seeming “dumbed down.” I also appreciate the regional scope of the blog- often blogs that center of issues of sex and gender (that I have found, at least), seem to have a specialized area that they cover ( i.e. archaeological sex and gender in ancient Greece and Rome, etc). Additionally, the format of the blog makes it very readable and easy to navigate- this, I feel, is one of the most important parts of any blog, and one that is often undervalued. I really like that, scrolling down the page, I get to see the title and beginning of each post, instead of just titles, or full entries. In all, I highly recommend this blog to every one, as it is a great source of information on the intricacies of sex and gender and this history through the archaeological record.
Favorite Quote: “How long does it take for us to not be surprised that powerful women exist?”
The internet is a wild place. I am constantly amazed at how accessible so much knowledge is with the right key words and a click of a button. My personal wanderings through the vast catacombs of the world wide web have taught me, inspired me, and appalled me, often all at the same time. However, no matter how many cool facts and important ideas are disseminated online, it seems that what the internet loves most is spreading rumours, hoaxes, and lies. It’s just so easy! As such, I was very excited when I found the wordpress blog “Bad Archaeology.” In a discipline where hoaxes and shoddy pseudo-science plague the popular media representation, “Bad Archaeology” provides a healthy serving of hard facts and criticism of some of the more ridiculous archaeological fables. Although I love “evidence” of aliens and swamp monsters as much as, or perhaps more than, the next guy, it’s really great to find an archaeology blog that tackles these subjects and, in sourced detail, rips into them. In particular, I appreciate the authors’ focus not only on the most popular topics (Mayan prophecy!! Aliens built the pyramids!! Jesus was a lizard!!), but also on lesser known, but equally ridiculous artefacts and stories. Additionally, I appreciate the authors attention to detail and dedication to providing comprehensive background on the growth of controversy over all the archaeological sites/etc that are discussed. Overall, this blog provides and entertaining and informative glimpse of how the media and pop culture influence the image of archaeology in the modern world.
Finally, I’d like to present the Ancient Southwest Texas Project. Like the preceding blog, this one represents a collective effort. Authors publish detailed entries pertaining to their respective projects, many of which share a number of stylistic similarities. Posts contained details such as site dimensions, specifics of excavated material, and descriptions of features. These posts were also filled with pictures from each site investigation. A number of entries contained notes from the author’s field journal, an addition that lends further detail to the account. All these elements help to inform the reader’s understanding of the processes involved in excavation.
Described as a peer-reviewed blog, Then Dig showcases work by a variety of authors. A number of entries advocate for a particular approach to archaeological analysis, one which considers the sensory stimuli (e.g. colour, texture, scent, etc.) involved in the production of material culture. Each author presents their ideas using a different writing style. Some have an almost rhythmic quality that does not compromise the effectiveness of the work. Also notable is the authors’ tendency to build on one another’s observations; this is accompanied by the citation of academic sources, a feature that adds to the blog’s credibility.
This blog (http://blogs.berkeley.edu/) is moderated by UC Berkeley. These various blogs are definitely aimed towards professionals as well as students. This isn’t only limited to archaeologists or anthropologists. The blogs can be about nearly any academic subject. The contributors to the blogs tend to mostly be professors although it seems like a fairly wide group of people including students and other scholars may comment on the various posts. Since these blogs are moderated by people from a university, the information is highly informative and credible. The information is a bit dry though and perhaps could be more readily available to the general public if the blogs didn’t seem to be just exclusive to professionals, professors, and students. Otherwise the content was interesting!
This site (http://anthropology.net/about/) was actually really informative and fun to read. The blogs currently have three contributors and all of them have formal education through various universities and their training ranges from BA’s to PhD’s. The audience is aimed more towards professionals although anybody interested in archaeology or anthropology would find this site to be fascinating and informative. The information includes different topics including archaeology, physical anthropology, and cultural anthropology. The site is also organized very well and people are free to leave comments as well as input on various topics. Although this particular site may not be aimed at a wide audience the content is useful, informative, and very interesting!
This site (http://archaeology-travel.com/blog/) was actually pretty informative as well as entertaining. The author of the blog is Thomas Dowson who is a professional archaeologist who gave up academic research and decided to make this website to give information on various archaeological sites throughout the world. The site also gives insight into specific things such as cave art in France, Roman amphitheaters, etc. The audience is targeted to the general public and to those interested in archaeology and travelling. However, since Mr. Dowson is a professional archaeologist by training it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find that other professionals look at this site. There is even a section for kids! Although this particular site may not be widely viewed, it is very thorough and definitely includes a wide span of archaeological information from all across the world.
The Society for Historical Archaeology hosts its own blog featuring contributions from a variety of authors who regularly post updates on archaeologically relevant events and opportunities. Of particular interest, however, is the blog’s “Current Topics” category. Authors writing under this category often discuss key concerns in archaeology today, including carrying out conscientious study, engaging community members young and old, and connecting our study of the past to contemporary events and issues. Judging from its four thousand follower count, the blog succeeds in addressing the interests of the wider public. Perhaps the best quality of this blog is the way in which it reaches out to its audience, actively encouraging individuals to contribute their own content to the blog and emphasizing the importance of getting involved with current issues in archaeology.
Next up is Castles and Coprolites, which hosts the work of Dr. Lisa-Marie Shillito. As its title suggests, this blog contains a good deal of information regarding feces and their role in archaeology. Perhaps not the most readily engaging topic, and certainly not the first to come to mind when thinking of archaeology and what it entails. But more than that, Shillito discusses and analyzes different types of minute evidence, ranging from fungal spores to phytoliths. For those less well versed in the terminology, Shillito provides illustrative descriptions and definitions. Her choice of study draws attention to those very small and easily overlooked lines of evidence, and what they can contribute to our understanding of the bigger picture of past environments and ways of living.
In Archaeology in (Geo)Space, author Rebecca Seifried serializes her field studies of under the title “Travels in the Aegean.” Seifried also includes helpful tips tutorials for a range of GIS and other mapping techniques. Though the blog is arguably best suited to those with prior knowledge of GIS (unlike myself), it is visited by professional archaeologists and enthusiasts alike; the casual but informative style makes it accessible to a wider audience. Seifried’s discussion helps to decouple archaeology from artifacts by shifting focus to the ways in which humans interacted with their environments, as well as the ways in which archaeologists reconstruct those conditions. Unfortunately, Seifried has posted infrequently in the past few months, and sporadically since the blog’s inception. However, what content has been posted carries on a narrative of sorts, one which can be useful to those looking to broaden their understanding of what archaeology entails.