ARTIFACT is... EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Eugenia Ellanskaya CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dexter Findley CO-CREATOR Laurie Hutchence EDITORS Eugenia Ellanskaya MaryAnn Kontonicolas Dexter Findley CONTRIBUTORS Lewis Glynn MaryAnn Kontonicolas Jenny Murphy Eugenia Ellanskaya Tobias Bowman Dexter Findley David Colbran PHOTOGRAPHY Charles Conway THANKS TO Susanne Kuechler Joe Flatman Judy Medrington Steve Shennan
ARTIFACT SPRING 2012 STARMAN
aliens and archaeology lewis glynn 06.
ANTHROPOLOGY OF RIOTING why the london riots happened dexter findley 08.
review of fieldwork opportunities 14.
film as an archaeological tool tobias bowman 15.
AIRSTRIKES IN ISRAEL
tales from the field eugenia ellanskaya 16.
interview with maryann kontonicolas 19.
reviewed by jenny murphy 20.
recreating an icon eugenia ellanskaya
teach yourself david colbran 23.
THE GAMES PAGE pointless fun
Artifact is an Archaeology and Anthropology magazine based in the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London. If you have any queries, comments, or would like to write for us, email the address below: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Artifact 2012. All rights reserved.
ere’s A Starman Waiting In e Sky I think there’s an apology to make I think we’ve made a big mistake e truth we all think is real We need to open up and start to feel A false reality created in our mind It is in the stars and the great beyond e true answers we will nd LEWIS GLYNN DISCUSSES THE LUNATIC FRINGE BENT ON THE BELIEF THAT ALIENS CONSTRUCTED THE WORLD'S MONUMENTS e Great Pyramid at Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It serves as an everlasting monument of the majesty and power of the Pharaoh, towering above all those that look upon it. Built by a massive work force in around 20 years, the pyramid was indeed an architectural leap forward for the people of the time. But the question is, was it really a human construction? Was it really possible for humans to create the pyramid in such a relatively short period of time? I mean, seriously, look at the sheer scale of that thing! e pyramid aligns almost exactly with the points of the compass. e angles of the pyramid are so accurate. Is this level of accuracy really possible by the humans of Old Kingdom Egypt? Furthermore, who could ever have dreamt up such a monumental architectural feat? Where did the knowledge come from to suddenly build a pyramid larger than anything known in the world at that time? Now the ramp used to drag the blocks up to the pyramid. at in itself has been estimated to take 10 years to make. ere is only one explanation: aliens. More evidence you say? Well let us shoot across the ocean to Peru and the famous Nazca lines. Animal shapes that can only be seen from the air? And two sets of parallel lines that run together for a long distance? e only viewers of these would be our alien masters in the space above us. e humans had seen them visit before, and were leaving them signals. Not only that, they even gave them a runway to land their space ships on. ere is no other plausible explanation for these lines in the landscape. At that time no other human being would have been able to view these lines, so it makes perfect sense does it not? ey put those lines there so that the navigationally challenged ancient astronauts could both locate them and then have somewhere to land their space ships. ere is only one explanation: aliens. My nal example (not that this is an exhaustive list) comes from the Levant during the Neolithic. Now the Neolithic saw the rise of early villages with emphasis 4
on private domestic space. Furthermore, the rise of social and cultural themes is prevalent and one of the best examples can be seen in the appearance of gurines in some village sites along with some face masks and burials underneath houses. Take a look at some of these gurines. ese gurines and masks clearly show faces and bodies, but could you really say that these were human beings? Large scary eyes, elongated necks and long owing out-of-proportion bodies; yes these are so very human. Where did they get their inspiration from? Who were they for? Were they for religious purposes? Nonsense! ere is only one explanation: aliens. ere is only so much pretentious waﬄe that I can spurt at one time. What you have just read is what some genuine people believe and can be made to believe. Maybe I have even made some of you believe. Let me now deconstruct these theories and present some theories of my own. e ‘mystery’ of the Great Pyramids is not really much of a mystery these days. Various computer models have been constructed to map the building of the pyramid. Not just one, but several. Furthermore, the fact that multiple scenarios have been created means that it must have been possible for a human workforce to construct the pyramid. And while I am at it, I have a very simple explanation as to how the ‘idea’ for the pyramid came about. It is called EVOLUTION and DEVELOPMENT. If some of these narrow minded people actually looked at the archaeological record for ancient Egypt they would nd their answer. Track the development of the Egyptian tomb from the uni cation of Egypt and, hallelujah, the eagle has landed. Mastaba tombs, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the Bent Pyramid and then of course the Great Pyramid at Giza. e pyramid design followed a method of trial and error over its development. And these developmental stages are CLEAR in the archaeological record. ere is no alien mystery surrounding this at all.
I admit that explaining my way out of the Nazca lines argument may be a bit more challenging (not being my area of expertise) but nonetheless I shall give this a go as well. Even in our modern world, there is always something mystical and mysterious about the sky; it towers above us in a great open in nite expanse. Many of us look to the skies when in search of inspiration or answers. For past human civilisations that did not have a grasp of science, they would oen turn to religion to explain the great mysteries of their time. And the sky is the never ending constant that no human alone can get to. So would it not make sense to make the great Gods of your religion dwell in the sky above? If religion existed to explain the unknown, what happens now that the unknown can be explained? If past cultures had access to the same information and data that we have, would they have acted diﬀerently? I would like to make the argument that perhaps these people did BELIEVE that there were gods in the sky who they could interact with or perhaps even construct a runway for. But BELIEF is diﬀerent to REALITY and SOLID TRUTH. ey thought that the gods were above them, but with our scienti c knowledge and technology, they would have thought otherwise. Feel free to disagree, just a theory. And nally to the Neolithic gurines; I will agree that these gurines and masks do not look human, but what I do not agree with is that this has to then mean that aliens had visited, and the humans were merely recreating the aliens they had seen. is may seem hard for you to handle. Call me crazy. Call me mad. Call me what you like. I oﬀer you one word, and one word alone. Imagination. For example, when you see children drawing pictures, when does anything
they draw ever perfectly represent what it is meant to? All those times children invent their own characters is not an act of alien intervention but that of human creativity. What about ceremonial masks in Sub-Saharan Africa? You want to call them work of the extra-terrestrials? Furthermore, as the example of Egyptian art shows, some art is meant to be symbolic and not an exact representation of the subject matter. It seems that it is truly shocking to think that the human mind in all its obvious simplicity has the capability of having a creative imagination. People are funny. As I draw to a close, I would like to explain that I am not in fact saying that I do or do not believe in an alien presence in our past. For all I know we may all indeed be the puppets, whose strings are and have always been controlled by our alien overlords from a faraway planet. All I have tried to elucidate in this article is the weakness of the arguments that have been put forward in the past. rough the use of constant questioning of “false scienti c fact” and the presentation of grand theories, held up by dramatic hand gestures, questionable experiments and painfully vacuous phrases, the public have been hypnotised into ‘believing’. e television show Ancient Aliens is the greatest example of what I am talking about. I actually feel sorry for some of the ‘experts’ on that show; you can tell they genuinely believe they have uncovered the greatest mystery in our human history. So I leave you with this; maybe aliens did exist in our past, but there has been no conclusive evidence put forward to back this up. If you are to be the cause of a massive paradigm shi in human thought, rst you have to break through the powerhouse that is archaeology.
FOR FURTHER READING, AND LIGHT AMUSEMENT, CHECK OUT THE WORKS OF ERIC VON DANIKEN AND THE TV PROGRAM 'ANCIENT ALIENS'. 5
AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL GUIDE TO RIOTING OR, WHY THE RIOTS HAPPENED BY DEXTER FINDLEY
…And when I mean riots, I mean the riots. Summer ’11: Britain goes up in ames, or at least downtown Tottenham does. Twelve-year-olds roam the streets in gangs, faces covered, sparking up their molotovs. e front cover of Time is a lone riot policeman framed by an inferno subtitled by that old gem, ‘London’s Burning’. Everyone’s Facebook status seemed to be along the lines of “riots, riots in the high street… we cannot get out… they are coming”. e broadsheets were slow to come to conclusions. Some, such as the Guardian and the New Statesman were wise enough to deny any single cause, the former even stretching to that wonderfully post-processual tactic of having a public poll on the subject. Some idiots (Wales Online) even proposed that the real reason was hot weather. Hot weather? Human beings aren’t gas particles, they don’t move faster when heated. By that logic, most Arab countries would have rioted by now (oops). e BBC, in their time-honoured tradition of exact impartiality, forwent trying to explain why the riots happened and instead opted for an article that neatly compared others’ arguments on the subject. e more conservative, tabloid media (I’m looking at you, Sun, Star and Mail) were very quick to jump to conclusions. e keywords “race”, “criminality” and “lost generation” abound. e last time those rst two words were used in the same sentence together was in apartheid South Africa, which probably encapsulates the tabloid level of reasoning quite well. e paper that really took the biscuit, however, is that granny-loving, immigrant-bashing bastion of ‘True Britain’, the Daily Mirror. Reading their article explaining why the riots happened is at once a rather amusing and angering experience. Not only do they openly blame black ‘gangster culture’ for causing the riots, they propose the simplistic solution of ‘building more prisons’ to deal with any future ‘criminality’. All this, packaged in Nick Griﬃn-style rhetorical techniques (“e Britain we knew, the Britain we loved…”, “Too many innocent people have x, too many blah blah blah”), and laced with truly venomous invective (“ lth”, “scumbags”, “common thieves”, “animals”) makes for quite a read. You can almost hear the “England Prevails!” at the end. But seriously. Black culture? Are you really saying that speci cally black culture is to blame? ey even hastily try to cover up their ugly racist posturing by claiming there are in fact many nice black people who have been good little boys and girls by admirably adopting the mores of hard-working British society. And, of course, there’s the requisite holier-than-thou story of “I grew up in a plastic bag on a rubbish dump and I never felt the need to riot”. e point I’m trying to make is that most of the media and politicians (David Cameron and Boris Bike-Johnson were both rmly in the ‘criminality’ camp) have clearly got it all wrong. It has only been in the past month (at the time of writing) when some more interesting discussions on the subject have been put forth, all with a common theme. A few came from the Guardian, one, surprisingly, from the Telegraph, and many from independent news bloggers. e concurrent theme is consumerism. Now, I’m not going to claim this is the reason the riots happened. ere are probably many complex, interwoven issues that led up to it and exacerbated it. But it is a strong place to start. Some of the rioters’ quotes are rather telling. A 19-year old from Hackney discusses his motivations: The looting, I was excited. Because, just money. I don’t know, just money motivated. Everything that we done just money motivated.
In Clapham Junction: There was people ﬁlling up their cars… people running in the roads with goods ﬁlled up in their arms. People going to TK Maxx, getting suitcases and ﬁlling up suitcases.
e most telling has to be from an unnamed 15-year old girl who took part in the looting: Clothes. Having the nicest clothes… the updated things, the big tellies, the fancy phones…people with the Ralph, the Gucci, the Nike, the trainers, the Air Forces, it’s all style, just everyone wants it. If you don’t have it you’re just going to look like an idiot. Like, that’s how we see it, you just look like an idiot. It’s a fashion thing...
One older man who took part in the riots, but did not loot, neatly summed it up: That night those young people they had freedom, because they’re pushed with certain things in their faces all day. Media push, like, you know, ‘buy phones, clothes, cars, jewellery’. Like, you name it, yeah, its pushed in their faces. They haven’t got a job, they don’t know how to get it, so when something’s going on like that and all they do know is the streets, they’re going to go out and get it.
What we have is quite a coherent picture. Corporations want to create a need in people: a need to buy products, stay faithful to brands, compete with their friends in material acquisition. ey bombard their target demographics with advertising, both overt and insidious, for their whole lives. People are reduced to ‘consumers’ by their corporate overlords and their waning government. e sole path to ful lment is through the purchasing and consuming of material culture, leading to the binary holy grails of increase in corporate pro t and increase in national nancial stability. But this is nothing new. People have been talking about the consumerist machine we are all born into for decades. But combine this extreme commodi cation of peoples’ lives with another factor, such as the nancial crisis, and you get something quite extraordinary. What seems to have happened last summer was a mis ring of peoples’ social programming. eir desire for material culture that the socio-corporate complex programmed into them was not being adequately ful lled, especially in younger people. Because of the nancial crisis a breaking point was reached, and these people acquired their desired items through force instead of through payment. Ironically, it may well have been the case that the big businesses that most inculcated this ‘need’ in the rst place were the relatively least aﬀected, leading to the high possibility of such riots happening again. Aer all, if the net pro t from a boom is higher than the odd loss due to rioting during a recession, why change the status quo? And as for the government: why would they ever want to curb invasive advertising or wanton consumerism, when their fate is so inextricably linked with the big nancial institutions that bene t from it? Much better to denounce the rioters as criminals and sweep the social issues under the rug. And so we have become a society that fetishises and glamourises material culture. e material decadences of the past (pyramids, pleasure-domes, hanging gardens) are nothing compared to the global monolith of Western Consumerism in which we are all complicit: a way of living that actively prioritises the constant production and consumption of desirable material goods (and the monetary pro t derived from it) over human rights, human dignity, and the environment. e riots didn’t happen because of criminality, lack of social mores or because of hot weather. ey happened because they are logical outcome of a society such as ours: they are just as much a part of the system as the political and nancial Establishment that so ercely condemned them.
THE GUIDE TO 2012 SUMMER EXCAVATIONS SITE Name, Location
Boredom or enthrallment?
DANGER FACTOR Indiana Jones factor
If you’re into world famous Palaeolithic sites - great! If you’re not into digging up hundreds of tiny bits of broken ints - not so great!
Warning: avoid the wasps’ nest and the country locals with their shotguns!
Not the most thrilling of excavations…
Don’t get caught up in the local power structures if you value your life; not only are there two directors (our very own Mark Roberts and Hudders eld Uni’s Richard Morris) but they also have to contest with Alan and Griselda Garner, the couple who own Blackden… Arguments over cheeseboards have been known to descend into violence! 1/5
Long days in the heat of the sun; pretty tiring.
Small and close-knit team if you’re into intimacy, this is your thing. Having said that, you’ll oen be in a trench all alone!
Are we all in this together?
How much eﬀort?
Not too taxing. 2/5
A close-knit team of about 10. Great for community spirit and for ongoing larks! 5/5
Top row of pictures, from le to right: Blackden, Koutroulou Magoula, Israel, Boxgrove, Mozambique Bottom Row: Other IOA digs from previous years
Crystal skulls or soil samples?
Half a million years old lithics? Hell yeah. 4/5
SOCIAL LIFE 1. Accommodation
Most important thing on this list.
2.What goes on aer work is done?
You have to cook your own food, so be prepared!
Camping. Fairly good. All the comforts a British country Pub has to oﬀer...
SUNSHINE Tan or no tan?
You’re working in a glistening white quarry in the height of summer; wear sun-block or you will burn! But it’s in Britain... 2/5
Highlights included shards of Bakelite and a ‘Made in China’ plastic spider… Blacken is particularly interesting if you’re into discarded 1950s’ tat, a niche speciality perhaps.
Lots and lots of good food provided by the friendly locals of e Blackden Trust.
You’re living in the garden of a stately home so you must be on your best behaviour!
e late British summer, so not too warm, with a fair bit of rain…
If you’re with good people, all is well.
SITE Name, Location
Boredom or enthrallment?
In terms of excavation techniques? Brilliant, our sections were faaaabulous! Expect lithics. Lots of lithics.
Indiana Jones factor
How much eﬀort?
Sunburn I guess... We were only allowed on La Cotte a couple of times, due to the fact it’s gradually collapsing!
e soil we were working on was compacted loess, which has the consistency of concrete. Hard mattocking and scraping/ trowelling!
Supervisors were lovely, really made the trip! Everyone pulled together pretty well.
Are we all in this together?
Bones, ceramics and lithics. Nothing too extraordinary there. We did encounter rock art, though, so that’s a big plus. Work is conducted over a variety of sites in a region, with quite an emphasis on attempting to nd new sites, so there’s lots of variation.
All the creepy crawlies of the African bush. Ultra-corrupt policemen with AK-47s. Civil unrest a moderate possibility. Striking out into the wilderness in search for lost caves. Scaling cliﬀs. Sacri cing chickens. Malaria.
Not too much. Relaxed atmosphere on site.
Small team, great team spirit. e director, Marjaana Kohtamaki, is really sociable.
Really hard work. e soil was very hard and compact, not to mention you’re working from 7-14:30 in the blistering Greek sun! You also have labwork (washing and quantifying pottery/animal bones, otation, etc) in the early evenings.
Fantastic; supervisors and site directors were great. As for the students, they were all from Southampton apart from a masters student from Quebec and me.
You’ve heard the expression ‘living life on the edge’? is place is the edge they’re talking about.
Middle Neolithic magoula (tell) site (with a bit of reoccupation in later periods) in essaly, Greece. If you love pottery, gurines, obsidian, faunal remains, and settlement structures from the Neolithic: this site is for you!
We stayed at a medium-sized village in the elds of Greece, so not too many Indiana Jonesesque opportunities.
Crystal skulls or soil samples?
Probably depends on what you’re interested in. If you don’t care about lithics, then it’ll be a low score! I however love them! We found a good haul of Magdalenian ints over a period of three weeks. For me, that’s a win! Since others may disagree, I’d give it:
SOCIAL LIFE 1. Accommodation
SUNSHINE Tan or no tan?
Most important thing on this list.
2.What goes on aer work is done?
We had Lewis Glover cooking, so the food quality was top notch.
Very beautiful scenery!! We stayed right by the sea, so it was easy to get to the beach, and only 20 minutes or so on a bus to get to site.
ere’s buses to the town. Lots of mischief potential!
Ha... Jersey is supposed to be super sunny. Unfortunately, we brought the weather with us... When it WAS sunny, it was great!
4/5 As mentioned before, nothing too amazing, apart from rock art, and the potential to nd great things... Very little archaeology has been done in the area, so who knows what will turn up?
As always, it depends on what you’re interested in. Some people hate the idea of quantifying shards of Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery for hours, but I loved it. During excavation, it was always really exciting whenever someone found a gurine in-situ.
Mozambican seafood is second to none. e Mozambican dish frango, or fried chicken, was the inspiration for Nando’s cuisine.
Accommodation is in a small (very spartan) house in a village, or camping. If you like your home comforts, don’t come here.
is is sub-Saharan Africa in the dry season. It’s rather sunny, to say the least. 4/5
But most of your time you’ll be in the countryside, eating maize porridge and goat along with everyone else.
e social life is excellent. Because work is not centred around just one site, there’s plenty of opportunity to experience Mozambique itself, not just its archaeology. Also, expect nights out on the town and trips to cool places.
We had breakfast and lunch at a local taverna in the village we were staying at. Breakfasts were good (yogurt, fruit, eggs, ham and cheese pitas, etc) but lunches were what everyone looked forward to. Great food! We were le to our own devices for dinner, and for a medium-sized village we had quite a few tavernas to choose from. ere was also a supermarket.
We went on excursions on the weekends, so that was fun. e play we organised for the nearby villages on site had quite a turnout, and of course the obligatory wine, food, and dancing. When we were there, the village had an anniversary dance on the rst weekend. As for regular entertainment, there is one bar in Neo Monastiri: Tequila Bar. Many fun times were had in this bar…
e rst 3 weeks were hot and sunny. In the last week the autumnal Mediterranean wind and rain started to kick in, which unfortunately some of us on the dig weren’t prepared for. So if you go: be ready for it! 4/5
SITE Name, Location
Boredom or enthrallment?
DANGER FACTOR Indiana Jones factor
Great site, with a view on the Biblical Nahal Besor. Philistine/Egyptian nds, interesting regional transition in site use.
5/5! Gaza rockets bombing, scorpions sneaking under the sand bags!
If the amount you sweat is rougly proportional to the intense heat projected on to you by the Negev sun, you are ne. Can be hard working at dawn when your body is still asleep and lazy.
Excellent supervisors from Ben-Gurion University! I think the heat, the dirt and the swimming pool encouraged a lot of team bonding. Having said that, there was a marked difference in trench conduct between people of diﬀerent nations... (*cough* foreign students...*cough*)
Are we all in this together?
How much eﬀort?
Best for archaeology: Boxgrove, due to the epic lithics Best for sunshine: Israel, duh Best for feeling like a badass: Mozambique Best for food: Jersey (Lewis is going back to cook this year) Best all round: Koutrolou Magoula
If you’re lazy, and just want to fulfull your eldwork requirement with minimum eﬀort...
FOR PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT A GOOD TIME
Comparison based on aggregate of Team Spirit, Food Quality, Social Life and Sunshine, then Work Demand deducted...
Work Demand + Danger Factor
Boxgrove: 10 - 4 = 6 Blackden: 12 - 2 = 10 Jersey: 15 - 5 = 10 Mozambique: 12 - 2 = 12 Koutroulou Magoula: 16 - 5 = 11 Israel: 17 - 5 = 12
Want to feel like you’re actually doing something? Go to Jersey or Koutroulou Magoula. Want badassery combined with hard work? Go to Israel.
So basically, Israel, Jersey and Koutroulou Magoula all have great food, social life, etc, but expect to atone for it with some hard work...
1. WTF!!?!?!? 2. Go to Blackden
IOA DIGS At the time of writing the IOA has listed a few other in-house digs on its eldwork website as well as some of the ones listed here. ey are as follows:
- Cyprus Contact Liane Peyre
- Piltdown Contact Matt Pope, of Jersey fame Both are unknown quantities to us, but they both sound fantastic.
ARTEFACT FOOD QUALITY QUALITY Crystal skulls or soil samples? Most important thing on this list.
Pottery in the trenches, seductively protruding pottery in the sections, 3000 year old pottery chilling on the ground for you; and of course, what we were all so amazing at – beloved mudbrick!
SOCIAL LIFE 1. Accommodation
SUNSHINE Tan or no tan?
2.What goes on aer work is done?
Great food on site, food requests accepted! Yet if you make the mistake of sleeping in on a Friday, prepare to starve: shops and places to eat close down for Sabbath, with very few exception. Desert deliriums guaranteed if you don’t nd food beforehand!
5/5! Old city Jerusalem, Tel Aviv (with amazing sand beach bars to chill at night time, Petra, and if you are short on money you could always chill in the swimming pool/sauna in the campus)
Totally 5/5, constant sun!
THAT’S NOT ALL... INDEPENDENT RESEARCH
In the 2nd year? Have a vague idea what you want to do for your dissertation? Do independent research! Two now-3rd years discuss their experiences:
Project location: Tallahassee, Florida
Project location: Pare Mountains, Tanzania
What did you do?: Intern at the southeast archaeological center, mainly working for the forensic anthropologist and archaeologist. I did metric and non metric measurements of Native American and civil war soldier remains, as well as putting remains with their associated funerary objects. Worked in a team or by yourself: Mainly working in a team Weather: Insanely hot and humid, but had air conditioning thankfully. Hard work or hardly working?: Depended on how much stuﬀ I had to do that day! sometimes I was just sorting through a few bones and doing paperwork, other days I had to count hundreds of bones as well as do measurements of them. Social life: e rst few weeks I was under 21 so I couldn’t go out in the evening with people from the ofce, but aer that it was great! Better than excavating?: Since I am interested in forensic archaeology for me it was great learning how to recognize diﬀerent pathologies of the bone, but if you don’t enjoy being inside all day then it’s probably not for you!
Project type: is research project was to investigate metal working in this area of tanzania particularly Iron Smelting. Most of the work consisted of trying to identify potential smelting site by looking for remains of furnaces and slag. Also put into practice a new system of recording slag. Worked in a team or by yourself: e team only consisted of 5 people so for the most part I worked by myself but at points also led a team within a particular excavations trench so that gave me plenty of experience on lling out context sheets and recording nds etc. Weather: Hot but also got quite cold at night. Hard work or hardly working?: Very hard work as there were very few of us so lots of digging and very little intricate excavation. Social life: It was great to be able to bond with such a small team! We also spent a lot of time with people from the local village so it was nice to get the whole cultural experience!
...as an archaeological tool By Tobias Bowman
e aim of archaeological study is, more oen than not, quantitative. It serves to de ne an aspect of a material culture, one that is the product of a technology, or in some cases, elucidate some of the intricacies of humangenerated society. Anything which can be studied and interpreted in that context can come to serve an archaeological function, shaping our understanding of the way someone lived. Koyaanisqatsi is a lm which few people have watched and fewer would watch twice. It is a documentary about you, not in a personal way, or even a national one, but you as a member of the human race. It attempts to illustrate the world in which you live from perspectives invisible to you most of the time. It consists in its entirety of a series of beautifully shot video clips gathered over years by the director, Godfrey Reggio, and his Lead Cinematographer, Ron Fricke. It was hoped that by removing the traditional foreground of a lm; actors, characterisation, plot, the lm would gain an ineﬀable timelessness and an openness to interpretation which was otherwise unheard of, and probably still is today.
between it and the characters to suggest a point of view, which can be accepted or rejected by the viewer. Koyaanisqatsi does not, it provides a series of images and at the end leaves the viewer to decide what it is they’ve just seen: A thriller, a comedy, a horror, a tragedy, or of course nothing at all, a pointless collection of videos. It is without stated meaning (indeed this article serves to undermine the point of the lm, which is to be without a point) and is therefore a viable testament to human existence at the end of the 20th century.
e lm opens with nature, a series of shots attempting to capture and relay the power, intricacy and grandeur of natural phenomena. Nature is then supplemented, augmented and eventually replaced by a technological world, within which humans live, work and ful l the courses of their lives. On the most basic level, Koyaanisqatsi serves to highlight the contrast between the natural and the arti cial.
If you dig a little deeper into the lm, the apparent political message (that we put too much faith in technology, that technology is making our world worse) is lost, it’s not important anymore. e lm is about the way we live our lives and the way we manipulate the world (as well as the way living within that world aﬀects us). It’s not about whether technology is a positive or a negative in and of itself, indeed the original concept for the lm (which was to have no title at all) would have achieved this even more so. Koyaanisqatsi is about the world we have created for ourselves in the modern era, not so much about how our lives are augmented by technology or even subjugated by it, but about how our lives are technology. We live technology every moment of our lives, it is the buildings we live in, the music we listen to, the words we read, it is even the air we breathe, technology is humanity, our most de ning feature.
It is at this level that the nature of the lm as an archaeological tool can rst be understood: It serves to demonstrate the world as it exists without us, and the world as it exists with us. Attempting to summarise in around an hour and a half the ways in which humans physically manipulate the world around them, thus the material culture of the modern age. Of course material culture, even in today’s shrinking world, is not homogeneous. Koyaanisqatsi has a distinctly Western bias, and alternate ways of life are explored in the other two lms in the series: Powaqqatsi (Life in Transformation) and Naqoyqatsi (Life as War). ese lms are more political, and within them is the bane of all lm as an archaeological tool: imposition. Most lms use the nature of the plot and the interaction
In this way, Koyaanisqatsi serves to de ne our material culture, its relevance is that if watched today, most people world feel they could associate with the world it portrays. In the future, it may increasingly come to serve as a demonstration of what life once was, either as a paradigm, or as a portent: if viewed by an individual suﬃciently removed from the culture it concerns, it would educate just as much, if not more. It’s depiction of the human Earth is suﬃciently devoid of the individual to make it an invaluable archaeological tool. e title (forced by the producers) is where politics creeps in however, and it should be ignored when watching the lm: Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi compound word: Qatsi means way of life, Koyaanis means out of balance. Make up your own mind.
AIR RAIDS IN ISRAEL, SUMMER 2011
It was about half way through our stay in Beer-Sheva. We were inhaling the holy air of Israel, so busy with history, so tense, so bizarre. In fact, a miniature bottle of “holy air” can be bought for a couple of shekels in Jerusalem. e dig was moving on swily: no scorpion accidents this year...yet...no desert sunburns or scandalous trench irting. In other words the anticipation for the trip was being peacefully ful lled with sense-tickling experiences of the Negev desert, its mudbrick architecture and lots and lots of pottery; that is if you get used to the Israeli aesthetics with its concrete buildings and the abundance of young guys AND girls like us, wearing army uniform and a casual gun over the shoulder. en of course there were bag checks for bombs at every railway station and shopping mall, bunker-looking campus buildings... So I guess less surprisingly, one night a worrying lure of air raid lied us from our blissful sleep. I have never heard an air raid before, except in lms. So it was strange for me to have recognised it as such immediately. It caused some kind of animalistic fear and panic, even though the chance of any harm even then seemed unlikely. Someone indeed compared the experience to that of our grandparents back in WWII, which I thought was a bit too far and unnecessary. Anyway, the sky had been in so much relative peace lately that it le little need for precaution and concern for the organisers of the trip. And so the best I thought I could do was to simply jump up from my bed only to nd myself greeting the 45 seconds of the alarm standing up in my room, staring into space, very useful indeed. Some luckier individuals slept creepily through several such alarms without the least awareness of the whole chain of disturbing noise...oh well. is was an acute experience indeed, but I’d say it owes most of its threat to the psychological pressure of the sound itself. e local Israelis I knew remained chilled about the whole thing and so instead of running to the bomb shelter I ended up having chats in pyjamas on the stairs, an alternative location for admiring the siren and the vibrations of the rockets hitting the iron dome. For the sake of our peace of mind and I guess safety, which, we were told, really wasn’t threatened any more so than every time we cross Euston Road, we got evacuated to a sublime kibbutz on the edge of a stunning crater. If anything the experience of the air raid was extremely exciting for me. Not that I am ignorant of its reality, but the hypothetical danger made me feel very morally awake and pretty much alive.
Dr. Joe Flatman: Surrey County Archaeologist, Senior Lecturer, and maritime archaeologist extraordinaire. Whilst many second-year undergraduates are (hopefully) familiar with him as the course co-ordinator for Res and Pres, other fellow undergrads and postgrads know him well for his research in underwater, maritime, Roman, and Medieval archaeology. He has published two books in the last year alone: Archaeology in Society: its Contemporary Relevance, and Becoming an Archaeologist: A Guide to Professional Pathways. Here, Joe chats to MaryAnn Kontonicolas about excavations in Australia, archaeology in the 21st century, and what he really thinks of UCL students… For those who don’t know you, describe yourself in three words.
archaeology – at least to me – is that it eﬀectively allows you to be professionally nosy.
Energetic; balding; irreverent
Who were your heroes growing up? I read a lot of classic WW2 ‘real life’ stories growing up so my heroes were those kinds of people – soldiers, pilots, sailors, spies, commandos, and so on. Sadly, none of their actual names spring to mind now, which is a pity, because they were all incredible people placed under terrifying circumstances and yet overcame or managed to overcome the odds.
What made you decide to be an archaeologist? Early in my third year at university my personal tutor sat me down and told me to start working harder because I had the potential to go on to a career in archaeology if my grades improved! at was the rst time that I had actually considered the possibility of a career in archaeology – until then I’d been studying it for fun but always expected to go and get a ‘real’ job at graduation. So I knuckled down to work, applied for and got funding for an MA and then a PhD, and the rest is history. I can’t say that I ever had a ‘eureka’ moment that made clear to me my ‘path’ in archaeology though – I’ve just always followed my nose into interesting things. I think one of the major appeals of
Tell us a bit about your undergraduate experience at Southampton. My experiences there were tremendous – I was taught by some of the ‘great’ archaeologists of recent years: our current Director, Stephen Shennan for one but also both Tim and Sara Champion (Sarah was Tim’s wife and an amazing Iron Age specialist in her own right who sadly died several years ago); Julian omas and Yannis Hamilakis, and also Jon Adams, Lucy Blue and Sean McGrail on the maritime side to name just a few of the staﬀ. Southampton is only a short drive from lots of diﬀerent archaeological landscapes, so I remember a lot of site visits, and it obviously has a lot of maritime archaeology close by too, which is how I rst got involved in that side of archaeology, so by my second year I was going diving quite a bit. It was very energetic but also a lot calmer than things are now – we only really started using email and the web (such as it was back then) seriously in my third year, and I only got a mobile phone during my PhD in the late 1990s. ‘Research’ primarily meant a lot of time in the library, and Southampton was very quiet, especially at the weekends. When I rst arrived there eﬀectively nearly everything shut aer Saturday aernoon until Monday morning, and even the pubs only opened for limited weekend hours, so I remember a lot of dull Sundays in the library…
Which digs have you been involved in? My rst ever dig was at the post-medieval shipbuilding site of Buckers Hard in the New Forest. It’s an idyllic riverside setting and my rst year there we had incredible weather, so I got hooked on archaeology around that time – we spent weeks digging in bright sunshine and the site had a corner shop for ice-creams and a pub for evening drinks, so it was as close to a perfect a location as you can imagine. I returned for several more years, gaining eld experience. Since then I’ve worked on all sorts of Roman, medieval and post-medieval sites around the UK (a great Roman villa at Bradford-on-Avon for example), several shipwrecks, at a major multi-period city complex in Egypt (Quesir al Qadim) and also in Australia where I worked for a year before moving to UCL. e time-depth of some of those Australian sites in particular is just mind-blowing: 30,000+ year-old shell-middens just sitting on the coastline next to 19th century shipwrecks.
What do you think of your students at UCL? My main impression is one of how well students maintain an eﬀective work : life balance these days. When I was a student, no one paid any fees at all and many of us also got local government grants to help cover our costs. By working in the summers the result was that I graduated from my BA with no debt at all, and I never had to have a part-time job in term so I could concentrate entirely on my studies. Now, most of the students that I talk to have one or more part-time job during term and a full-time job in the summer if they can get one, so I’m impressed at the quality of the work people produce given those circumstances. Plus, I personally couldn’t have coped with the costs and distractions of London as a student. It’s an expensive and endlessly enthralling city, so anyone who manages to juggle all of these demands and still produce such good work has my respect.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming book, ‘Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology: How Climate Change and Technology are Rewriting History.’ is is a massive review of submerged prehistoric archaeology from around the world – the result of a series of conference sessions that I’ve been involved in over the past few years. It’s extremely cool but has frustrating gaps. For example, we know that there must be all sorts of incredible prehistoric archaeology oﬀ the coasts of Africa and South America, but so far little of this has actually been discovered, so we’re missing detailed chapters on these sites in the book. So the book is going to re ect the ‘state of the art’ of this eld of study but will also be out of date almost as soon as it is published. Every day new nds are being made in the marine zone, and sooner or later something really signi cant is going to appear from this environment that will really to shake things up and push back our understanding of the chronology or technological knowhow of ancient humans.
You have presented in many conferences, including the 2011 IoA student conference, and written a number of books and articles regarding archaeology and its place in the 21st century. What are your thoughts on the future of academic archaeology? Academic archaeology worries me a bit to be honest. Archaeology seems to be fragmenting further and further into little ‘tribes’ right now. We have the academics; the central government people; the local government people; the commercial archaeologists and so on. And as a consequence I worry that academic archaeology doesn’t always re ect the diversity of archaeological experience out there beyond the ‘ivory tower’. My hope is that we’ll come closer and closer together, with a lot more professional inter-mixing in the future, but I’m not as con dent that this will occur as I might be.
Many students will know of, or have taken, your module ‘Introduction to Maritime Archaeology.’ How do you see the discipline of maritime and nautical archaeology heading in the future? I’m optimistic about the general future of all archaeology, especially of maritime archaeology. I see myself as a rational optimist – which means un inchingly considering the worse case scenario and then working out how we can avoid it. So for maritime archaeology there is the fear that the marine environment is going to get polluted and overdeveloped in the future and both its natural and cultural heritage irrevocably damaged or destroyed. e optimistic take on this is that if we can convince enough people of this threat, then perhaps we can avoid it. And we really are making this argument better and better to governments and industries and individuals alike. I meet people all the time who really get that marine conservation means looking aer all of the marine environment, not just cute whales and dolphins but also archaeology. And I also meet lots of marine industry people who are really excited about archaeology and keen to protect it, because they work in this environment and are fascinated by the things that they nd and really appreciate that this means they have a responsibility to protect that environment for future generations.
How do you nd juggling the positions of Senior Lecturer at the Institute and Surrey County Archaeologist? In a word: hard. Two part-time jobs = more than one full time job. When people see me running up and down the stairs of the Institute like a lunatic, that’s not because I like running everywhere, its because I always have too much to do. I have two oﬃces and two email accounts and two diﬀerent sets of people constantly demanding my attention. So I work very long hours – normally around 80 hours a week – and sometimes it’s just an issue of ‘crisis management’. On the positive side, I get to blend my teaching, research and management responsibilities, so on a good day the balance of these two jobs is incredible. Not too many people get to see and do the breath of things that I do, so I’m very lucky in that respect.
You have recently published a book on career pathways in archaeology, called ‘Becoming an Archaeologist: a Guide to Professional Pathways.’ What is your top tip for pursuing an archaeological career? Volunteer. Volunteers get all of the good opportunities rst. If opportunities or bene ts come up, then we always give our volunteers rst ‘dibs’ on these. I got my career started by volunteering and so did most of the archaeologists I know.
Is there a particular region or country you haven’t yet been but you would like to do research in the future? I go to the USA a fair amount because my wife is from there, and so I have a lot of professional as well as personal contacts there, but I’ve never done any archaeology in the Americas. So I’d love to do some collaborative research with some of my friends there some day. ey have some incredible archaeology and it is one of the friendliest places on earth.
the mix of the government’s localism agenda, the desire to reduce our carbon footprint, and the gradual process of post-colonialism may reverse this in time though – we may choose to and also need to do more work inside our country and less overseas. So I hope that we’ll gradually see more and more really high-quality eldwork in the UK. ere are some incredible sites of all periods that could really bene t from intensive, long-term collaborative research here.
What are your hobbies outside archaeology? I don’t really do ‘hobbies’ per se – my hours of work are too long to allow that and I don’t have the ‘collecting’ instinct that seems to drive a lot of hobbyists. I cook a lot because I’m naturally greedy and enjoy making good food, and I also have an addiction to TV shows that I can watch as box sets or downloads, especially cop shows and comedies, anything that helps unwind my brain. My biggest ‘hobby’, if you can call it that, is hanging out with various friends in my neighbourhood putting the world to rights over a beer.
Will the current cuts aﬀect your research? Yes – but not as much as some. ‘Domestic’ research archaeology in the UK, which is my research and management specialism, has always been under-funded, as the research councils tend to favour international eldwork (although I suspect that they’d deny this). But
What is one rule and tool every archaeologist should have? Rule: persevere; Tool: leatherman
Fus Ro Dah! Joe goes Viking for a stand-up comedy show last April. Unfortunately none of us saw his material, but with a hat like that, how can you not be a crowd-pleaser?
DON’T MESS WITH ME, I’M AN
ARCHAEOLOGIST! Jenny Murphy reviews Bonekickers
f by some unlikely chance you have become bored with ctional archaeologists such as Indiana Jones, River Song, and Lara Cro or admittedly can’t nd anything better to watch, I can hesitantly recommend Bonekickers to you, although I would stress that you continue your search for good TV. It doesn’t quite have the awesomeness of Dr Jones, nor does it include adventures into outer space like Professor Song, but it’s just so unbelievably awful that it’s funny. I invite you then, to pause the post-new year’s essay writing dash to indulge in the incredibly cringe worthy, but somehow entertaining, Archaeological drama that is Bonekickers. Bonekickers is not unfortunately, a reality TV series where overworked archaeologists take out their anger on our ancestors, much to my disappointment. It is instead the tale of the four archaeologists as they journey through every day archaeological problems: funding, the proximity of the pub, and evil masked henchmen trying to nd Excalibur. ese four consist of two professors, the professor Gillian, who has a secret that we are not told too much about, except that she’s aer a mythical sword related to King Arthur (Excalibur perhaps?), and a man named ‘Dolly’, who’s greetings to women get slightly more pervy as the series goes on and for some reason, looks a little like a sherman in a long trench coat (He’s a perverted sherman! Great!) , and he also delivers a few of the witty lines in the series (A witty perverted sherman is just what any archaeologist needs to liven things up on a dig!). ere’s the sane one, who is revealed to have made the mistake of dating the Excalibur seeking professor in the past, and then there’s Vivian, a postgrad student who exclaims in shock in the rst episode at nding burials on the site. Not nding bones, the actual fact that people are buried under the ground shocks her, a post grad student in archaeology. ey are admittedly a strange bunch, and not exactly what I would call loveable, but towards the last few episodes, I was fairly fond of the characters, even if they weren’t the best thought out characters in archaeological ction. e gang are based at the ctional Wessex University’s Archaeology department. Well, I say Archaeology department, but it is literally just them and the head of the department who we see. ey are either incredibly arrogant, or actually can process everything in the archaeology department between the four of them, because they never call in a specialist within the department for help, or interact with another archaeologists who isn’t in the team and who isn’t the head. ere are students of course, but they’re seen and not heard, and for professors and lecturers, there isn’t
even a mention of them marking any papers or actually teaching anyone anything. But of course, why would you mark essays, when you could go on a crazed search for Excalibur! e main thing that bugs me, and the reason Bonekickers has a bit of a reputation, is the focus on mythical objects. ey seem incredibly lucky, nding the true cross of Christ, Boudicca’s tomb, and eventually, Excalibur! It does however, get quite worse than them being the luckiest archaeology unit ever-they are in fact the most stupid too. Everything they do nd, is either stolen from them, or is destroyed, the latter by the own hands. It’s supposed to be in a ‘man was not meant to know this’ way, but some of it’s done accidently, and it’s a bit silly. Its only common sense that if you’re dealing with what you think is the true cross of Christ, a wooden structure, that re is not its friend. To quote Dr Jones here, “it belongs in a museum”, not in a pile of ash. So apart from the focus on mythical objects, and the pervy shermen and archaeologically inept postgrads, is it a team of good archaeologists? e whole series does feel a bit like time team meets Indiana Jones, and this is evident in the archaeology that they do. I noticed when watching this, that certain archaeological techniques used, such as surveying or Aerial photography, aren’t named, but anything that’s referenced to oen on Time Team is. For example, the Bonekickers say that they use “’Geo-phys” and carbon dating, but don’t mention the other things they use. Bonekickers had an archaeological consultant from a wellknown archaeological TV programme during its production, can you guess which one? Here’s a clue, it’s not Digging for Britain. Having said all this, I wouldn’t return the DVD to Morrisons and claim my three pounds back, and not for the fear of looking incredibly cheap. Yes, it hasn’t been done very well, and the characters are awkward and clumsy at best, but they are fairly entertaining, and as a TV show, it’s got enough witty lines to keep things humorous. It’s not quite as good as e Indiana Jones Trilogy (I’m repressing the memory of the Crystal skull lm), and yes it does fail to make a realistic tale of academic archaeology, but you won’t hate this series. You’ll dislike it certainly at rst, but with a bit of patience (or beer) you’ll be able to stomach this one and only series that wasn’t even considered worthy enough to be made onto a DVD by the company that made it. Verdict: 2 trowels, one purely for the line “Don’t mess with me, I’m an archaeologist”
RELIVING THE PAST WITH NEW GUSTO RECREATING THE EUSTON ARCH BY EUGENIA ELLANSKAYA
I have a luxurious fancy to wander the streets without purpose. I am rather grateful for these moments, when aer a period of culmination life pauses and you can just be. It might sound like a great apology for my occasional laziness or lack of motivation, but it was on one of such strolls that I realised the beauty of timetravelling. Yet another delirious attempt to pass out of reality, you say? Well, have you ever tried to “relive” a place? To suspend the rush for an intangible future and rewind time back a few decades? Your mind ips back through the pages and layers of time get peeled away, until the current cityscape curls up and diminishes into a vast open eld a-la Inception-inspired dream engineering.
rebuild the landmark, whose original location is now well hidden in the depths of the current station.
Built in 1837 as part of a charming Victorian location, it was later demolished during the modernising redevelopment plan of the 1960s. A rather bold decision it was to eliminate a landmark of 21.5 m high and 13.4 m deep. Yet the Euston Arch was no longer appreciated, presumably for its functional sterility and waste of space. Instead the demolition opened up a vast space for a terminal style station, which makes me feel nauseously claustrophobic, as if forever stuck in a video game limbo. Indeed, we had to move on, without the slightest concern for spatial memory, which can so Someone must have been thinking along similar lines before they decided to resurrect one of the rst symbols oen anchor the cityscape we live in, providing solid of British modernity that is Euston Arch. As I make grand motivators everyday – it seems so simple! We my way through Euston Road today, embraced by the can only wonder why is it that any creative initiative hanging cliﬀs of faceless depressing glass, inhaling the to compromise the arch’s functional and historical odd stench of the obscure Euston location, I realise behaviour was neglected back in the 60s - if there ever that despite a pressing need to hurry, I involuntarily was any such initiative of course. Either way, today speed up my gait and rush to the tunnels of the the Trust’s suggestion ts beautifully with some of the underground. Like a rodent without the mildest need demands of post-modernism: celebration of heritage for contemplative processes, you are sucked into the system of goals and destinations; a system of invisible with eﬀective service delivery. As part of the arch’s locations, such as the Euston station itself, and its comeback to Euston it is prepared to take on the new chaotic modernity. is could remain the case if the responsibilities of the 21st century. Euston Arch Trust fails to accomplish its proposal to
demolition contractor’s house. It was probably thought of as a rather witty and inventive idea at the time, something to boast to your friends about, I suppose. Nevertheless, the remaining 60% of the original material was found elsewhere, as a lling in Prescott Channell in the East End of London, and it is now justly suggested to recycle the original material in the building of the new arch. e idea of arch’s rebirth was of course no dazed romantic’s invention, but a creative proposal for the current Euston refurbishment plan. It is part of the sequential rejuvenation of the neighbouring St. Pancras and King’s Cross, which have successfully shown the elegance and eﬀectiveness of postmodernism in its smart treatment of historical sites. If the plan is indeed successful with the borough’s Not such an unrealistically nostalgic idea aer all, is it? council, I believe the arch will ll a much urged for It would have indeed been narrow-minded of the Trust visual anchor in the chaos of Euston. And though it to assume a successful resurrection of a block of dead might seem to some to be a capricious spoilt act of stone, worth £10 million, with fanatical and almost clinging on to the super cial past, I do think that it ritualistic preoccupation to track down and employ the will positively aﬀect us as a building in its own right; a place which combines functionality, memory and original stone. Rather curiously, some of the remains thought, which the current Euston phenomenology of the arch, that was so publically “humiliated”, were suﬀocates. found cynically tucked away in the foundation of the
Past and Future: the Euston Arch in its heydey and a modern reconstruction
SO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN HIEROGLYPHS... THE ALPHABET* A
is table contains all the uniliteral (one-letter) signs that you’ll need to translate and transliterate English sentences written in hieroglyphic.
You’ll also need a few of the extra signs at the bottom to represent speci c syllables. Before you get started there are just a few things that will be helpful
to bear in mind:
1) Egyptian hieroglyphic is a syllabic S
script. Unlike a pure alphabetic script, Egyptian hieroglyphic oen represents diﬀerent combinations
of consonants using separate signs. is is why you’ll see some additional sounds, such as ‘TH’, written separately in the table above, and also why vowels are diﬃcult to tell apart.
2) Some letters don’t exist in the
hieroglyphic script. ere are some basic sounds (phonemes) that, while common in some languages, are absent entirely from Egyptian. When the Egyptians had to write foreign loan words with an ‘L’, for example the Semitic word Shalom (‘Peace’), they might use the letter ‘R’; we’ll be using this principle here as well. 3) Be imaginative with
pronunciation! It’s a tricky business, moving between language groups, and a little creativity is required. Sometimes, the spelling of words will be less important than the way the signs are pronounced...
if you think laterally about the sounds the signs represent, you’ll get there in the end!
THE GAMES LULZ PAGE
Nowadays we can only aďŹ€ord one page of silliness in this magazine. We went a bit mental with the last issue, with a total of 6 pages dedicated to non-informative, totally useless information. We apologise sincerely.
Photos for the front and back covers were taken by Charles Conway
Published on Dec 1, 2012
Anthropology of rioting, Interview with Joe Flatman, Lewis Glynn talks about his relationship with aliens, Heritage: Euston Arch, Life out o...