Punk Archaeology is Happening

And it will be awesome.

I have many projects. Part of my particular limitations as a scholar is my inability to look away from shiny objects or to avoid chasing rabbits. Punk archaeology officially began in February 2008 with a series of posts by myself and Kostis Kourelis on the famous Punk Archaeology blog. Post continued to appear over the next three years and the idea bounced around our heads in an unformed way.

Enter Aaron Barth. Aaron is a graduate student in history at North Dakota State University, and he worked with us in Cyprus this past summer. Over the course of fieldwork in Cyprus, Punk Archaeology came up again and some four or five months later, something has come of these conversations.

Thanks to Aaron Barth’s prompting, some money from the North Dakota Humanities Council, enthusiastic responses from friends and colleague, interest from an amazing group of bands from the Red River Valley, and an open-minded group of collaborators at both North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota, Punk Archaeology is officially happening.

February 2nd/3rd Sidestreet Grille and Pub in Fargo, North Dakota. 

PunkArchaeologyLike us on the Facebook (if you want, if you don’t that’s cool too).

Here is the official announcement:

I’m excited to announce that we have secured a venue, funding, and bands for our Punk Archaeology Event at the Sidestreet Grille and Pub in Fargo on February 2nd/3rd. This is going to happen and it will be awesome.

So, in order to get us in the spirit of Punk Archaeology, I thought I might share some of the intellectual background of the “movement”. The idea came up in conversation between myself and Kostis Kourelis and archaeologist and architectural historian who now teaches at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. We both observed that quite a few archaeologists had some interest in punk rock music. As we considered the causes and consequences of this coincidence, we got to think about how punk rock music – and the larger aesthetic and lifestyle associated with that musical form – influenced archaeology. We then began to document some of these musings in a blog: Punk Archaeology, and, from time to time, talked about turning the blog into something more.

This is where Aaron Barth stepped in. He and I had conversations about Punk Archaeology over the course of some collaborative fieldwork and decided to bring Punk Archaeology to reality by hosting a colloquium in Fargo. So far, we have a great group of scholars willing to contribute, an intriguing group of bands, and a fantastic venue for a meeting that will interrogate the borders of the academy, popular culture, and loud, chaotic, and confused social critique.

So, what’s next?

We’re approaching this event in a completely open-minded way, but offer for some guidance our Punk Archaeology blog. The event will feature a series of short statements, stories, or vignettes that capture the spirit and critique of punk archaeology. We envision these to be between 800 and 1000 words or 3-5 minutes in length (in the spirit of punk!). After the short statements, the audience will be invited to respond, and after this conversation more bands will play and the participants in the round table meld back into the audience blurring the lines between performance and reception.

After the event, we will collect the conference proceedings and some invited contributions including some of the comments by the audience for publication. The book will include essays from the Punk Archaeology blog, from the event, and the responses of the audience. Our plan is to invite Kostis Kourelis and Andrew Reinhard to provide some critical feedback on the paper as a level of peer review, but we’re also committed to capturing the live aspects of the evening. The book will be published in house and be available as an ebook, a print-on-demand paper volume, and be raw DIY.

Finally, here are the details of the event.

Music by Andrew Reinhard (feat. Aaron Barth), June Panic, Les Dirty Frenchmen, and What Kingswood Needs.

Papers by Aaron Barth (NDSU), Bill Caraher (UND), Kris Groberg (NDSU), Richard Rothaus (Trefoil Cultural and Environmental), Joshua Samuels (NDSU), Peter Schultz (Concordia College), and Andrew Reinhard (The American School of Classical Studies Publication Office). We are working on Kostis Kourelis (Franklin and Marshall College)!

We are sponsored by the North Dakota Humanities Council, Laughing Sun Brewery, and The Cyprus Research Fund. The Sidestreet Grille and Pub has graciously provided us with a venue.

Graphic art, publication, audio-visual support will come the Working Group of Digital and New Media at the University of North Dakota. Prof. Tom Isern of The Center for Heritage Renewal at North Dakota State University is our Patron of Punk.


  1. Good luck with this exciting project!


  2. This is going to be awesome.


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