The Caraheard Podcast is Back!

One of my survival strategies for being over extended and feeling overwhelmed is taking on new projects or excavating old ones. Fortunately, I always have colleagues around to help with this strategy. So when Richard Rothaus proposed that we start a new season of the Caraheard podcast, the timing was perfect and there was no way that I could refuse.

I am very excited to announce the rebooting of the Caraheard Podcast. This is season four and like past seasons we kick it off with a conversation about the books that we’ve read over the past twelve months and as in the past Kostis Kourelis puts us all to shame not only with the quantity of books, but the quality of his commentary. 

You can listen to season four of Caraheard on Soundcloud or via iTunes. The show notes are posted over at and if you really want an immersive Caraheard experience, you can watch our conversation via YouTube:

Richard and I are already talking about what this season will look like and have a few idea for folks we’d like to talk to before the summer. But we’re also a bit over extended. It might be best if you don’t hold your breath!

Three Things Thursday

It’s been a while since we’ve done a three things Thursday and since I’m feeling like I have a bunch of little things starting to back up in my inbox. 

Thing The First

I was pleased to see that the interview that I recorded with Tristan Boyle for his The Modern Myth podcast has appeared. You can listen to it here.

I have to admit that I was pretty nervous speaking with Boyle. This not because I’m particularly media shy, but because there is so much going on in the world these days. Between the daily tragedy of the COVIDs, the BLM-related protests, and the anxiety surrounding the fiscal well-being of educational and cultural institutions, their diversity, and their priorities in a inevitably more austere, post-COVID world, I was acutely aware that reflecting on my own work was an act of significant indulgence. The frivolity of punk archaeology, the misguidedness of slow archaeology, and utter ambiguity (and idealism) of “the archaeology of care” reinforces their collective irrelevance in the face of the need for real and urgent change and a future with significantly diminished resources.

So if you do listen to the podcast, I ask that you please understand that my self-indulgent prattle belies my personal anxiety about the future of archaeology as both an academic discipline and as a meaningful contributor to a more diverse and just world.

Thing The Second  

Last week, I posted a list of volumes published by ASOR and available via the HathiTrust under an open license. After I published the post, I discovered that I had overlooked one small series published as three volumes between 1978 and 1981 and called the ASOR Monograph Series:

Volume 1: Robert T. Anderson, Studies in Samaritan manuscripts and artifacts : the Chamberlain-Warren collection. 1978. Not available.

Volume 2: Ziony Zevit, Matres lectionis in ancient Hebrew epigraphs. 1980. Download here.

Volume 3: James Hamilton Charlesworth. The New Discoveries in St. Catherine’s Monastery: a preliminary report on the manuscripts. 1981. Download here.

Thing The Third

Finally, I’m happy to announce the publication of Anna Kouremenos and Jody Gordon’s edited volume Mediterranean Archaeologies of Insularity in an Age of Globalization (2020). Jody invited me to work on an article with him that considered the impact of insularity and globalization on Cyprus in the Early and Late Roman period. Not only did we get to indulge in a bit of cross period comparisons, but it gave me a chance to develop some of my arguments in a more robust theoretic framework (almost entirely provided by Jody!).

I’ll figure out how and when I can share our contribution to this book. Of course, I’m happy enough to share a copy of our piece over email. 

Adventures in Podcasting: David Pettegrew, the Isthmus, and Corinthian Awesomeness

It was really exciting to have David Pettegrew come and hang out on the Caraheard Podcast earlier this month. For those who don’t know David, he is one of oldest professional collaborators and friends and our careers have become inexorably linked starting with the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey (EKAS) and continuing through the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project and co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology.

For those who don’t know, David Pettegrew teaches at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Years ago now, he came to the University of North Dakota to deliver the Cyprus Research Fund Talk titled “Setting the Stage for St. Paul’s Corinth: How an Isthmus determined the character of a Roman city”.

He’s a colleague of Jon Frey and worked at Isthmia where we overlapped with Ömür Harmanşah. David, Richard, and I are all students of Tim Gregory and worked at the Panhellenic Sanctuary at Isthmia.

We mention Tim’s publication of the Hexamilion Wall and Fortress at Isthmia, Kenchreai (and the work of Joe Rife and Sebastian Heath).

We mention the Nemea Valley Archaeological Project (and we’d be remiss not to include a link to  Effie Athanassopoulos’s newest book: NVAP II: Landscape Archaeology and the Medieval Countryside),

We also mention John Bintliff and Anthony Snodgrass’s work in Boeotia and the Kea survey project which continues to attract scholarly attention.

If you want to know where the Kraneion basilica is. It’s here. It’s much more fun than reading about it in James Wiseman’s classic book The Land of the Ancient Corinthians

If you want to know what Cromna is or was, you have to start with this article.

We talk about Jay Noller and our methods at the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey. To understand the folly of our ways (or our sneaky genius) start by reading this.

If you don’t know what slow archaeology is by now, you better ask someone.

We mention a bunch of other projects including WARP (Western Argolid Regional Project), our work on Ano Vayia as well as Tom Tartaron’s, the fort that I published with Tim Gregory on Oneion, and David’s famous “combed ware” article. For more EKAS related bibliography check out David’s bibliography at Corinthian Matters (but the link seems broken!).

Here’s a link to Pettegrew’s book, The Isthmus of Corinth: Crossroads of the Mediterranean World from University of Michigan press.



Richard thinks a book is old school if it uses footnotes. He’s post-citational.

Here’s David’s work on the Diolkos of Corinth, and here’s a rigorously researched ethno-archaeological reenactment of moving a ship over land.

We briefly mention Bill’s work on the the Justinianic Isthmus.

Finally, here’s a link to David’s fantastic Digital Harrisburg project.

Adventures in Podcasting Season 3!

I know that some people expressed doubts over whether the Caraheard Podcasting Experiment ™ was over, but today should demonstrate that it was just a little delayed.

We were lucky enough to have Kostis Kourelis join us to talk about his summer, and Richard and I provided the usual tomfoolery and background noise.  

So, here is Caraheard, Season 3, Episode 1:

Richard and I talked a good bit about his work in the Corinthia including the area around Siderona. We also mentioned my work around Vayia which was published here. We also mentioned David Pettegrew’s important new book on the region, The Isthmus of Corinth: Crossroads of the Mediterranean World. (Michigan 2016). 

Kostis talked about his remarkable summer program in which students studied immigration both in the US and in Greece. You can read more about it here: “From Greek Village to the American City: Archaeology of Immigration,Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Magazine (Summer, 2016)

We then strayed almost immediately from the Mediterranean and talked a bit about defending housing from extreme commodification. We mentioned  David Madden and Peter Marcuse, In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis (New York: Verso, 2016).

We discussed Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, “Learning from Levittown” Studio, 1970, and its classic drawing of the semiotics of a suburban American house.

Richard talks about his traumatic experiences at the parade of homes and various forms of McMansion Hell including the expansion of junk space

This, more or less, led us to the classic essay on the biography of things

Igor Kopytoff, “The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process,” in The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, ed. Arjun Appadurai, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 64-94.

We might also add a similar note about semiotics, although not mentioned in the podcast: Jean Baudrilard, The System of Objects (1968).

From the edge of thingness, we return to sanity by discussing Philadelphia at Halloween.

At some point, we mention that archaeology of care.

Bill talked a bit about the North Dakota University System Arts and Humanities Summit on Outrage which he live-blogged here

He also never misses an opportunity to promote The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and its newest book Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future which will be released next week. 


Season Finale of Caraheard Season 2

The season finale of Season 2 of the Caraheard podcast is simply epic. Over two hours of Caraheard goodness with lots of cross references.

To celebrate, I present you with an equally epic show notes to help you navigate the web of references in this final podcast. 

We talked quite optimistically about the number of podcasts in the first episode of the season. We failed to get to a dozen episodes, but we did one per month and we had some pretty spectacular guests including Dimitri Nakassis, Ömür Harmansah, Jon FreyKostis Kourelis, Bev Phillips, and Kim Stanley Robinson. Pretty cool group for our second season on the internets. 

I think it might be nice to have chapters in our podcast, although they may involve more work than we’re willing to invest. Marco Arment, who developed the fine podcast application Overcast was opposed to chapters, until he wasn’t.

We mention Michael Shanks, Bill Rathje, and Chris Witmore’s nice edited volume Archaeology in the Making: Conversations though a Discipline. (London 2013). I reviewed the book this essay for the American Journal of Archaeology and we talk about it with Kostis Kourelis on our podcast here.

I mention The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota never missing a chance to promote my little publishing house. Go and download our books.

For those who are curious. This is the mighty Milo at Repose:

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One of our first big hits from our first season was a live podcast with Andrew Reinhard on the topic of archaeogaming. 

Here’s a link to Ryan Adams, Live at Carnegie Hall. I might have overstated the sonic issues with this album. Despite what I said, I do like the live recordings at KEXP. In fact, I just like KEXP. I also mention Neil Young, Live at Massey Hall. This is a fantastic album.

Wikipedia has nice entry on the loudness wars and a useful primer on Foley Effects.

I mentioned my beloved Zu Speakers and misrepresented the power of my stereo subwoofer set up

I keep teasing about OUTRAGE.

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Here’s what I’m talking about.

Next season, we’re teasing David Pettegrew for the show and his new book is already being promoted by the University of Michigan Press.  We also tease having Bret Weber on the show (he doesn’t do the internet) and Aaron Barth (he blogs here sometimes). We also mentioned a book that will come out on my press edited by Erin Walcek Averett, Derek Counts, and Jody Gordon, titled Mobilizing the Past. I need to get something up to promote it. Finally, it would be really cool to get Eric Kansa, R. Scott Moore, and Sarah Lepinski on the podcast as well.

We mention Loutra Elenis in Greece and Richard’s work at Lechaion, Kenchreai, Korphos, and Vayia and mention Dimitri Nakassis’s lovely short piece on Athens.

Www ascsa edu gr pdf uploads hesperia 40981055 pdf

We also talk about some of my work with David Pettegrew at the site of Ano Vayia.

Here’s our stone-by-stone:Www ascsa edu gr pdf uploads hesperia 40981055 pdf 3

And our drawing of the Lychnari tower:

Www ascsa edu gr pdf uploads hesperia 40981055 pdf 4

Tim Gregory wrote desert islands here, he and I published a fort on Mt. Oneion here, and this is the Musandam Peninsula in Oman where Richard’s friend Simon Donato does adventure science 

The ISAW Papers are a pretty cool initiative from the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU. I call KML something strange, but it’s really Keyhole Markup Language.

James Wiseman wrote a very useful topographic study of the Corinthia called The Land of the Ancient Corinthians. While there have been many topographic studies of this region, Corinth I by Fowler and Stillwell remains a classic.  

Bill is preparing these show notes from the village of Polis-Chrysochous on Cyprus. For more on his work there, go here, and for some details on the burials at Polis in the area of EG0 are here. He will also be working with the fine folks at WARP (the Western Argolid Regional Project) and will carefully blog about his time here. Finally, he and his colleagues, plod along in the publication of the Pyla-Kouteopstroa Archaeological Project and here is PKAP I (PKAP II is in the works!). 

Richard’s will be working on the Dakota War. You can get a brief survey of the Dakota Wars in an introduction that Richard wrote for a translation of Karl Jakob Skarsteins’s War with the Sioux. You can download that book for free here or buy it on Amazon. There is another university press in North Dakota, and a very fine one at that. Over the course of that conversation we refer to the Pleiades Project, as well as psychogeography and magical realism

Before long, Bill diverges into a conversation about cricket positions

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We talk about how to end things like North Dakota Quarterly or the North Dakota Humanities Council’s Game Changer Series, and how it’s sometimes best to have a plan for how to end something from the beginning. This brings us to the idea of a suicide gene.

Adventures in Podcasting: Kim Stanley Robinson and Archaeological Science Fiction

This is a really good podcast. We were lucky enough to have a chance to sit down with Kim Stanley Robinson at this years University of North Dakota Writers Conference. For those of you who don’t know, Kim Stanley Robinson is among the most decorated, recognized, and respected science fiction writers in the world right now. We chat with Robinson about his massive and influential Mars Trilology. This work is not car chases and laser beams but elaborately constructed landscapes and psychologies, which as Robinson himself notes, evoke the feel and drama of the 19th century novel set in the 21st century.

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For our archaeologist audience, the 19th-century texture of Robinson’s great trilogy will feel familiar as its emphasis on landscapes and every day life echoes contemporary archaeological sensibilities. The work of a research team on Mars offers all of the mundane drama of an archaeological project set against the backdrop of the red planet. Robinson constructs a Martian society as it develops over nearly a century and interweaves the personalities and politics that come to dominate the red planet as it struggles to define its relationship to both earth and humanity.

We only scratch the surface of Robinson’s work on the podcast, but we do explore the various places where Robinson’s science fiction and archaeology intersect in an entertaining and wide ranging conversation. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Robinson’s Writers Conference assigned driver, Dr. David Haeselin, who has a couple of nice interviews with Robinson forthcoming in various publications. We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank, once again, Prof. Crystal Alberts, the director of the UND Writers Conference who fit our recording into a hectic week of events. Finally, we have to thank the man himself, Kim Stanley Robinson, who was so generous with his time and willingness to share his wide ranging interests with us.

It seems fitting that we start our chat with the Moon landing and Richard and Stan share their experiences as 17 year olds at  Elgin Air Force base. Richard remembers seeing the awesome SR-71 Blackbird in his backyard.

For those of you unfamiliar with Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, here are the links. 

Red Mars (1993)
Green Mars (1994)
Blue Mars (1996) 

And a related work of short stories titled The Martians (1999).

For more on the landscapes of the Bakken in North Dakota, check out Richard Rothaus et al.’s contribution to The Bakken Goes Boom, “100 Miles of Wild: North Dakota Badlands Transect” (p. 225-254)

Who is Richard Rothaus anyway? Well, here’s his CV.

If you want to check out some of the early imagery from the Viking mission to Mars. Here is a globe of Mars based on Viking images. Here are more from the two Viking orbiters.

We talk about 18th, 19th, and 20th century impressions of landscapes and their influences on landscape archaeology. Here are two books that shaped Bill’s thinking: 

Michael Shanks, The Archaeological Imagination. (Left Coast Press 2012).
Matthew Johnson, The Idea of Landscape. (Blackwell 2007).

Stan mentions John Muir on the Sierras. You can download some Muir’s writing here. Ansel Adams is pretty ubiquitous, but you can get a good idea of the scope of his work here. Henry David Thoreau’s journals are also available online. Check them out here.

Bill mentions using cameras to produce 3D structure-from-motion images. A bunch of people talk about that here. Richard mentions sketching, so here are some of his sketches

Stan talks about tectonic uplift on the western part of Crete. Here’s a nice discussion of that (pdf). He also mentions the site of GortynZakros, and Lyttos (although not be name). Lyttos is here.  

We talk about the Corinth Canal a bit and think about whether such a project could be undertaken in antiquity. You can’t talk about the canal or Corinth or the Diolkos without talking about Pettegrew.

We discussed space elevators, and Stan gave credit to Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Charles Sheffield for imagining them in science fiction. 

Richard was responsible for producing this (and the last few) Caraheard podcasts. So improvements in sound quality are all his doing. Bill, on the other hand, has done all he could to undermine Richard’s mad mixing skills. For example, this is where Bill turns on his microphone in the podcast

If you don’t know who Jane Goodall is, then, here’s a link. If you don’t know who Tim Gregory is… here’s a link.

Stan talked about the four temperament test

Bill wrote a blog post on the archaeology of Red Mars. 

Stan mentions his 2002 book The Years of Rice and Salt, as well as Donald Blankenship at Texas and going to Antarctica (and publishing this book based on his time there).

He also previews a radio play that he’s doing with Marina Abramovic at the Arthur C. Clarke Center at UCSD

We dilate a bit on the Kensington Runestone

If you want to know more about Google Mars, go here. Here is something that talks about the levels of passes in the High Sierras

Richard promotes my book (second link in these show notes, but it’s free!): The Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota.

Richard can resist talking about his truck, again, and it’s not a Caraheard podcast without a mention of Tom Isern

Things I Learned in 2015

It’s the end of the year and I suppose it’s also a time for traditional reflection on all the things that we learned over the previous 12 months. I obviously learned academic stuff and archaeological stuff and even some historical stuff, but I also think that I have a better grasp on practical stuff. Here are the top four things I learned about living the academic life.

1. The Mixed Blessing of Sabbatical. I consider myself very fortunate to have a year of sabbatical last year and I pushed a bunch of material into the academic pipeline over the 9 months without teaching or university service. This was great and I finished sabbatical with very few regrets and a number of surprising, new, spontaneous projects that appear poised to pay dividends.

The downside is that I am now completely swamped as all those little projects pushed into the pipeline (articles, book reviews, book manuscripts, conference papers) are coming home to roost when I have far less time to bring them to completion. David Pettegrew and I have a term for this kind of overwhelmed feeling: blow out. The biggest symptom of blow out is an inability to focus on any task and a deep fatigue. This Christmastime, I found myself simply overwhelmed and crushed, but this did not stop the relentless flow of responsibilities and projects flooding my inbox. Last night, I had a stress dream involving a project that my wife was working on!

Like so many things at the modern university, the institutional structure of annual budgets, the annual academic year, and annual review structures the system of pressures and rewards. These annual pressures and rewards are somewhat incompatible with the long game most of us play with our scholarship. In my experience, the frantic pace of work over a sabbatical will yield a mixed bag of results over the coming year or two as projects come together.

2. Democratic Doesn’t Mean Good. Over the last year, Richard Rothaus and I have embraced enthusiastically the medium of podcasting and have both recognized its origins as a tool to democratize audio broadcasting. At the same time, we’ve both recognized that podcasting as a medium requires more attention to production than perhaps we anticipated. An echoey, static-filled podcast, with irregular levels embraces the amateur punk-rock aesthetic, but do little for overall listenability. We keep on improving our sound and editing skills and I think that most recent podcasts sound better than our first.

At the same time, I think we’ve both recognized that presenting a recorded conversation involves a good bit more patience and choreography than I expected. Richard is already better than me at letting our guests talk and taking turns in conversation, but I’m learning that conversations on the podcast are a series of small set pieces that respond to each other. To allow these to develop, I need to keep practicing being patient and setting up our guests and Richard. 

3. The Power of a Brand. One of the most amazing things I’ve encountered this year is how important having a recognized brand is for visibility on the web. In the past 3 months, I’ve been editing North Dakota Quarterly’s much expanded web presence and the response has been remarkable. We already are averaging well over 150 page views per day even during the traditionally slow month of December. As we introduce a range of new content across the website, it is hard to deny that the power of NDQ brand will ensure a baseline audience for our digital growth.

I also learned, after a couple of missteps, that a long-standing brand like NDQ has very committed stakeholders. Expanding our digital presence has not been without some teething pains and things like the extent and character of editorial review and guidance are still being hashed out. Negotiating the balance between the speed of collaboration and the speed needed to maintain an interesting body of web content will be our challenge over the next month.

4. We’re All Busy. I have lots of irons in the fire right now and many of them require collaboration with folks. Generally, I’m an impatient collaborator who expects every project to be everyone’s top priority. I have to get better at working with my collaborators and managing my workflow around their priorities as much as mine. In other words, I have to do better realizing that other people are every bit as busy as I am. Saying that I’m not busy just isn’t enough.


Christmas Eve

Start a new Christmas tradition by listening to Professor Footnote’s (Brett Ommen and Joel Jonientz) podcast: “Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the American Christmas.”

Adventures in Podcasting: Richard, Kostis Kourelis, and I talk about the four best books they read this year

As mandated by the culture of podcasts and media, we have created an end of-the-year best-of list.   Bill, Richard and guest Kostis Kourelis discuss the 3 or 4 books we read this year and found most thought-provoking and interesting.  Without any collusion or prior discussion of our choices, we have created a list that includes non-fiction, fiction, surreal realism, pleasant works, painful works, old works, new works, short works, and long works.  Get reading!


William Caraher’s Top 3 + [1 bonus]:

Kostis Kourelis’ Top 4 + [1 bonus]:

Richard Rothaus’ Top 3 + [1 bonus]:

Bill makes a wonderfully obscure reference to a “Borgesian Nightmare.” He is referencing the Jorge Luis Borges short story “On Exactitude in Science.”  You can listen to the story here.  (Also, please note, we delivered a podcast that spontaneously included Louis Aragon, Walter Benjamin, and Jorge Luis Borges, and we challenge you to find another podcast that has done that).

Bruno Latour got an explicit reference, but you should note that he is frequently lurking in the background.

We referenced the Bloomsbury series “Object Lessons,” and recommended Brian Thill, Waste (2015).

All three of us highly recommend Erik Anderson, The Poetics of Trespass (2010)

We rashly promised a podcast vel sim along the lines of “Bakken Mancamps in 100 (or maybe 25) Objects,” inspired by Richard Kurin, The Smithsonian’s History of American in 101 Objects (2013).

The erudite Dr. Kourelis also mentioned all of these:

And, don’t forget to mark your calendars and get your plane tickets for the UND Writers Conference, April 6-8, 2016.  Bill and Richard will be there, and we can recommend K.S. Robinson’s Red Mars as a thoughtful and enjoyable science fiction work about exploration, society, and more (and Mars).

Adventures in Podcasting: Seasons 2, Episode 4 talking ISIS, salvage archaeology, and landscapes with Ömür Harmanşah

This month’s Caraheard podcast is really good. Richard and I talk with Ömür Harmanşah about a wide range of topics from ISIS’s destruction of antiquities to salvage archaeology in the Near East. There’s almost no excuse not to drop everything and listen to our podcast immediately.

In some ways, this podcast was a follow up from an earlier conversation that Richard and I had in Episode 4 of season 1 (and which Richard on his blog explored here) but Ömür brought to our conversation a more subtle perspective drawn in part from his recent publication in Near Eastern Archaeology, “ISIS, Heritage, and the Spectacles of Destruction in the Global Media. For more of his work, check out his page.

Ömür’s perspective is quite distinct from the widely circulated Atlantic Monthly article by Graeme Wood which sees ISIS as a Medieval state. We discussed the very modern and very capitalist realities of ISIS’s involvement in antiquities trade and the destruction of antiquities.

We are also critical (albeit not in an entirely negative way) of ASOR’s Syrian Cultural Heritage Initiative, Ömür introduces us to the work of Severin Fowles especially his An Archaeology of Doings: Secularism and the Study of Pueblo Religion (Santa Fe 2013), and we explore the idea of political ecology in the anthropocene (with special reference to Lucy Lippard’s Undermining which I blogged about here).

As evidence for this ranging conversation, we discuss the intersection of religion and capital in Saudi Arabian attitudes toward sacred and historic landscapes, attitudes toward various pasts in Beirut, and the Georgian monastery at Yiallia on Cyprus which I blogged about here. No Caraheard podcast is complete without a reference to E.P. Thompson.

Ömür’s project is the Yalburt Yaylası Archaeological Landscape Research Project. You can read more about Tim Matney’s project at Ziyaret Tepe here.