This week has turned into some pretty exciting for me. If you’re in the area, you should certainly drop by O’Kelly Hall 203 between 11 and 1 to see the Working Group in Digital and New Media’s Open House. I am very fortunate to have a collegial and creative group of people in the Working Group and it is always exciting to see what they’re doing.
First, POTTERY. We’re getting closer and closer to having the full dataset from the survey component of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project published by Open Context. I’ve blogged about this already here and here. While everything is not quite ready with the data, Eric Kansa and the Open Context team has generously made a version of our data available to show off at the Working Group open house this afternoon. You can check it out here.
I will blog about this at greater length next week, but I am very excited to continue to work with the Open Context team to make more of our archaeological data available. I can already envision the data from the Ohio Boeotia Expedition, the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey, The Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project Excavations at Vigla and Koutsopetria, Princeton Polis Expedition’s work in the area of E.F2, and even (gasp) the North Dakota Man Camp Project. This will, of course, require the permissions and cooperation of a whole group of scholars as well as an infusion of resources for the tedious task of processing the data, but the potential is enormous.
Next, PUNK. Every day The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota gets one step closer to publishing its first volume: Punk Archaeology. Yesterday, I reviewed some cover art produced by the talented, flexible, and punk Joel Jonientz.
At first, I didn’t get it. I thought: what the hell does a bowling pin have to do with punk archaeology? Then Joel pointed out that bowling is punk, and I began to think about the bowling pin as a good representation of the mundane objects often studied (and elevated to iconic status) by archaeologists. I mean, is a bowling pin any less intrinsically interesting than, say, a transport amphora or a cooking pot?
In fact, years ago Kostis Kourelis mentioned the Built-In Ashtray project in the context of punk archaeology at his blog. I also couldn’t help thinking of the mundane objects associated with Damien Hirst’s nearly contemporary installation titled School: The Archaeology of Lost Desires, Comprehending Infinity and the Search for Knowledge which includes a comfortable chair, ashtrays, sausages, live birds, and, of course, sides of beef. It is also hard not to think about David Macaulay’s Motel of the Mysteries in this context as well. Published at the dawn of the punk era (1979), this work presents a fictional account of an excavation of a motel archaeologists from the future who ponder the ritual significance of every day objects.
So, as I reflected more, I began to think that the bowling pin is the quintessential object of punk archaeology and perfect avatar for our movement.