Love Archaeology Magazine, Issue 2, Summer 2012

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Meet the team... Morgana McCabe General Editor

Adrian Maldonado Deputy Editor & Web Editor

David Watson Digital Design Manager

(or General Dictator as she is some-



Dave is an architect specialising in

times known) Morgana’s PhD is on



building conservation and restoration.

witchcraft but she does not practice it.

Adrian seems to write an awful lot

He once dreamt that he was a

about pee and movies.


Amy Gooda Design & Production Editor

Jennifer Novotny Design and Production

Christy McNutt Design and Production

Amy doesn’t have a PhD and knows

Jen specialises in the Archaeology of

Christy is a graphic Designer with a

nothing about archaeology. On the up

conflict and violence, which often

love for bright, shiny things, and taking

side, she has a background in design and

leaves her feeling conflicted and

pretty pictures of old stuff.

publishing and loves magazines.


holding of





Seumas Bates Anthropology Editor

Rebecca Younger Copy Editor

Ryan McNutt Copy Editor

Seumas is our Token Anthropologist,

Becca is a caffeine-addicted, henge-


currently researching the impact of

obsessed PhD student at Glasgow

conflict archaeology, and is master

Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill









specialising in Bear-Fu.

on the people of rural S. Lousiana.

Paul Edward Montgomery Copy Editor

Amanda Charland Copy Editor

Terence Christian Copy Editor/Design

Paul is interested in Vikings and public

Amanda’s PhD is on Crusader castles.

Terence’s PhD is on WWII air wrecks.

archaeology. Oh, and bears.

She enjoys long walks on the beach

Simultaneously, he has found the

(i.e.her sites) and spotting A-listers in

boggiest and most remote places in

posh Jerusalem hotels.


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Love Archaeology Strikes Back Welcome to our ‘difficult second album’. By some miracle, we managed last winter to herd a pride of metaphorical cats in time to produce the first issue of Love Archaeology Magazine. It looked good, felt good, hell, it even smelt good, despite being crafted out of bits of lint we found in our pockets, favours called in at the last minute, and sheer, drunken inertia. Thousands of readers later, we were now faced with the double-challenge of bottling lightning a second time and trying to catch people’s attention just as they are drifting off into summer fieldwork. In short, we are grateful that you, the reader, has persevered as far as the end of this paragraph. Thanks, is the main bullet point of this presentation. Also, did you see our front cover? In keeping with our mission of making you see the archaeology in everything, we humbly present to you our second issue, full of things which may not seem immediately archaeological at first glance. Our themed section is all about the human body, what we put into it, and, crucially, what comes out. Our

intrepid reporters go back in time to experience medicine based on the theory of the Four Humours, and come back with a new appreciation of phlegm and bile. Beyond that, there’s also a report on postKatrina New Orleans, the geometry of Islamic tiles, and the material culture of dreams. So far, so whaaaa? But have no fear: it’s all to get you thinking about the physical world in new ways, and see it like we do. Hint: we see dead people. Everywhere. Rest assured, there’s still plenty of actual archaeology. We tackle the issue of TV treasure-hunters, investigate the future of open-access publishing, and lay down the usual field gear recommendations, travel ideas, book reviews, museum reviews and other trenchside tales. Don’t miss our interview with anarchic archaeologist John Schofield, and see if we ever manage to put out an issue without some mention of Indiana Jones. And, whatever you do, don’t flip to the last page if your boss is in the room. It’s time for LoveArchMag, Issue 2.


The Love Archaeology team Now seeking content for Issue 3! Hit us with your ideas at Become a follower @LoveArchaeology Daily archaeology action at And, for the love of archaeology,


Love Archaeology

p31 p25

©Wikimedia Commons

©D.Watson 2012




The Body Issue:

The Four Humours p35 p37 p41 p45 p49 p51 p53


Issue 2

...and the Three P’s The Pursuit of Balance Humoural Diaries Otherbodies Life of Pee Review Loo Grafi" Smellieu

The Watching Brief p5 The Watching Brief p6 The Review

Spaces and Places p9 So I Married an Archaeologist p11 Sun, Sand and Ruins p19 Hurricane Katrina




©A.Maldonado 2012


©M.McCabe 2012

©Wikipedia 465px-Hurricane_Katrina_August_28_2005_NASA


Small Finds p25 Sleep Archive p31 Maths and Mosaics

Theatres of Archaeology p57 Materiality of Belief p61 Open Source Archaeology p63 Cabinet of Curiosi!es


Trial Trenches p64 Cartoon p65 Indiana Jones Part 2 p70 Field Fashion p73 Careers in Ruins p76 Advice From the Ancients

Backfill p77 Poo Digging

Love Archaeology


The Watching Brief Happening now Campaign to save the IAA Consulta•on now under way As you may have heard, The University of Birmingham Ins•tute of Archaeology and An•quity (IAA) is currently under review, with a view towards restructuring it into a new Department of Classics and Ancient History and are “also discussing the crea•on of a Centre for Archaeology Research”. In real terms, this means the reduc•on of an unspecified number of staff and unforeseeable long-term consequences for the future of archaeology at Birmingham. This is part of a worrying trend in higher educa•on to marginalize archaeology and the Humani•es in general. For more informa•on, see the campaigners’ website.

See it this summer Titanic Belfast Opens April 2012 £13.50/£9.50 www.• 100 years a!er the Titanic disaster, Titanic Belfast opens its doors. Architecturally mimicking the form of the infamous ocean liner, the centre features nine interpre•ve galleries designed to allow visitors to re-live the Titanic’s journey from her construc•on in Belfast through her maiden voyage to her tragic loss. Explore the sites, sounds,


Issue 1

moody stone circle in a forest, while other trailers show lots of men in 18th-century kilts. Historians and archaeologists everywhere wait with bated breath to see how many more anachronisms they will be able to cram in. Meanwhile, the Sco#sh Government have bet £7million on its success, bankrolling an interna•onal ad campaign via Perfect Bodies: Sports, Medicine Visit Scotland, and First Minister and Immortality, Ancient and Alex Salmond has pulled major strings to get a flashy premiere Modern. Vivienne Lo (eds). in Edinburgh. Will the SNP be Out 30 April 2012. Bri•sh Museum Press laughing all the way to the ballot The Ancient Olympics (2nd ed) box? Will fiery ginger stereotype N. Spivey. Out July 2012. Merida be able to Hunger-Games Oxford University Press. her way out of that stone circle? With prepara•ons for the London Find out when we bring you our 2012 Olympics well underway, review on tumblr this summer! these are our picks of the summer reads. Full of informa•on about the original games, Spivey’s new Coprolite jewellery* edi•on also reflects on the history For the person who has it all of the games since ancient •mes. www.tellmewhereon Lo’s volume explores ancient Not something for just anyone, training regimes and no•ons of coprolite jewellery is a cool way perfec•on in dialogue with 21st- to connect with an aspect of the century perspec•ves. Both are past all too o!en overlooked ideal for anyone interested in (though not in this issue of Love sport, or for exploring modern Archaeology!). Made from old western concep•ons of the body poo, a wide range are available and beauty. online from dinosaur (ok, so not archaeological), to crocodile, turtle, moose and deer. Everything from earrings to keychains, bust out these must-have poop Brave keepsakes for every summer Pixar’s 13th full-length feature adventure. We’re keen to start a film is a fairy tale set in 10th- craze for the brown stuff! Pick it century Scotland, yet the teaser up online trailer has numerous shots of a *Warning: contains some poo. and smells, the myths and the legends, and connect to the story of the Titanic in the place where it all began. The centre also features an expansive conference suite, temporary exhibi•ons, cafes and restaurants, and community arts and educa•on spaces.

Read them this summer

Wear it today!

See it this summer

The Review

Documenting Destruction: TV collecting and the return of antiquarianism TV archaeology shows

are an incredible way for the public to connect with, get enthused, and learn about archaeology. Shows in the United Kingdom such as Time Team, and its US version, have contributed enormously to public engagement with archaeology and history. However, as Ryan McNu! inves"gates, a troubling trend of transforming heritage into a cash resource to be exploited is developing in TV shows both in the US, and in the UK, exemplified recently by Na"onal Geographic’s Diggers, and Spike TV’s American Digger.

their finds, have them appraised, and some"mes sell them to local collectors. American Digger features a team of self described relic hunters led by Ric Savage looking to “target rich areas, such as ba!lefields and historic sites” on private land. They then convince the landowner to let them dig up their property, and sell everything they find to collectors, with the landowner receiving a percentage of the profits.

Both shows are about an interest in the past ,about holding history in the hand, which is something we, Diggers features George “King George” Wyant and as archaeologists, empathize with and understand. Tim “The Ringmaster” Saylor, metal detectorists Yet, at their heart, these shows promote a view who sold DVDs of their exploits through of artefacts consistent with the values of the ‘’ before being given a TV an"quarianism of the 17th to early 19th century: show by Na"onal Geographic. A blurb for their a focus on the object itself, not the data the object DVDs says: “Watch KG and Ringy as they search represents. For archaeologists, an artefact is a for gold, silver, coins, relics, rings, jewellery, and jigsaw piece in a puzzle of thousands. One puzzle other delicious, lick-worthy pockets of nectar.” piece alone, beau"ful and interes"ng thought it Weird sexual innuendo aside, the TV show follows may be, is not an end in itself. That one jigsaw piece, the same format, as the duo detect over historic without proper documenta"on and analysis, means sites such as the old Montana State Prison, and the the puzzle may never be completed. grounds of a South Carolina planta"on. They collect As an archaeologist, it is the informa"on an artefact provides that is of value. Would a collec"on of Roman gold be an interes"ng and fascina"ng touchstone to the past? Yes, but I’d s"ll prefer to excavate an intact wall trench, or a prehistoric hearth, or a First

“American Digger features a team of self described relic hunters led ©Spike TV

by Ric Savage looking to target rich areas, such as ba!lefields American Digger promo•onal image.

and historic sites”

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World War dugout. Sure, these might not be sexy or glamorous, but I prefer the feature to the artefact; the informa•on inherent in it. These shows aren’t interested in informa•on, or telling a story about the past: artefacts are a resource, and are transformed into a commodity; assessed not by the value of their informa•on, but their monetary worth.

fallen, with a majority buried on the field. Anecdotal tales of farmers ploughing up Confederate bones appear as late as the 1930s.

American Digger is even more troubling, with its focus on searching ba!lefields because the “. . .right Confederate sword can be worth up to $30,000 (Carter 2012).” Many of these ba!lefields from the American Civil War s•ll contain the remains of the fallen. The Confederates had massive logis•cal problems with the removal and transporta•on of the

“he is profi•ng at the expense of


While both shows obtain permissions from landholders before they do any filming, it must be noted that the producers seem unaware that in many states, this is not legally sufficient. In the The transforma•on of heritage into cash promoted case of Diggers at the Montana State Prison, the by these shows is only one of the ethical hurdles at show broke Montana state law in failing to obtain which they stumble, as both shows also brush close an an•qui•es permit because the landowner that to the possibility of unearthing human remains. granted permission was only the lease holder. Most Diggers, at the Old Montana State prison, were states have similar historic preserva•on statutes in aware that the prison cemetery had been the area place, and almost every state has criminal codes they were detec•ng over, removed in 1897; yet, in place that prohibit any disturbance of human they speculated that not all the graves may have remains without appropriate permits. been removed.

the public, whose past is being destroyed for entertainment”

“Gary I’ve found gold in my head!”

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Congratula•ons to our Cap•on contest winner Jon Roke!

©Spike TV American Digger promo•onal images

At the •me of wri•ng, Diggers has been suspended from airing on Na•onal Geographic Channel. The network heads have conceded to a round table discussion of the show’s format and tone with archaeologists and heritage professionals. Yet, this only occurred a!er a public outcry and official le#ers of concern from various na•onal heritage groups and associa•ons, such as the Society for American Archaeology. American Digger is s•ll airing, and Spike’s execu•ve vice-president for development, Sharon Levy’s response to the complaints was “He has a right as an American ci•zen to do this. He’s not going anywhere he shouldn’t be. He’s not digging up the pyramids (Carter 2012).” No, but he is profi•ng at the expense of the public, whose past is being destroyed for entertainment and profit. This, incidentally, is what happened to the pyramids when an•quarians first became interested in them.

“What are the possible dangers of





transforma•on of heritage into a cash commodity that can be dug up and sold for profit by anyone?”

Note: This ‘thing’ focus is also spreading to the United The opinions taken in this ar•cle are solely those Kingdom: shows like Mud Men, and Britain’s of the author, and are specific to the shows Secret Treasure echo, to a certain extent, the brash discussed. In the United Kingdom, there are a commercialism and fast capitalism inherent in majority of responsible metal detectorists who Diggers and American Digger. They focus on the are nothing like the individuals involved with object’s biography, and value rather than the using these shows. the object as a reference point to create a tapestry of a historical event. What are the possible dangers Bibliography of a mass media driven transforma•on of heritage Carter, Bill, 2012. TV Digs Will Harm Patrimony, into a cash commodity that can be dug up and sold Scholars Say. The New York Times, [online] for profit by anyone? What do you think about the 20 March. Available at: h•p://www.ny•mes. shows discussed above, and the collec•ng, and/or com/2012/03/21/arts/television/spikesselling of artefacts? Have a strong opinion? Let us american-digger-draws-concern-from-scholars. know at html [Accessed on 23 April 2012].


Issue 1

So I married an

If you love archaeology, you’ll want to shar Dickerson, an archaeologist’s wife, explain I’m not an archaeologist make your loved ones get excited but I’ve become an archaeology enthusiast, thanks to my husband, who I will call Archibald. As an archaeologist’s wife, I get dragged to see old stuff on a fairly regular basis.

about a gully.

I’ve learned a lot under Archibald’s enthusiastic tutelage. When we go out for walks in the countryside, I like being able to spot things that others would miss - a cross etched into the wall of a cave, cup and ring marks on a rock surface, a hill with a flattened top which might have once been a fort. But I’ve also learned what I don’t like, like long treks through boggy fields to see a stone that used to be important for reasons that are impossible to fathom when it’s pissing down and your socks feel like damp sponges.

I stepped into one, then stepped out. Yup, it was a hole, all right. But let’s face it - for most of us, a hole is just a hole, regardless of who made it.

If you’re passionate about archaeology, you’ll want to share your passion with your loved ones. Here’s how to do it without turning them off:

1. Make sure the archaeology actually looks like something. Let’s take Rough Castle as an example. Rough Castle sounds like it should be a tough, scraggly, weather-worn monster of a castle, but it’s not. It’s not even a castle. It’s part of the Antonine Wall. Which isn’t a wall, but a ditch. And in some places, that ditch is hardly more than a slight dip. Don’t try to

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“Look,” Archibald said, pointing to a series of evenly-spaced holes at Rough Castle. “The Romans made these.”

I understand that Rough Castle is important, but I prefer my archaeology to be big and broken. I was very impressed with the likes of Skara Brae, the Broch of Gurness and Dunnottar Castle because they’re bigger than me, I could mostly tell what they were by looking at them, and they look like they were rather difficult to build.

2. Make the archaeology come to life. A good story can turn an otherwise underwhelming site into an interesting piece of history. Archibald’s stories about saints and their crazy miracles often liven up our visits to old churches. For example, when we went to the Isle of Lismore, he told me about how St Columba and St Moluag both wanted to found a monastery there. They agreed that whoever reached the island first would be allowed to build their monastery.

n archaeologist

re your passion with loved ones. Here Katie ns how to do it without turning them off. Columba was in the lead until Moluag chopped off his own finger and threw it on the island, thereby winning the race. St Moluag’s Cathedral is pretty unimpressive as far as cathedrals go – it’s not very big or elaborately decorated – but I appreciated it knowing that its founder supposedly maimed himself for the chance to build it.

3. Don’t push it. Archibald and I once went to the Isle of Colonsay, where you can walk to the nearby island of Oronsay during low tide to see a 14th-century monastery. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Archibald was so excited to see the archaeology that he wanted to cross when the tide wasn’t quite low enough, so we ended up walking through ankledeep water for a mile. Was the monastery nice? Yes. Was it worth spending the next eight hours with squishy feet? No. Your loved ones are probably willing to make a bit of effort to indulge your archaeology interests, but their patience will only go so far. And while I’m on the subject...

4. Make sure the archaeology exists. Many a walk with Archibald has started with ‘I think there’s an old church around here somewhere.’

And then we walk. And walk. We go up hills. Archibald looks at some rocks that show church potential but are, in fact, just rocks. We turn around and walk back the way we came. Sometimes we find the site, sometimes we don’t. Archaeology is elusive, I get it. You wouldn’t be interested in it if it was out there in the open, just lying around where anyone could find it. But if you’re taking a nonarchaeologist with you on your hunt for medieval forts, bits of pottery or whatever it is you’re into, make sure you have a good map on hand.

5. Negotiate. If you can’t convert them, bribe them. It’s all about compromise. Did your loved one spend all morning walking around a museum with you? Take them shopping afterwards. Better yet, plan archaeology trips to places with other sights or attractions, like a beach or at least a farm with lots of cute horses. A long walk to an archaeological site could end (or better yet, begin) at the pub. That way you get to see archaeology and they associate archaeology trips with good things, like beer and petting animals


Love Archaeology

Sun,sand and ruins Orkney Islands


Canna Eigg Tiree Staffa Lunga Iona

Islay Gigha

Images © Duncan Allan, Adrian

Maldonado, and Morgana McCabe


When planning summer vacations, paired up archaeologists often have to choose between a relaxing beach holiday and a cultural experience. However, there are some magical places where you can get both. This issue, we take you on an adventure into the Scottish isles. Scotland has some 800 islands, many of which are blessed with the most perfect (if slightly chillier) white-sand beaches this side of the Bahamas. These sparsely-populated islands are also home to incredibly well-preserved archaeology and exotic wildlife. Bring swim trunks and, just in case, a fleece and a waterproof. This page: a wrecked ship lies at the end of the rainbow, Tiree. 11   Issue 2

Love Archaeology


Sun,sand and ruins Orkney Islands


Canna Eigg Tiree Staffa Lunga Iona

Islay Gigha

Images © Duncan Allan, Adrian

Maldonado, and Morgana McCabe


When planning summer vacations, paired up archaeologists often have to choose between a relaxing beach holiday and a cultural experience. However, there are some magical places where you can get both. This issue, we take you on an adventure into the Scottish isles. Scotland has some 800 islands, many of which are blessed with the most perfect (if slightly chillier) white-sand beaches this side of the Bahamas. These sparsely-populated islands are also home to incredibly well-preserved archaeology and exotic wildlife. Bring swim trunks and, just in case, a fleece and a waterproof. This page: a wrecked ship lies at the end of the rainbow, Tiree. 11   Issue 2

Love Archaeology


The Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae, Orkney (inset), overlooks the breathtaking Bay of Skaill. Pebble replica clearly not to scale. The Inner Hebrides are your best bet for combining mind-blowing beaches and Celtic vibes. Below: The sun sets over Iona. Right: Iona is home to the most important early monastery in Scotland, founded in AD 563 by St Columba.

Above: Kirkapol, Tiree, one of the many chapels in the Hebrides possibly founded from Iona. Left: The rebuilt cloister of the medieval Iona Abbey.

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Love Archaeology


The Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae, Orkney (inset), overlooks the breathtaking Bay of Skaill. Pebble replica clearly not to scale. The Inner Hebrides are your best bet for combining mind-blowing beaches and Celtic vibes. Below: The sun sets over Iona. Right: Iona is home to the most important early monastery in Scotland, founded in AD 563 by St Columba.

Above: Kirkapol, Tiree, one of the many chapels in the Hebrides possibly founded from Iona. Left: The rebuilt cloister of the medieval Iona Abbey.

13   Issue 2

Love Archaeology


The Broch of Gurness, Evie, on Orkney stands at the heart of one of the most complete Iron Age villages in Scotland.

The natural landscape continues to create legends. Left: These unique balsalt columns on Staffa were created by ancient volcanic activity. Below: Fingal’s Cave on Staffa inspired the music of Mendelssohn.

Right: The eroding sand dunes of Westray, Orkney have led to incredible archaeological discoveries in recent years. Above: an ancient quern quarry on Gigha.

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Love Archaeology


The Broch of Gurness, Evie, on Orkney stands at the heart of one of the most complete Iron Age villages in Scotland.

The natural landscape continues to create legends. Left: These unique balsalt columns on Staffa were created by ancient volcanic activity. Below: Fingal’s Cave on Staffa inspired the music of Mendelssohn.

Right: The eroding sand dunes of Westray, Orkney have led to incredible archaeological discoveries in recent years. Above: an ancient quern quarry on Gigha.

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Love Archaeology


If your toes weren’t so numb, you might believe you were in the Aegean and not the isle of Tiree.

It may be quiet, but you’re never far from company

Puffin on Lunga Spring and early summer are the best times to spot nesting puffins in the Treshnish Isles. 17   Issue 2

Deer Fawn on Skye Red and roe deer can both be spotted at dusk and dawn. They even visit the beaches!

Seals on Islay Scotland has 90% of the UK’s seals. Both common and grey seals are easy to find. You’ll also find whisky on Islay!

Cows on Eigg Hebridean cows are so free-range that they are often found on beaches eating kelp.

Young rabbit on Canna Canna’s coneys are out all day, and can often be seen burrowing into the archaeology itself!

Minke whales Spot them in summer by following excited flocks of birds catching fish stirred up by whales. Love Archaeology


If your toes weren’t so numb, you might believe you were in the Aegean and not the isle of Tiree.

It may be quiet, but you’re never far from company

Puffin on Lunga Spring and early summer are the best times to spot nesting puffins in the Treshnish Isles. 17   Issue 2

Deer Fawn on Skye Red and roe deer can both be spotted at dusk and dawn. They even visit the beaches!

Seals on Islay Scotland has 90% of the UK’s seals. Both common and grey seals are easy to find. You’ll also find whisky on Islay!

Cows on Eigg Hebridean cows are so free-range that they are often found on beaches eating kelp.

Young rabbit on Canna Canna’s coneys are out all day, and can often be seen burrowing into the archaeology itself!

Minke whales Spot them in summer by following excited flocks of birds catching fish stirred up by whales. Love Archaeology


Fridge in a tree, Buras: Twenty feet above the ground a domestic refrigerator remains suspended 7 years after the hurricane.

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©Seumas Bates 2011

After Katrina: Some Loo Roll, a Crucifix and a Fridge in a Tree By Seumas T.G. Bates ©Wikipedia 465px-Hurricane_Katrina_August_28_2005_NASA

which in many respects has remained unchanged over the last century. The wealth of this community is tied to the marshes and bayous which surround it and the Gulf beyond, and the dominant economic activities of the area revolve around commercial fishing (particularly for shrimp and oysters) and offshore drilling for gas and oil. In August 2005 this way of life faced catastrophe Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina made is a thin strip of land landfall at Buras, striking with constituting the last eighty massive rain and flooding, miles or so of the Mississippi winds of over 100mph and River, which protrudes far a storm surge capable of out into the Gulf of Mexico. carrying entire buildings off Approximately halfway down their foundations. Residents this peninsula is the town of returned to find their houses Buras. A somewhat typical destroyed, their possessions southern American town scattered and lost, and their of less then one thousand communities devoid of the residents, it maintains a landmarks they had grown traditional rural lifestyle up with such as schools


Love Archaeology

©Seumas Bates 2011

The Sheriff’s old house, abandoned after the hurricane, Buras.

and churches. Those who chose to return to the area to re-build faced extraordinary challenges and hardships, many of which are still on going to this day. During such extreme conditions mundane household objects can take on properties and significance far beyond their common utilitarian value. Recognising and understanding the deep significance that a seemingly ordinary artefact takes on during extraordinary circumstances is an important task for any research, doubly so in a context in which almost every man-made object has been destroyed. Three such objects are presented below; some loo roll, a crucifix, and a fridge in a tree. You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of wiping one’s bottom. Once the flooding caused by Katrina had subsided local people (usually men) began to return to survey the damage to their homes and property. They would discover land essentially scraped clean of any manmade structure, and where the standing water had killed most of the local flora. Naturally, modern sanitation had been destroyed along with these structures and thus individuals were

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forced to improvise. Carrying a supply of toilet paper with you became, therefore, an absolute necessity. When packing for a trip to the parish this most innocuous of items became a priority piece of survival kit, placed alongside the more obvious essentials like fresh water and gasoline. Today, years after the event people have either re-built their homes or bought new trailers or camper vans to replace them, yet toilet paper has still not returned to its traditional role as an invisible domestic necessity. Now, it often forms the centre-piece to many of the more humorous anecdotes shared by men with regard to the Hurricane. Often, telling a story of one’s (mis)adventures with loo roll (and related activities) will generate enormous amusement for one’s friends while sharing a case of beer of an evening. The more compromising, embarrassing, and overly embellished the tale is the better, of course. While on the surface this appears to simply be an example of men’s banter it in fact constitutes an important part of the emotional healing process. In rural communities such as Buras it is often not considered socially appropriate for men to express grief and loss in an open or overt way,

and instead they must approach such issues indirectly. While swapping hilarious tales about loo roll, men are in fact discussing the enormous trauma of returning to a community in which they had lived their entire lives which was now unrecognisable to them. Although they are footnotes to the story, the house or business that was being demolished or re-built at the time of the anecdote is the true theme of the narrative. Sharing such tales publicly and

at God, whereas in fact this has not been the case. The recovery of personal religious icons has given many the assurance that despite such a catastrophe they remain where God intends for them to be, and this reassurance is not only felt at a personal level, but also at a community level. Sharing the story of how this or that item was found and recovered during the clean-up after the storm forms an important part of any social visit to a family

“You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of wiping one’s bottom”.

A Catholic Crucifix is already regarded as a holy object, something which should be revered and respected. Buras, as with most of Louisiana is predominantly a Roman Catholic community and prior to the storm most homes would contain a certain amount of religious iconography. After the hurricane had passed across the town, and people began to return to assess the remains of their property (which had often been scattered over a square mile or more) the discovery of an intact Crucifix would often be an extremely poignant, spiritual experience. Once the family in question had re-built their house or moved into a newly purchased trailer these salvaged religious artefacts would often be given a prominent location within the home, usually within the lounge or bedroom, and would become an important feature of the family’s experience of their faith. For many people within the Parish being correctly situated geographically to their understanding of God’s plan for them is crucial. In the aftermath of such an enormous natural disaster the outsider might expect extensive questioning of this religious doctrine or anger

home within the community, particularly for a first time visitor or newcomer into the community. As a newcomer, you may in fact be specially recommended to speak to a particular individual because he or she has an especially moving or interesting story surrounding the recovery of an object, and items with religious significance often take on special significance within these community narratives. Near the centre of Buras and visible from the main street through the town there is a fridge stuck in a tree. The tree belongs to an elderly former citrus farmer, the fridge does not, and Below: Faith Temple Ministries, Buras.

©Seumas Bates 2011

amongst friends generates and maintains the social cohesion and foundation which is what a community must fall back upon if it hopes to survive such a calamity, and the tale of humorous self-degradation places oneself in a normalising narrative as well as in a historical progression, of how far they have come in their recovery from then to now.


Love Archaeology

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nature, but it’s population is prepared to hold on to the land that is theirs and re-make the homes they once knew, and part of that process is their ongoing and developing relationship with some of the most unremarkable of objects; some loo roll, a crucifix, and a fridge stuck in a tree

©Seumas Bates 2011

the gentleman would rather like whoever owned it to come and take it away. It’s been almost seven years since the hurricane, so it now seems unlikely that this will happen. Although this errant fridge is clearly an annoyance to him, the rest of the community takes almost never-ending amusement in it. Amidst all the heartbreak and loss caused by the hurricane, the image of a six foot high domestic refrigerator suspended twenty feet in the air is something which is sure to cause a smile. This erroneous cooler has also become something of a local cultural landmark. In the immediate aftermath of the storm the local emergency services and Sheriff’s Department would use it as a marker to co-ordinate their operations over a landscape unrecognisable and devoid of the familiar. Later, scientists and journalists would use it as evidence of the ferocity of Katrina at her height, as any storm capable of wedging a full size refrigerator that high in the air is one worth studying and reporting on. Later still disaster tourists looking to observe other’s misery would photograph it and use it as an amusing after-dinner anecdote back in their homes. Now, this fridge so resolutely stuck in such an inaccessible place has become something of a symbol for this community and this way of life as a whole. The town of Buras, the people who live there, and Plaquemines Parish as a whole may be weathered, damaged, and precariously balanced on

Boat fire at Empire marina


Love Archaeology

Archaeology of Dreams: A land filled with spear wielding cannibals and flaming zeppelins is the setting as David Watson takes a journey into the world of dream recording through the works of Federico Fellini & Elias Howe. 25

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Š David Watson


©Wikimedia Commons

A drum beats with a rhythm increasing whilst acrid smoke fills the humid air. The distant chants from behind the trees grow ever louder. Blurred figures appear, becoming ever sharper, white eyes contras•ng their dark, etched facemasks. The chan•ng becomes faster and the figures form a circle, marching ever smaller, the tension and fear increasing. Their spears thumping on the ground, long sharp spears with ellip•cal holes in the flint marching up and down with a mechanical rhythm; the fears fades; suddenly the subject awakes, a revela•on has occurred. The above descrip•on is an interpreta•on of a dream which inspired 19th Century innovator & tex•le factory worker, Elias Howe, Jr, to invent the locks•tch sewing machine. The story goes that in 1845 a•er years of struggling to invent an efficient mechanical sewing machine he dreamt that he was captured by a group of na•ve cannibals armed with spears with holes in the end of the finials. This subtle detail inspired Howe to sketch up a design which posi•oned the needle hole at the point end of the needle, as opposed to the blunt end associated with needle and thread hand sewing, which was the fundamental innova•on allowing his sewing machine design to work.

instead dreams are fluid and memories of them flee•ng. Federico Fellini, the Oscar winning Italian film director, experienced this in the 1960s when he a!empted to transfer his nocturnal dreamscapes and fantasies onto the silver screen. Frustrated by his inability to recollect his dreams for more than a It is commonplace that the human recollec•on of a few minutes a•er waking, Fellini began to produce dream begins to fade almost immediately a•er waking sketchbooks and notes describing his dreams which up; however the documenta•on of dreamscapes spanned a period of more than 20 years. During this can have an inspira•onal influence on the real world period he wrote, directed and promoted his most as the Howe story demonstrates. The difficulty with seminal works, including La Dolce Vita, 8 ½ and documen•ng dreams is that they are not tangible Amarcord. These records of his night-•me visions, like an artefact, a book or even a building which can over 500 pages of which have been collated in Book be studied, sketched, returned to and reinterpreted; of Dreams, published by Rizzoli in 2008, are the © Federico Fellini Love Archaeology


© Federico Fellini

intermediate stage in the crea•ve process between his dreamscapes and their material realisa•on though movie-making. They both exist between and overlap imagina•on and material culture. On first look the sketches appear to portray a harrowing world of ‘shit and terror’ as the late Hunter S. Thompson would describe it; airships crashing through buildings while pedestrians run away in terror; destroyed ci•es ravaged by floods and giant waves; bevies of naked voluptuous ladies with wild eyes bearing down on their latest ‘vic•m’. Indeed, you might even think that these visions are the machina•ons of a man tapping LSD*. However, there are a series of common reoccurring themes which he viewed; disaster, death, sexual fantasy, celebri•es and family, friends & rivals. The avant-garde comedy 8 ½ (1963), which documents the love life and crea•ve turmoil of the main character Guido Anselmi, a film director going through a period of writers block, employs the no•on of dreams *Well, Fellini actually did experiment with LSD beginning in the mid sixi•es as a further a•empt by the director to unlock what he called his ‘extrasensory percep•ons’. It is not fully known the extent to which Fellini took the drug however his early experiences were carried out in a controlled manner under the supervision of his then psychoanalyst, Emilio Servadio.


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© Federico Fellini

“The sketches appear to portray a harrowing world of shit and terror”

©Wikimedia Commons

and fantasy as a story-telling device and to portray the psychological pressures of the protagonist. It is therefore not surprising to learn that during this period in the early six•es Fellini became interested in the I Ching and the work of Carl Jung. It was Jungian psychoanalyst Dr. Ernst Bernhard who suggested that Fellini should record his dreams, as Jung had done in the early 19th century when he documented his unconscious visions in his Red Book. Throughout the six•es Fellini’s interest in the collec•ve unconscious and the world of parapsychology began to have an increased influence on the themes & characters of his movies. It is no more evident than in his first colour movie, Juliet of the Spirit (1965), which explored no•ons of extra sensory percep•ons and the communicatory world of séances.

Therefore, when you read in newspapers and journals the commonly used stat that ‘one third of your life is spent sleeping’, view it not as wasted •me, but rather as an epic journey into your crea•ve mind. As Fellini said to his friends ’write down the stories of your dreams as not to waste the night’s work’. A•er all if James Cameron didn’t document his dreams the Terminator movies may never have been made

©Wikimedia Commons

What both Elias Howe and Federico Fellini managed to achieve was the ability to harness aspects of dreams and transfer them through notes and drawings into a tangible crea•ve output which both led to personal success in the worlds of manufacturing and filmmaking respec•vely.

©Wikimedia Commons

By the 1970s the rich, hyper-real and mad-cap nature of his dream drawings began to be echoed more explicitly in the themes and characters of his movies. The comedy drama Amarcord (1973) juxtaposes eccentric individuals such as the busty, larger than life tobacconist and Ti•a, the plucky adolescent schoolboy, against the stern poli•cal backdrop of Mussolini’s dictatorship. Biographers of Fellini’s movies iden•fy a dis•nc•on between his early Italian neorealism period movies up to 1959 with his later Art films which employ a greater use of surrealism and metaphors. This turning point in style corresponds with Fellini’s increasing interest in dream documen•ng.

Featured sketches are from Federico Fellini The Book of Dreams published by Rizzoli Interna•onal Publica•ons. David Watson is an architect for CDP Architects based in Glasgow,

Turn over to read Night’s Work, a brief look at the understanding of dreams in prehistory. Love Archaeology


Night’s Work Continuing the dream theme Rebecca Younger takes a look at the understanding and interpretation of dreams in prehistory. How the ‘night’s work’ iden•fied by Federico Fellini might have been viewed in the past, is another ma•er. We assume people in the past also slept (!) – but we know rela•vely li•le about it, at least in prehistory, either physically or conceptually. People in the past may not have understood sleep and dreams in the way we do in the contemporary West, but anthropological comparisons suggest that sleep may have been significant. In Papua New Guinea, Foi men use dreams as a way of communica•ng with the ghosts of the dead. Alasdair Whi•le notes that to the Foi, the dream world is powerful, but also ambiguous: these ghosts are not necessarily en•rely friendly towards the living (Whi•le 2003: 18). While we might see dreams as separate from reality, people in prehistory may not have made such a dis•nc•on.

understandings of dreams that we might hope to glimpse. On the con•nent, excava•ons of Neolithic burials hint at this, revealing bodies were laid in the graves in a variety of posi•ons. One interpreta•on of this is that it reflects different sleeping posi•ons (Whi•le 2003: 32-33).

“In Papua New Guinea, Foi men use dreams as a way of communica•ng with the ghosts of the dead”

Alterna•vely, death may have been seen by some as a kind of metamorphosis, perhaps into an animalis•c form. Dušan Borić draws a parallel with Ka#a’s Metamorphosis, in which the ‘dangerous’ •me is the We might consider dreams as liminal and ‘other’, transi•onal moment between sleeping and waking beyond our conscious control. It is possible that these (Borić 2005: 54). We have no way of knowing whether states beyond normal consciousness were significant a person living during the Neolithic would agree or to Neolithic people. It has long been suggested that not. The dreams of the past might be almost invisible the abstract art carved into Irish passage graves, with archaeologically, but the tantalising glimpses we do its spirals, concentric circles, zigzags and dots, was have suggest that dreams might have been significant inspired by altered states of consciousness. Suggested to prehistoric socie•es in ways we find hard even to sources of informa•on range from the symptoms imagine of a migraine, to the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. Experiments at chambered tombs have found that Further reading on archaeology of dreams and altered sound might also have been manipulated to produce states of consciousness: strange effects and experiences: sound waves produced Borić, D. 2005. ‘Body Metamorphosis and Animality: by percussion instruments for example, can under Vola•le Bodies and Boulder Artworks from Lepinski certain circumstances produce various weird effects, Vir.’ Cambridge Archaeological Journal 15:1, 35-69. and possibly even able to induce physical effects such Cochrane, A. 2008. ‘Some S•mula•ng Solu•ons.’ In as hyperven•la•on. It has been suggested that this C. Knappe• and L. Malafouris (eds.) Material Agency: may have been a powerful part of the rituals enacted Towards a Non-anthropocentric Approach, Berlin: Springer, 157-86. in passage tombs, for example. Dronfield, J. 1995. ‘Migraine, light and hallucinogens: Dreams might have been understood by Neolithic the neurocogni•ve basis of Irish megalithic art.’ Oxford people as another kind of consciousness, rather than Journal of Archaeology 14:3, 261-75 sharing our percep•on of them as subconscious or Watson, A. and Kea•ng, D. 1999. ‘Architecture and unconscious, and it has been suggested that death may sound: an acous•c analysis of megalithic monuments have been seen as a kind of sleep. In archaeological in prehistoric Britain.’ An•quity 73, 325-336. contexts the idea that dreaming extends into death Whi•le, A. 2003. The Archaeology of People. has fascina•ng poten•al, as it is one of the few Dimensions of Neolithic life. London: Routledge. Love Archaeology


© Rebecca Younger

Dreams, ghosts and hallucinations…? Camera flash in Cuween chambered cairn, Orkney


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On a journey that passes through maths, chemistry, history and archaeology, Dr Dave Johnston unearths the answer to a ques!on you didn’t know you should be asking: what links Islamic !ling pa"erns to kitchen utensils, and how does that connec!on affect us?

The Alhambra, Granada (Spain), is a highly accessible example of Moorish art and architecture where excellent examples of complex tiling can be seen. It’s dramatic tessellations 31 Issue 1 inspired the artwork of MC Escher.

© Morgana McCabe

Maths & Mosaics


n the 5th of October 2011 the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was announced in by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The recipient was to be Dan Shechtman, for his work showing that the atoms in certain crystals could be packed in such a way that the pattern was not repeated. It had only taken 30 years for his work to be recognized for the groundbreaking contribution it made to our understanding of the very nature of matter: in 1982 when he first made the discovery, it was considered so controversial that he was asked to leave his research group. Groundbreaking as this research was, it was the rediscovery of old knowledge, its application in a new context. Looking not just 30 years into the past, but many hundreds, Dave Johnston asks what links the patterns adorning doorways in the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan, Iran to the physical structure of crystals? What links the famous ‘golden ratio’, beloved of Renaissance artists, to the coating used for frying pans? Most importantly, what links all of the above to toilet paper design? The answer is a remarkable, ongoing story encompassing many fields of study, including aesthetics, archaeology, mathematics, and history. It is a story that not only sheds light on how the past can inform the present, but also highlights the ingenuity and ambition of our ancestors.

The common thread underpinning all of the concepts above is a mathematical notion that is both simple and ubiquitous: the notion of a tiling. Tiling a plane with shapes is an ancient and everyday exercise in geometry – appearing in familiar areas like the simple pattern of tiles in your bathroom, or the arrangement of bricks in the nearest wall. These tilings start with a basic shape, or tile, and fit copies of this shape together to fill a flat surface. In the case of a bathroom wall, the shape is usually just a square. Of course, we can start with collections of much more complicated looking tiles and fit them together to produce a tiling. Tilings produced in this way can be periodic or aperiodic. A periodic tiling is one for which a shifted copy of the tiling will match the original. A section of the pattern appears again and again at regular intervals. For an aperiodic tiling, however, a shifted copy never matches the original. Certain sets of tiles can produce either periodic or aperiodic tilings, depending on how we fit them together. It is a striking fact, however, that there exist sets of tiles that can only tile the plane aperiodically. The first attempt at finding such a set, during the 1960s, was a monumental construction of 20,426 initial tiles! These are often referred to as Wang tiles (no, really). It must have been a great relief for everyone © Edmund Harriss

Johnston Penrose tiling

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when Roger Penrose reduced this number to two: the famous kite and dart Penrose tiling, discovered in the mid-1970s. When we fit copies of the kite and dart together, the resulting tiling is aperiodic. Interestingly, as the tiling grows to fill an infinite area, the ratio of kites to darts approaches the famous golden ratio, which allegedly infuses the proportions of the Parthenon, and appears in a wide variety of areas, from classical architecture to music a Penrose tiling, although it predates Penrose’s theory. discovery by over 500 years. The golden ratio is not the only thing linking Penrose tilings to architecture. The Darb-i Imam The story doesn’t end there, but rather shrine in Iran (c. 1453) is noted for the beauty brings us full circle to Dan Scechtman and of the mosaics that decorate the complex. the crystals. Despite their great beauty and It has been pointed out that these designs interest to mathematicians, aperiodic tilings betray an astonishing degree of sophistication, were for quite some time considered to be of as the precision with which the tilings were only academic interest. In 1982, when Dan constructed must have verged on perfection. Shechtman discovered quasicrystals, this In principle, the only tools available to the changed quite dramatically. Quasicrystals can, artisans of the time were straight edge and in fact, be thought of as three-dimensional compass, meaning that every line comprising versions of the Penrose tiling: a crystal in which a decorative pattern had to be carved into the atoms are packed together in a non-repeating walls directly. Thus, to produce such patterns pattern. These crystals, originally created must have been a cumbersome, painstaking in the lab, were found to occur naturally in and incredibly lengthy process. Add to this 2009, when they were identified in samples the accuracy of the entire picture (even very from a Russian river. They possess many small mistakes at a local level will cause remarkable properties and are the subject of geometric distortions at a global level, but no intense research. Their potential applications such distortions are apparent) and the natural are multiple, with current projects aiming to question arising is whether another, more employ them to create frying pan coatings and advanced construction method was used. Peter utilize them in diesel engines. They represent J. Lu and Paul Steinhardt, in a groundbreaking a new step in material culture development, Science article, apparently solved the problem for future archaeologists to integrate into ever by pointing out that the pattern is essentially expanding typologies.

“in 1997 Penrose himself sued Kimberly Clark over a design that, allegedly, resembled a certain Penrose •ling”


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© Wikipedia Commons

© Wikipedia Commons

Diagram of kite & dart tiling

Mosaic detail, Darb-i Imam shrine, Iran

© Wikipedia Commons/ Urs Schmid

Detail of Urs Schmid painting featuring Penrose tiling

I know what you’re thinking, though. This inspiring story of human ingenuity and multidisciplinary research is all well and good, but where does the toilet paper come in? Well, in 1997 Penrose himself sued Kimberly Clark over a design that, allegedly, resembled a certain Penrose tiling. The case was settled out of court, but certainly did its bit to continue the long and glorious association of bathrooms and tilings

Lu, P.J. et. al. 2007. Decagonal and Quasicrystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture. Science, 315: 1106-1110. Gardner, M. 1997. Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers: And the Return of Dr Matrix. N.p.: The Mathematical Association of America.

We say that two numbers are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of both numbers to the larger number is the same as the ratio of the larger number to the smaller. Via some simple mathematics, one can see that this means the golden ratio must take the value 1.6180339…. Artists and architects and even musicians will often attempt to incorporate the golden ratio in the proportions of their work; it is believed this is aesthetically pleasing. © Wikipedia Commons

Further reading

Perfect Proportions:

Love Archaeology


The Four Humours ...and the three p’s


n this issue of Love Archaeology the themed section is about our bodies. Unfortunately, we don’t mean sex (this time), but specifically the taboos that still bother even the most liberated westerners. Things like the three p’s: pee, poo, and pus. We’re bringing these to the forefront because we’re convinced that when it comes right down to it, we can’t really understand the past if we sanitise it to fit our own social mores. If archaeology teaches us anything, it’s that when it comes to the way people were, and what they thought was ‘natural’, you can’t assume anything. Today, we might flush, brush, wipe and scrub, deodorise, hide and otherwise deny every aspect of our everyday bodily functions within a second of the offending eruption. Not only was this not an option in many past societies, this level of discretion was rarely necessary or even desirable. As archaeologists who deal mostly with the dead (and, by definition, non-functioning) body, it’s all too easy to let the practicalities of ‘being-in-theworld’ and the former flesh fall by the wayside as we contemplate the greater meaning of life in centuries gone past. Where we struggle to see even normal bodies and their functions, abnormal bodies and their behaviours are that much more elusive. This remains the case even in the modern world. TV might expose us to some elements of human variation, but it does so in a way that actually makes it more difficult to understand difference in the past. You can sit down any night of the week to see hospital staff hard at work undertaking surgical procedures in all their gruesome detail, or perhaps gawk at more exploitative shows that sensationalise body types we might consider weird or abnormal. What you don’t experience are the smells, the sensations, and the normality of it all: the mundane everydayness of being in that body. Every body (and thus every one of the ‘actors’ or ‘agents’ we abstractly refer to when discussing past peoples) is unique - each one pulsing, writhing and


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excreting at its own rate, beneath a more (or less) homogenous bag of skin. To get you thinking about bodies in the past - and how they were experienced, treated, perceived, measured and explored from the inside and out - we’ve put together a short collection of pieces drawing on the history of medicine. OK, let’s be honest, it’s mostly about pee and poo. Our aim is to give some food for thought and encourage people to enter into conversation with their own bodies; to enquire of them and explore them from a new perspective, rather than pretending they aren’t there. We also hope to encourage archaeologists of all stripes to consider not just ‘embodiment’ in the abstract, but also see the body as a collection of raw, loosely collaborative organs that continually do their dirty work, naturally resulting in sounds, smells, tastes and sensations. When it comes down to it, we are all organic, we all take things in and pass them out of one orifice or another, whether we admit to it or not. We start with the Four Humours, popular throughout medieval Europe as a model for understanding the body and its (mal)functions. They may seem questionable now, but in keeping track of their inputs and outputs, the ordinary medieval person may have been a step ahead of us, understanding that what we eat literally becomes who we are. We follow on with a thought-provoking discussion of the Elephant Man, witnessing how his treatment by Victorian medics marked a turning point in the relationship between the sensationalisation and the sanitisation of ‘abnormal’ bodies. This begs the question of whether and to what extent things have moved on in the last century, with the current trend for TV shows about ‘embarrasing’ bodies. We also discuss how archaeologists can make the past come alive through the sense of smell, and throw caution into the wind, diving into pee (the history of, not literal pee, of course). Enjoy!

Morgana McCabe General Editor, Love Archaeology

Š wikimedia commons

Love Archaeology Magazine: Taking the piss! Love Archaeology


The pursuit of balance Revisiting humoural medicine

Š Wikimedia commons

by Dr Jessica Martucci

Being a model in the 16th century was absolute murder


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umoural medicine is a secular philosophical system first introduced by the Ancient Greeks that explains the processes of health and disease in the human body. For thousands of years humoural theory ruled supreme amongst the most learned physicians. It stuck around so long that it eventually became second nature to even the poorest of peasants. Humoural medicine offered pre-modern man a complete explanatory basis for everything from a woman’s menstrua•on to seasonal fevers to the hotheaded irra•onal passions of youth. How did it do all of this? Well, this is where we can begin to delve into the real blood and guts of the ma•er (quite literally). The system relied upon an understanding of four bodily substances known as the “humours.” Each humour, based on one of the Aristotelian elements of earth, air, fire and water, embodied a set of primary material quali•es: blood (hot and wet), phlegm (cold and wet), yellow bile (hot and dry), and the most dangerous of humours, black bile (dry and cold). To achieve a state of health, the humours had be kept in a state of balance within each person. If the humours were pushed into a state of imbalance through a natural change in age, the arrival of a new season, or a s•nt of extreme weather, a person was likely to become ill. Balance was key. While it may seem strange to us now, humoural theory was a founda•onal point of departure for all of western civiliza•on. We have to be willing, at least for a moment, to suspend our disbelief. To our ancestors, the humours were real physical substances that flowed through the body, ruling its various systems as a person’s natural temperament indicated. A temperament dictated not only a person’s physical needs, like what kinds of foods to avoid, how much sleep to get, and what kinds of illnesses would be most likely to arise; it also described a person’s general emo•onal and

“A phlegma•c person was likely to be sluggish, caught up in pursuits of the mind“

psychological tendencies. For instance, some people were born with a tendency for excess phlegm in their system; this meant the person was naturally phlegma•c. A phlegma•c person was likely to be sluggish, caught up in pursuits of the mind (the organ where phlegm dominated), and lack a certain degree of vivacity. A sanguine person, on the other hand, was likely to be passionate, outgoing, and lusty. Each temperament generally carried both its posi•ves and its nega•ves, although a naturally melancholic personality was seen as a definite downer. The legacy of this system is s•ll around today whenever we describe someone as being par•cularly sanguine or when someone is having a melancholy day. Even the terms phlegma•c and choleric have stuck around, retaining much of their original meanings. The other key to understanding the humoural system is to consider the way that environment, season, and climate were integral to a person’s health. We s•ll throw about phrases like “you’ll catch a cold,” and undoubtedly sayings like this originated in the days when people believed the internal and external environments were inherently connected. Exposure to cold and damp weather could breed phlegma•c conges•on in the joints, or provide the imbalance necessary to throw one into a full-blown head cold. Fevers, which we now think of as our immune system’s response to an invading pathogen, were thought to be a symptom of too much blood or yellow bile, o•en brought on by extreme summer heat or the overexcitement of the blood in the spring. The cures that accompanied these disorders were designed to alleviate the imbalance by restoring the body to its natural state of balance. This is why the belief in bloodle!ng and purges of the diges•ve system persisted for thousands of years, despite the undoubted unpleasantness of such treatments. The most important person in the humoural system of medicine was the individual pa•ent. Doctors, apothecaries, midwives, and barber-surgeons were simply pieces that a person might integrate into a rou•ne called a personal regimen by which each person sought to live. Developed by Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, and Galen, surgeon to the Roman gladiators, the system of hygiene and regimen dominated medical prac•ce and thought

Love Archaeology


{The Four Humours}

{The Four Temperaments}


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© The National Library of Medicine

“A humoural physician thrust into our modern era would no doubt be appalled by our inability to feel our blood thicken and slow when we eat french fries and cheeseburgers”

Hippocrates, engraving by Peter Paul Rubens, 1638

in conjunc•on with the humoural system. Diet, sleep, exercise, breath, excre•on (very important), and emo•ons were the six key elements that each individual needed to op•mize in order to maintain his or her own natural humoural balance. In this way, then, much of a person’s health was deemed to be in his or her own hands. The fundamental message of humoural medicine seems to have been “know thyself” or at least “know what thou can eat.” Throwing one’s humors out of balance by ea•ng foods with the incorrect balance of cold/hot and wet/dry quali•es could lead to disease. Humoural medicine was not really any more morally driven than our scien•fic medicine, however, since it was also possible to blame something external, like the weather, whenever a sickness set in.

health regimen. For most people throughout most of our history, interven•ons into illness were kept to a minimum, unless they involved laxa•ves, which lay people and learned alike tended to use quite liberally. Epidemics may have raged where there was unsafe drinking water or where poor nutri•on mingled with over-crowding to provoke cruel outbreaks or chronically low immunity, especially in the case of childhood illnesses. For the most part, however, civiliza•on rose alongside a persistent belief that we would get be!er as long as we listened to our bodies. This is exactly the kind of preventa•ve health advice that the developed world is struggling to emphasize today as many socie•es combat a host of ‘lifestyle diseases’ like diabetes and heart disease caused by poor diet.

Few people (historians included) would care to return to the days of humoural medicine, when a visit from a barber-surgeon might be followed by a few good long hours spent emptying the en•re contents of one’s diges•ve system. There are, however, elements of this system whose absence from our modern scien•fic medicine might prompt some reflec•on. The idea that the body tended, naturally, to exist in a state of balance was a fundamental part of the humoural system. Illness was an unnatural state of affairs, one that most believed would likely right itself through the exercise of a well-cra•ed

A humoural physician thrust into our modern era would no doubt be appalled by our inability to feel our blood thicken and slow when we eat french fries and cheeseburgers or to feel our heads swell and become heavy with phlegm as we laze about in front of our various digital devices. Perhaps we could stand to embrace our humoural selves just a bit and learn once again how to live our lives in pursuit of balance Dr. Jessica Martucci is Assistant Professor of History at Mississippi State University Love Archaeology


© wikimedia commons

Humoural Diaries: The Experiment Morgana McCabe & Jen Novotny try out some humoural medicine on themselves.


o how did people of the past monitor and control their health with humoural medicine? We decided to test out this historical method of self-diagnosis to find out. This meant keeping a humoural diary: jotting down everything we ate, along with a note of our sleep patterns, amount of exercise, breathing, excretions, and emotions each day for a week. In addition, we kept tabs on the weather, seasonal changes, and astrological events. We didn’t, however, go so far as to check our urine against medieval colour swatches or closely inspect our excrement. You can insert your own Munsell chart joke here. We report the results here...without going into TOO much detail. Pa•ents in 1860 needed a good sense of humour First of all, let’s set the scene for some of the external factors. The weather in Glasgow, believe it or not, was glorious during our experiment: a full week of dry, sunny days. After consulting, we discover that up in the heavens, there’s been a lot going on, too. The sun was in Aries, meaning we should have felt motivated, enthusiastic, and spontaneous. Mercury went into Pisces to add some creativity and imagination to our lives, while Venus in Taurus lent contentedness and possessiveness. With Mars in Virgo, our work ethic was in overdrive, whilst Uranus in Aries should have inspired us to new starts. This was encouraged even further by the waxing Moon, which favours new beginnings. We were off to an auspicious start.


My diagnosis: mopey Melancholic


My body is overwhelmed by the dry and cool black bile that makes me sleepless and gloomy. Apparently my vegetarian diet does not help my unfortunate black bile imbalance, as the foods I am most likely to eat for protein, like beans, only add to certain, er, rumblings down below, that a black bile disorder exacerbates. If I ate meat, what I’d really need is a nice serving of dry

Keeping a humoural diary sure tells you a lot about yourself. Firstly, like just about everyone else on the planet, I think I eat a lot healthier than I actually do. My brain is stuck sometime about five years ago when I was on a super health food kick


and only ate wholegrain flatbread, couscous and roasted veg. Except that last week I ate a cheese sandwich every single day. Not to mention that pre-Easter chocolate that had until recently been sitting around uneaten. After reviewing my past week, I diagnose myself as swinging between two extremes: melancholic (feeling sleepless, stressed and despondent), and sanguine (feeling cheerful and productive). For a few days I’m even able to detect an overabundance of phlegm (seasonal allergies, or maybe the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter), so I should think about using some hot/ dry herbs like thyme, hyssop, and black pepper. Out of all of these, the melancholic symptoms seem most persistent, so I’ll focus on those.

Issue 1

© wikimedia commons

and hot poultry, like rooster (though one that doesn’t crow too much – the animal’s temperament will affect its dietary properties). To alleviate my gloom, I could either a) finish my PhD in a timely manner, or b) add some senna and hellebore into my diet (already on the shopping list). I should probably stick to my preference forredwine,asthatiswarmerthanwhite,butseemingly the best drink for me is milk: both warm and moist. Unfortunately, black bile is the stubbornest humour to try to regulate – apparently it will take longer than the others to bring to heel. I had best adjust my diet quickly because I certainly don’t fancy the alternative: since all of the humours are contained in the blood, bloodletting is an appropriate treatment for all of them. Apparently for melancholy, I should be being bled from a vein in my forehead. Ugh. After reaching a diagnosis, I turn to the 1696 The Family-Dictionary, or Houshold Companion by William Salmon, Professor of Physick, for some remedies to try. “To suppress melancholy: take Epithymum a [parasitic plant often found on gorse], Fumitory [often found on waste ground], the Flowers of Bugloss [in the borage family], and Borrage [starflower], of each a quarter of a pound, Senna half an ounce, Poly-podim of the Oak [oak-leaved fern] an ounce, Fennel-seeds two drams, Whey three pints; infuse them three hours, and then boil them to the consumption of a quart, whereunto add two ounces of the Syrup of Roses, Drink half a pint of it warm in a Morning, strained and settled; and in two or three times taking, you will find wondreful Ease and Comfort: And so, as often as you find your self oppressed with Melancholy, use it in the manner prescribed.” I think I prefer this one, though, because I’m allowed to sweeten it with some sugar or honey: “A Diet-Drink: Take Fumitory (Fumewort, or Fumaria) and Hops before they are ripe for gathering, Borrage, of each a pound; boil them in two gallons of Springwater, till they come to the consumption of half: strain out the liquid part, and sweeten it with Sugar-Candy, or Honey, and let it stand about eight days to settle and digest, and drink a moderate Draught of it in the Morning fasting, and the like at Night when you go to Bed, and it will much enliven the Spirits, and remove the causes of Melancholy.”

Senna: figh•ng melancholy since 1696

And since my melancholic humoural profile makes it hard for me to sleep, here’s a remedy for that: “Sleep to procure: Take Water-Lilies half a handful, Opium one dram, steep these, the Lilies being bruised, in three pints of Malmsey [sweet fortified wine], twenty four hours, then put in an ounce of Salt finely beaten, Poppy-seed a dram, Lettice-seed three drams, distill them in Balneo Maria [a contraption for heating substances in a water bath – made up of an inner and outer container, like a modern double-boiler].”

“Diet-wise,I need to pick up a rooster from the poulterer, drink more milk, and get my hands on some opium”

Love Archaeology


© wikimedia commons

So diet-wise, I need to pick up a rooster from the poulterer, drink more milk, and get my hands on some opium. However, there’s only so much I can do as to the climate. The dry, warm weather is certainly better for my humours than the cold and wet. Too bad I live in Scotland: humoural climate fail. Maybe I can convince my partner to move to the tropics for health reasons.

MORGANA: THE CURE-ALL SEEMS TO BE LETTUCE. I also learned a lot about myself by keeping this diary, mostly that I think I feel a lot healthier, retrospectively, than I actually do if I keep a note and read back. Firstly, there’s the random purging. In my mind random purging is minimal. In daily life, let’s just say that a lot of things nauseate me, and leave it at that. It seems it’s definitely excess choler that does that. The insomnia (also constant) is generally accompanied by one or more of the following irritations: terrible heartburn; terrible itching; terrible burning sensations in the nerves in my legs. I’m going to go ahead, given that these symptoms feel hot and dry (and surely heartburn and vomit actually are YELLOW BILE), and put them all down to excess choler. Oh, and my stomach feels unsettled all the time. Apparently that’s choler too. Lookingbeyondtheinternal,bileyinfluences,however, I’m definitely feeling enthusiastic and motivated, and with my wedding approaching the new beginnings and creativity are buzzing. In the last week I’ve been getting up at all hours to manically decorate towels, blankets and clothing, and even make owl toys. I have made what can only been described as a crazy number of hand-stitched owls. There are green, blue, yellow, pink, and peach ones. Big ones. Little ones. Fat ones. Thin ones. Flying ones. Sleeping ones. Ok, maybe it’s not that creative when they are all owls. But for some reason I’m experiencing a powerful drive to keep on designing new ones, so I’m taking that as a sign that the astrologicalworldishavingappropriate,ifquestionable, influence. The only symptom I noticed that didn’t seem

Chicory & pepper


Issue 1

Nothing like a nice purging vomit. From the 14th-century Casanatense Tacuinum Sanita•s. to be planet- or choler-related was the one odd flurry of tears. I’ll put that one down to temporary melancholy powers and try the black pepper if it happens again. My diagnosis: it’s all yellow bile, all the time. To deal with the general overwhelming of my body by yellow bile, the cure-all seems to be lettuce. Cool and wet, lettuces are soothing to the stomach but can also be applied to the temples and wrists. However, the medieval consensus is that it’s best to dip doubled rags into lettuce water and appy that topically. For a more palatable and publically acceptable way of getting the lettuce fix, the lettuce stalks can be made into candies. Yum. Take those (or any other lettuce remedy) before bedfor ‘gentleslumbers’.Cool.Andanyleftoverlettuce water can be used to clean up tarnished silver. Bonus.

“Mmm...succulent candy”

The insects on the borage remained steadfastly sanguine

So let’s turn to Professor Salmon’s remedies for some Choleric symptoms: “Itch to Cure: Take strong Lime one pound, and put it into a gallon of Spring-water; let them work together for some hours, then carefully pour off what is clear: filter the rest, and take two ounces of Quicksilver tied up in a linen Bag: let this hang in the Liquor, and boil it half an hour or more: then pour off the clear Liquor, and with it wash the part afflicted; and when it is well dried in, anoint the same places with Ointment of Tobacco, which you may have ready prepared.” Before you get your pound of limes, however, read Salmon’s next suggestion: “This is Infallible. Take Rose or Rosemary-water eight ounces, Powers of Mercury one ounce: mix them, and wash the Places affected therewith Morning and Evening. This Ointment never fails.” As for treating heartburn: “When you find any great Heat or Burning in your Stomach, Take green Houseleek (a succulent also known as liveforever) bruise it and press out the Juice; then over a gentle Fire make it into a Syrup with white Sugar. This is excellent good, an ounce taken at a time for the Heart-burn.”

REFLECTIONS: While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you try these remedies at home - especially not the toxic ones with generous helpings of mercury - there are still lessonstobelearnedfromtheseoldmedicinalpractices. It’s amazing and a little embarassing how little weknow about our own bodies. In the constantly hand-sanitised world of modern hygiene we are removed from the practicalitiesofourbodilyfunctions:weusedeodorants and perfumes to mask odors, we wash frequently in readily-available hot running water, we open a sterile bandage when injured, we flush excrement away never to be seen again, our clothes go straight off our bodies and into the washig machine. Indeed, most of us go through our daily lives without having to think of the physicality of our bodies. It certainly casts serious doubtonwhetherthefirst-world,post-Enlightenment, western perspective is really the best vantage point from which to understand the ancient past. Stopping to pay attenton to the minutiae of our bodies made for some interesting results. It was informative to keep track of mundane details like food intake and sleep patterns. Interesting, if somewhat obvious, connections can be made when you are forced to take stock of everyday activities that often go unnoticed. At the very least we now have a greater appreciation of the powers of lettuce. And maybe the baby will like it

Mmm...succulent candy. We’ll be the most popular house on the block at Halloween. Almost better than the dentists who give out apples.

Love Archaeology


Otherbodies ‘Monster’ is among the most provocative words in the English language. Almost always suggesting ugliness or inhumanity, it has become a shorthand for that which repulses us. But what if we abandoned those negative connotations of monstrosity? What if we cleared our minds of Gothic ghouls or murderous cinematic bogeymen? Rather, what if we considered monstrosity as a historical and scientific concept? Doing so might help us to explore monstrous bodies in terms of the impact that they have on the perception of bodies themselves, on the concept of our own bodies and our idea of what constitutes a ‘normal’ body.

Dr. Ally Crockford

explores first-hand accounts of Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man, as an example of the 19th century’s medical preoccupation with teratology - the study of monsters. The accounts of Merrick’s body, considered in light of the examinations of monsters frequently described in teratological reports, raise the spectre of an intriguing sensual rapport between the physicians carrying out the examinations and the bodies being examined: an unconscious battle of the senses. Such a topic must be discussed in a sober and respectful manner, something which was often lacking in the firsthand accounts which follow.


he monstrosity of monstrous bodies is bound up in their failure “to wholly and only occupy the place of the other,” suggests Margrit Shildrick in Embodying the Monstrous: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self. The inability to completely exclude exceptional bodily forms from our concepts of “normal” bodies enables “such monsters [to] betray the fragility of the distinctions by which the human subject is fixed”. Monstrous bodies are therefore those which dissolve, exceed, or violate the boundaries of human embodiment; yet these very same qualities also enable, even force, the recognition of that monstrosity as inherently and irrefutably human. In a sense, the monstrous body is already penetrative, intruding into the falsehood of the well-formed body simply by nature of its existence. However, in the case of Joseph Merrick, this intrusion extends further, taking place on a sensory level.


Issue 1

The most detailed account of Merrick is found in the memoirsofSirFrederickTreves,Merrick’sself-described benefactor. Treves’ description of his first encounter withtheElephantManismarkedbyaparticularsensory characteristic: the way he smelled. “One other feature must be mentioned to emphasize his isolation from his kind. Although he was already repellent enough, there arose from the fungous skin-growth with which he was almost covered a very sickening stench which was hard to tolerate...The condition of Merrick's skin rendered a bath at least once a day a necessity, and I might here mention that with the use of the bath the unpleasant odour to which I have referred ceased to be noticeable”. Inthispassage,Merrick’sbodyisdescribedasanassault on and a violation of the senses. His is a body already defined by excess – deformed by tumorous growths which show no respect to the boundaries of form – and it should therefore be no surprise that this excess manifested itself sensually, the fungous condition revealing its undeniable presence through smell (for although the body can be hidden away and obscured, scent is a much more powerful and stubborn enemy). However, as much as this passage offers a hint, albeit a demure one, of the sensual penetration by which Merrick’s body forced recognition of its monstrosity on an instinctive, reactionary level, it also details the clinical response. The Elephant Man’s unacceptably monstrous body is successfully sanitised through the application of a rigorous bathing regime, suppressing the monstrous body’s olfactory envoy and rendering it inert. According to the narrative of the 19th-century clinician, Merrick’s sensual monstrosity is a symptom, and one of the few that he presents which can be treated. The implications of this sanitisation, and of the fungal odour itself, may, on the surface, seem to extend no further than the importance of personal hygiene, serving perhaps to emphasise the great advances which have been made in that area since the 1880s when Treves encountered Merrick. For the moment, however, let us turn to medical reports of other so-called “human monstrosities”; these texts, often depicting the process of examination, offer some insight into the role that the senses play in medicine’s attempt to define the monster.

Š Wikimedia Commons

Joseph Merrick in 1889

Love Archaeology


One of the most violent of such descriptions can be found in J.W. Ballantyne’s article on “Double Monsters” in J. M. Munro Kerr’s Operative Midwifery, in which Ballantyne admits that the two cases of labour involving conjoined twins at which he has been in attendance “were ended after great difficulty by a sort of general dismemberment of the foetuses”. Even Treves’ own initial report of Merrick, published in the Transactions of the Pathological Society of London, describes the man’s skin as being “remarkably loose, so that it could be freely slid about, and if grasped it could be drawn away from the deeper parts in immense folds”. Both descriptions offer a scenario in which the physician’s touch, no longer a touch that heals, becomes a penetrative one, in some cases literally. As a result, we are presented with images of the monstrous body being toyed with, even dismembered as it is subjected to the violent penetration that constitutes the medical world’s attempt to understand and define those bodies that blur the boundaries between our normal selves and the abject other. But perhaps the most graphic example comes from Ballantyne and A. A. Scot Skirving: “during the examination of the parts the infant struggled violently, and a gush of urine came from the centre of [a] glandular mass [located behind the genitals]”. This particular description is interesting in that it evokes a disturbing echo of Winfried Menninghaus’s introduction to Disgust: The Theory and History of a Strong Sensation, which states that “such sensations ‘penetrate the body, so far as it is alive’. Everything seems at risk in the experience of disgust. It is a state of alarm and emergency, an acute crisis of self-preservation in the face of an unassimilable otherness, a convulsive struggle, in which what is in question is, quite literally, whether ‘to be or not to be’”. The physical comparison between the struggling convulsions of the “monstrous” infant undergoing examination and the violent experience of disgust itself are compounded by the association between this instinctive sensual response and the question of existence. This is perhaps nowhere more pertinent than in the act of birth by “general dismemberment” or in the attempted definition of the body through the stretching and sliding of its skin.


Issue 1

In the sensory assault of the physician upon the monstrous body, then, there exists another sterilisation, another removal of an inherent element of its monstrosity: the denial of disgust on the part of the body being examined. Perhaps, in these first-hand accounts of encounters with monsters – as Shildrick so aptly phrases it, encounters with the vulnerable self – we are witness to a kind of inversion of the monstrous body’s conceptual and sensory intrusion. [pull quote here: I suggest “These descriptions offer a scenario in which the physician’s touch, no longer a touch that heals, becomes a penetrative one”] WhatdoesthissayofMerrick’scastratedscent,then?Or what of other monstrous emissions? Or the monstrous infant described by Richard Ellis, for example, who “uttered a very peculiar cry” at birth? Or what ofLalloo, the Double-Bodied Hindu Boy, whose (male) parasitic twin, projecting from his stomach, was pronounced to have female genitals based on a strong smell which was apparently “similar to that of the female organs”? They provide tantalising clues to sterilised bodies that, alreadyprovokingdiscomfortanduneasethroughtheir monstrous familiarity, are cleansed of their potential for sensory violation. These bodies are always already subjected to an additional sterilisation through their textual representation: reading the accounts, we are denied the experience of sound, smell, or touch in our encounters with the monstrous body or bodies that they describe. We are denied our own bodily responses of recognition, anxiety, disgust, or desire. Worse still, those emissions that act as a sensual manifestation of monstrosity are mediated by the words of the physician through which we access the body itself. We can therefore but speculate as to the sensual relations between examining physician and examined subject; what does seem to emerge, however, through a comparison between these different experiences of sensory penetration, is a kind of distorted mirroring in terms of the experience of disgust and a sanitising of the sensuous

Ally Crockford is a recent doctoral graduate at the University of Edinburgh, specialising in late 19th-century literature and with a par•cular interest in the child figure, teratology, and concepts of monstrosity

EmBodying the past othering ourselves Looking back at the life of Joseph Merrick and a•tudes towards him is uncomfortable. Proximity disturbs us: these events were not so very long ago. They seem almost harbingers of the modern TV trends for programmes which showcase the culturally unusual or abnormal body. There have even been several shows on the very condi•on from which he suffered, a conditon with 25,000 UK sufferers and another born every day: neurofibromatosis. As archaeologists, it is by adding temporal depth and context that we can hope to learn from this discomfort and take something meaningful from it into our theory and prac•ce. Beyond the individual case study, we must aim for the broader ques•ons.

For example, how might we use the aversion to visible otherness to understand the characterisa•on and experience of invasion by invisible others? How might the well documented responses to Merrick and other ‘monsters’ in burgeoning medical culture provide insight into processes of confla•on between nega•ve physical and personal quali•es in other historical contexts?

prac••oners is to iden•fy how otherness was not just expressed but also experienced in past lifeways. For this to be possible, we first have to overcome the constric•ons of our own cultural experience - o•en a tough order.

Our media-led perspec•ve magnifies visual experience whilst crea•ng distance and denying the other senses. While this allows us the role of audience rather than To address these ques•on we par•cipant, it removes us from o•en begin with the end. It is the home truth that not only is in the grave that the differen•al ‘otherness’ all around us (and treatment of the otherbody always has been), it is very much reveals itself in a myriad of within us. Otherness with the ways. Whether it is the isola•on poten•al to emerge or even erupt of criminal bodies, the burial from within us at any •me. In fact, with amulets of sick bodies, ‘otherness’ for one is ‘normalness’ or the reverence of special for another; the very dis•nc•on bodies, otherness frequently ar•ficial, a cultural construct that con•nues into death. However, we cannot carry with us into the the challenge for archaeological past, but must discover there.

© Wikimedia Commons

Further reading on the Victorian context and Joseph Merrick Ballantyne, J.W. 1908. “Dystocia the Result of Abnormalities Affecting the Foetus: Double Monsters” in J.M. Monro Kerr (ed.) Operative Midwifery, NewYork: William Wood & Co, 121-130. Ballantyne, J.W. and A.A. Scot Skirving 1895. “Diphallic Terata,” Teratologia volume 2 (2), 92-5. Menninghaus, W. 2003. Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Sensation. H. Eiland and J. Golb (trans.) Albany, NY: University of New York Press. Shildrick, M. 2002. Embodying the Monstrous: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self. London: SAGE Publications, Ltd. Treves, F. 1885. “A Case of Congenital Deformity” in Transactions of the Pathological Society of London volume 36, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 494-498. Treves, F. 1923. The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences, London: Cassell and Company, Ltd.

Back of a pa•ent suffering from Neurofibromatosis

Further reading on Deviant Burial Murphy, E. 2008 Deviant Burial in the Archaeological Record. Oxbow Love Archaeology


Book Review


rine: it’s in all of us. For a

Urine is also behind many great

substance so integral to our

works of art. ‘Indian Yellow’,

daily life, we are certainly

made from the urine of mango-

keen to shun it, producing it furtively

eating cows, was essential to

behind closed doors, and flushing

the palette of the Dutch Masters



like Vermeer, and Picasso used

centres to be filtered, disinfected,

pee to create a green patina on

and processed, destroying any trace

his sculptured bronzes. Even the

of the fact that we ever had a pee.

holiest illuminated manuscripts

A third of the water we use in the

are virtually swimming in it: the

home goes to flushing the toilet, and

130 calfskins needed to make the

a quarter of the output of a large

8th-century Lindisfarne Gospels

coal-fired power plant is required

were first soaked in urine to help

every day to scrub it clean. Given

remove the hairs, and more pee

the enormous amount of resources

was used to create the vibrant

devoted to hiding our shame, it is

blues, greens and purples of the

anyone’s guess as to what future

dyes on its pages.




people will make of our gigantic sewage infrastructure. Will they be impressed, as archaeologists are when we talk of the cloaca maxima of ancient Rome? Or will they laugh at our compulsive fear of pee? These are the kinds of questions


Life of Pee: The Story of How Urine Got Everywhere. By Sally Magnusson. 288pp. Aurum Press Ltd (25 Oct 2010). ISBN 978-1845135904

guiding TV presenter and author





understand so



why as



and antiseptic led to the creation of modern medicine and laid the basis for the practice of chemistry, albeit after centuries of



Sally Magnusson’s fun little book. Inspired by her

uroscopy (the practice of diagnosing patients by observing

research into traditional methods of making Harris tweed,

the qualities of their urine) and alchemy (which failed to

which apparently involved soaking it in urine at almost

turn piss into gold, though it did result in the discovery of

every step, this book is the result of a quest to reveal

phosphorus). Urine continues to drive scientific research,

all the ways we have forgotten how useful pee can be.

with various countries now separating it from household

History nerds may already be aware of its integral role

waste to produce nitrogen-rich fertiliser, plastics and soon

in preparing and dying wool before modern chemicals,

even hydrogen fuel. There are still those who experiment

but may be surprised of its similar role in the production

with the health benefits of pee by drinking or applying

of medieval stained glass and the first antibiotics. And if

it directly onto skin, though one imagines they find it

you think it is hilarious how those crazy people in the past

difficult to maintain healthy relationships.

put their pee in everything, think again: urea, the main component of mammal urine, is today used in various

Sprinkling the text liberally with innumerable piss-based

skin creams, shampoos, conditioners and whitening

puns, Magnusson uses good humour and interesting

toothpaste. In fact, it’s probably coating your entire face

anecdotes to expose one of the great ironies of modernity.

and the inside of your mouth right now.

So many modern achievements in science, medicine and

previous centuries knew better. The Romans used it as a

social mores mean we have forgotten how we got this far

detergent for their togas; Germans brewed beer with it;

in this first place. Our attempts to guiltily hide our waste

the Confederate South used it to keep up their supplies

end up wasting immense amounts of other resources; as

of gunpowder. Its medicinal use goes back even further:

Magnusson puts it, “Our urine footprint, it turns out, is as

5000-year-old Sanskrit texts claim drinking it could

indelible as our carbon one.”

extend one’s life, and as late as World War I, soldiers would use it to disinfect wounds on the battlefield.

49  Issue 2

Unfortunately for what could have been a fascinating

© Wolfgang

hazards - are inextricably tied to our daily pish. Yet our


art - and their attendant wars, pollution and environmental Although we are now grossed out by urine, people in

piece of field reporting, the book instead succumbs to the

Walkers, Handy Pandy, Harris Tweed, Indigo, Jug City,

urge to be a novelty bathroom-reader. Instead of a free-

Lichen, Robin Hood, Wash, Weeting, and Woad). This

flowing narrative, it is laid out using short, witty vignettes,

rather unsatisfying trickle of information results in many

each assigned a clumsy title and needlessly arranged in

annoying trips instead of a single, steady stream. But the

alphabetical order. For instance, the fascinating social

book’s short form and snappy prose mean that, should

history of pee in the production of wool throughout the

one choose to read it in one sitting, it will go by in a

centuries is haphazardly sprayed across the entries


entitled Alum, Blue Monday, Dye, Fullers, Tuckers and


ure we all like to indulge in a

this, the Cheshire West and Chester

These are simply two instances of what

little potty humour now and

Council employees have to clean the

is a widespread issue. The question

then and take the p... er,

building’s surfaces far too regularly

of what to do about wee has left city

mickey, but when it comes to built

and the timber surfaces are being

councils, as well as law enforcement

heritage, wee is no laughing matter.

worn away at a rapid rate.


and heritage professionals at a loss as

Urination on historic timber, stone

pee problem is so bad that urine

to how to stop this blend of antisocial


sometimes leaks into shops below!

behaviour and heritage crime





serious damage, as seen in these examples.

The Glasgow University Archaeology Society noted comparable damage

According to a brief article in The

to stonework during their survey and

Telegraph, the medieval timber of

recording of the churchyard of the

the Chester Rows is being damaged

Cathcart Old Parish Church, Glasgow.

by the urine of late-night drunks

Members of the local community



informed the survey team that the

Because of

churchyard was a well-known late-

the covered walkways.

night shortcut home from the pub. This unfortunate location has led to irreparable damage to some of the headstones in the churchyard.


a number of memorials recorded in the Cathcart churchyard – this one was particularly upsetting”, states Peta Glew, director of the project, “The soft sandstone clearly eroded by urine – as can be seen due to the characteristic pattern of wear.


all the types of vandalism present in this and other graveyards/burial grounds, corrosion from urination can be the most damaging. In this case it has removed the majority of the inscription, and what remains is unreadable – it has arguably destroyed memorial.”







© Peta



Love Archaeology

51  Issue 2

The writing on the wall


oo graffiti comes in all varieties, mostly profane or with horrific grammatical errors, but every once in awhile you see something that makes you

laugh, do a double-take, or just flat out impresses you. These epigraphic examples were spotted in the ladies on the ground floor of the Glasgow University Library, possibly accounting for the overabundance of literary allusions. The ladies on LoveArch’s editorial board liked the participatory nature of this graffiti, whilst the lads were impressed with the (comparatively) classy tone of the graffiti, in comparison with the art on display in the

Spotted some truly brilliant loo graffiti? Send us pics! We’ll post them on our Facebook page www.facebook. com/LoveArch and our blog at lovearchmag.

men’s loo. Well played, ladies, well played.


Love Archaeology

Jen Novotny dabbles in the re-creation of olfactory environments


s we put together this issue, we reflected upon

For my experiment, I reckoned I would need only 3-4

the complexity of the scents of otherbodies

scents, but I quickly had a list of a dozen different

and the less pleasant but ubiquitous aromas of

fragrances that I was keen to use (alas, I had to cut

everyday life. The team were keen to experience the

Dragon’s Breath because I was going for historical

challenge of recreating the scents of the past. We chose

veracity). I was like a kid in a candy shop (hey, Candy

Dale Air, a company that provides a range of scents for

Shoppe wouldn’t be a half bad scent idea!) and spoiled

home and commercial use, and even provides ‘historic’

for choice. Immediately I was faced with a moral

aromas for museums, like the Jorvik Viking Centre in

dilemma: I could be a bit cheeky and create something

York. I was nominated to order samples, and browsing

really disgusting, like Plague Village...but then I would

the Dale Air website is like no other online shopping experience that I’ve ever had. I kept all details of the order top secret; I wanted to create an olfactory experience in which to immerse my colleagues without them knowing what setting I was trying to conjure. But what type of historic scene did I want to set? The company provides some ready-made blends like Old Smithy, Victorian Street, Man-o’-War, and Street Bomb (‘the smell of the Blitz’), but where’s the fun in letting the folks at Dale Air do all of the mixing for me? I wanted a bespoke fragrance. The hardest part was deciding where to start. The range of choice was staggering; I spent a good hour looking through every single scent on offer, in the categories of Animals, Floral, Food and Drink, Nasty, Nice, and Everything Else. Of course the ‘Nasty’ scent section is the best – why on earth would one need the scent of Badger Poo or Penguin Sick, and more importantly, who are the olfactory engineers who have to sniff this stuff and recreate the scents chemically? There are lovely scents, too, like Honeysuckle, Baking Bread, and even a special pack of aromas for selling your house. The full range of weird and wonderful scents was too amusing for me to ruin for you by listing them all here. The next time you want to procrastinate online, check them out for yourself. All I have to say is that after sampling some of these aromas, hats off to the aroma artists who engineer this (literal) shit.

53  Issue 2

probably be held accountable for cleaning up the sick afterwards. I thought about transporting my colleagues to industrial 19th-century Britain, a la North and South, but Dale Air already offers the scents Glasgow, as well as Factory. Then I thought about a digital reconstruction of a St. Kilda blackhouse done by a colleague at the Glasgow School of Art. Alice Watterson’s image is so evocative that I thought I would take a stab at producing an equivalent experience for the nose. I would attempt to reproduce the scents of an 18th-century Scottish Highlands and Islands dry stone byre dwelling. That would mean people and animals living under the same roof, a peat fire, bodies at close quarters, and fresh Highland vegetation (I was generous here and assumed it was summertime). After this scene came to mind, I began to ponder over which scents to include. What would be most realistic? How accurate are my modern perceptions of an 18th-century blackhouse and its inhabitants? In the end, I selected Burning Peat, Dirty Linen, Farmyard, and Heather/Bracken. I have to say that I felt quite magnanimous because I only selected one scent from the Nasty list (Dirty Linen).

“we are accustomed to working with fragmented, unpeopled sites, while the smells of daily activities like cooking, crafting, and crapping are largely ignored.”

© Alice Watterson

© Wikimedia commons


Smelling the past Exploring soundscapes of the past is currently receiving

Selecting the scents for this experiment was a curious

a lot of attention amongst researchers, and visual

exercise because it made me seriously consider which

analysis of sites has been integral to archaeology

aspects of 18th-century blackhouse life would be

since the days of antiquarianism. A phenomenological

most characteristic. Ultimately, this is my personal

approach to the past asks us to delve deeper into a site,

interpretation of the past; another person might select

looking for an experiential understanding. Experimental

very different scents. As archaeologists working with

archaeology tries to replicate past actions, from the

the physical remnants of the past, we are accustomed to

lone flint knapper to permanent, ongoing recreations

working with fragmented, unpeopled sites. Dealing with

like those at the Middelaldercentret in Denmark or

stone and bone, it is easy to forget about the mundane

the ambitious Guédelon Castle in France. It is when

realities of a living community; the olfactory experience

we include human participation in a site that we can

of the past in particular can often be overlooked in

even begin to confront the oft-neglected sense of smell.

favour of a focus on sight and sound, while the smells

Scent, like sound, is ephemeral, and yet psychologically

of daily activities like cooking, crafting, and crapping

enduring. Scent is evocative, not just in its capacity to

are largely ignored. By using the chemical know-how

bring memories to the surface, but also in its ability to

of Dale Air, would we be able to put fragrance back

elicit visceral reactions. We can be enticed or repulsed

into the equation? Would the Love Archaeology test

by a smell, trying desperately to remember a pleasant

subjects be drawn into my olfactory scene? How would

aroma or unable to get a bad one out of our minds.

they react to the smell experiment?

Alice Watterson’s digital reconstruction of the interior of a blackhouse on the island of St Kilda


Love Archaeology

The Result


ix members of the Love Archaeology editorial

However, it didn’t end there for my poor volunteers.

board bravely entered the small, unventilated

I had two other scents for them to experience, which

Chamber of Smells (a small conference room) to

were ready-mixed by Dale Air: Victorian Street and

take a whiff of my odiferous concoction. Half an hour

Burning Witch. The Victorian Street scent wasn’t too

previous to the event, I had opened the vials of scent

far off of my own mixture, smelling vaguely smoky with

and placed them together in a sealable plastic container

a hint stale bodily odour. The real cracker was the gag-

to blend. After entering the room – sorry, Chamber

inducing Burning Witch. As Subject M described it, ‘it

of Smells - each person sniffed the amalgamated

sticks in the back of your throat’. Smelling something

scents inside the container, but quickly the vials were

akin to burning hair and plastic, the experience was

removed and sniffed one by one. As the scents made

only heightened when one member of the group

their way around the gathered test subjects, they

accidentally spilled a bit onto a flat surface. We nearly

elicited varying degrees of approbation and revulsion.

had to evacuate the room. With that, the experiment

Like our interpretations and perceptions of the past,

concluded and we were careful to throw away the lot

individual reactions to the scents were subjective and

(the plastic containers included) in an outside rubbish

opinionated. The most violent reactions came to Dirty

bin, lest the police and fire brigade get a very interesting

Linen (apparently stale urine is universally disliked),


with more ambiguous reactions to a scent like Farmyard. Burning Peat was generally acceptable, and Heather/

After this modest success at orchestrating a scene

Bracken was very much liked by all. Once the group

by scent, or smellieu as I am now calling it, I have

had a chance to tease out the various scents, guessing

bookmarked the Dale Air website...and my friends are

at what they were, which was confirmed or denied by

thinking about my next party with trepidation

me, they began to mentally re-combine them. ‘It smells like Dundee,’ said Subject S. ‘Is it the aftermath of a battle?,’ asked Subject B (no, but I wish I had thought of that!). Finally, the astute Subject R asked, ‘is it a croft house?’ We had a winner! It turns out that they were able to guess the scene I was trying to evoke.

For more of Alice Watterson’s stunning images, check out her blog, Digital Dirt / Virtual Pasts at digitaldirtvirtualpasts.

© Alice Watterson

55  Issue 2

How it works

Dale Air provide aromas and the machines that go with them, not just to Jorvik, but to other venues such as the London Dungeons and the Beaulieu Motor Museum. They also provide their services to numerous independent museums, fashion shows, theatres, promotional events, and even a certain hypnotherapy clinic. The last example is particularly clever because of the strong connection between memories (even ones we don’t automatically recall) and the sense of smell. Essentially, olfaction can be used to raise and address potentially repressed memories. When used with care, aromatherapy can also be used to calm and smooth emotions. But how does it work? The machinery that Dale Air sells ranges from the cordless Elite Dispenser for shops, offices or promotional stands to the monstrous Vortex Maxi 2 which can spread a smell 15

Archaeology is a Johnny-comelately in this game. People have also have tried to use smells in cinemas since 1906 (i.e. before talking film was developed) with limited success. Such innovations as ‘Smell-O-Vision’ and ‘Odorama’ respectively made the films Scent of Mystery (1960; now called Holiday in Spain.) and Polyester (1981) possible. Even now, Hollywood continues to experiment from time to time with aromas and cinema, as in the case of Spy Kids 4D: All the Time in the World (2011) with the scratch-nsniff technology ‘Aroma-Scope’. It is only in more recent years, though, that ‘edutainment’ has decided to take advantage of the power of our noses and explore scent as a way to experience different places and times. As we begin to more fully integrate all of our senses with learning, who knows what possibilities we will discover. 

Fancy a try of one of Dale Air’s aromas? Well you’re in luck, we’ve provided you with a scratch-n-sniff sample of a random scent in the magazine. Try it out!


meters from the machine in any direction. For more complex olfactory scenes, there is a software-operated dispenser (Vortex Activ USB) that can emit a symphony of up to four scents at specific times or at once. They also sell Vortex Cubes, which are brightly coloured cubes filled with a scent. These were intended as teaching aids that added a further dimension to learning, with children with special needs or visual impairments particularly in mind. Again, it is this connection to memory through scent that will potentially associate a lesson learned through a select smell. Think of the possibilities for the future of edutainment!

ch ‘ n S n t ra

if f

by Paul Edward Montgomery When I performed visitor surveys for my Masters research at the Jorvik Centre in York, one thing that was frequently brought up was the smell in their reconstruction of Vikingage Jorvik. Smells of garbage, iron-working, and fish were ready to meet you in the town they built for their animatronic Scandinavians. These smells were one aspect of a multilayered experience behind the reconstruction. When I inquired about the infamous scents that the Centre used, I was forwarded to the geniuses behind the stench.

Did you really just try that? Don’t worry, nobody saw you.

To order your own samples of brilliantly bizarre scents, see the Dale Air website at www.


Love Archaeology

In Issue 1, we recommended the British Museum’s Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman exhibition. Now, Mark Hall, history officer at Perth Museum & Art Gallery and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, gives us a triple-review of this and two other recent exhibitions at the BM, exploring the material link between performance and belief.

Treasures of Heaven (23 June – 9 Oct 2011) An account of the medieval cult of saints, and the first of three exhibits exploring the materiality of belief. Seen through a wide range of reliquaries, those precious containers for even more precious contents, it explored the earthly expression of a human desire for heaven. Refreshingly, this theme was extended beyond the Reformation, making room for contemporary secular equivalents to saints’ cults, including Lenin, Elvis and Princess Diana. In encompassing modern secular artefacts, the thrust of the exhibition was the seductive, sumptuous, artistic value - one might even say the human glory and folly - of reliquaries, over and above their spiritual value.

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman (6 Oct 2011-19 Feb 2012) Grayson Perry’s offering extended this mingling of old and new by combining recent work from the Turner Prize winner, along with a broad range of objects from the BM’s collections which inspired


Issue 1

his work. The overall installation explored the concepts of materiality and performativity, including the role of texture and craftsmanship inherent in shrines and pilgrimage souvenirs, drawing out a wider cultural conversation.

Hajj (26 January-15 April 2012) The final exhibition of the trio continued this conversation in switching focus from Christianity to Islam, exploring the dynamics of the fundamental pilgrimage to the holy sanctuary of the Ka’ba in Mecca. Hajj traced the four key routes to Mecca (Arabian, African, Ottoman and Indian) and their historical development. Contemporary context was added in the details of the Hajj under the management of King Abdulaziz of Saudia Arabia. Hajj also investigated the roles of Mecca and Medina as pilgrimage destinations, the rituals of the Hajj once Mecca has been reached, the return home, and finally souvenirs and contemporary art interpretations.

©Wikimedia Commons


ŠThe Trustees of the British Museum

Ivory sundial and Qibla Love Archaeology 1582-3. 58 pointer, Turkey,

©The Trustees of the British Museum Reliquary pendant of the Thorn - large kidney-shaped amethyst consis•ng of a central leaf and two covers

During my visits all three exhibitions were packed with visitors (Perry’s Tomb seemed particularly popular), undertaking their own circuits of engaged ©The Trustees of the British Museum

On the surface, these are three very different exhibitions, but looking deeper they share a lot in common. The obvious connecting strand is the religious disposition of humanity, particularly through its manifestation as pilgrimage. Undertaking my own lunchtime pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell, the complexity of the cultural discussion expressed through these exhibits was brought suddenly into focus. Passing the South Place Ethical Society on Theobalds Road, I was struck by the Society’s thought for the day, ‘Is Man one of God’s blunders or is God one of Man’s?’ (Nietzsche). Treasures of Heaven and Hajj, through their material culture, may suggest the former, but Perry’s Tomb occupies the ambivalent centre. His work explores the folly of God (or gods), but it also drawns upon the huge material creativity religions have inspired and demanded through time.

enterprises. Each of the latter explore how, even in a monotheist context, human responses are always multivalent, expressed through the individualin-throng undertaking of pilgrimage, backed up by the equally performative materiality of the shrines themselves. They also highlight that even in communal experience, the self-centred is to be found, the materiality of souvenirs and amulets taken home expressions of a desire to attract or deflect supernatural presence in individual lives. Throughout all three, however, there was a deeper way in which people were presenced in the exhibitions through the objects displayed, specifically by the diverse range of amulets, speaking to a concern with personal or ‘informal’ devotion. The objects in Hajj and Treasures embodied performance and the intra-actions of the living, something true of Perry’s work too, in its emphasis on perfomativity and our responses to it.

The didactism of Treasures of Heaven and Hajj leaves little room to explore the negative, delusional aspects of religion. Perry, however, is clearly not an advocate of religion, and reflects a contemporary Western secularisation of beliefs and their rituals. We see a move away from single authorities but continued expression of introspection and a supernatural sensitivity. Perry does introduce humour and satire through some of his pieces, pointing up an awareness of such issues. He addresses the audience as pilgrims, and affirms that our individual reactions, like his own (which are frequently self-obsessed), are just as real as those of the formal religions’ material expressions. The contrast between self and society is perhaps the key difference between the three exhibitions. Perry is self-centred whilst Treasures of Heaven and Hajj are about huge, communal (but not identikit)


Issue 1

Devo•onal behaviour at Treasures of Heaven reminded us that artefacts like this bust of a now-unknown female saint (probably a companion of St. Ursula) was once the object, and subject, of similar prac•ces.

The legacy of these exhibitions does not end as they close, but rather develops. In her ground-breaking analysis of materiality and quantum physics, Meeting the Universe Halfway (2007), Karen Barad defines existence as a series of entanglements, the opposite

©Al Jazeera English

pilgrimage. A level of religious performance was particularly noticeable in Treasures of Heaven, where many devout Christians could be seen engaged in gestures of devotion. This ritual behaviour reminded me of how such performance is at the root of religious myth. Finding cross-fertilisation between the three exhibitions to some degree depends on the openmindedness of visitors, but there are also other factors involved. They share, of course, the British Museum and its collections, but not just in a general way. The 15th-century woodcut ‘The Relics of the Holy Roman Empire’ kept in the Church of the Holy Ghost, Nuremberg, for example, could be seen in both Treasures of Heaven and Perry’s Tomb. Treasures and Hajj also shared a dynamic of being displayed in the same, disguised, space (the British Museum Reading Room) and deployed a similar approach. Throughout both exhibitions, for example, particular panels dealt with key individuals. Treasures of Heaven highlighted individual saints, including lesser-known ones such as the saint-queen Ludmilla of Bohemia, while in the case of Hajj the focus was on significant historical figures like Christian Snouck Hurgranje, one of the first western scholars to be allowed on pilgrimage to Mecca (but strangely not Mohammad or Abraham).

Al Haram Mosque , Mecca, at the start of the 2008 Hajj

of the (illusory?) independent, self-centred existence: ‘Existence is not an individual affair, individuals do not pre-exist their interactions’ but rather ‘emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating’ (p. ix). This is an entirely apt description of the meaning of the three exhibitions at the British Museum, which entangled the audience, becoming part of their ongoing engagements with material culture, while they in turn as incorporated into the complex biographies of objects themselves and that of the British Museum Further reading: Barad, K 2007, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press (Durham).

© Ahmed Mater and the Trustees of the British Museum, 2011

Ahmed Mater (b. 1979). Magne•sm. Photogravure etching. Love Archaeology


Open Access and Archaeology Dr. Jeff Sanders and Emma O’Riordan (ScARF project), and Doug Rocks-Macqueen (PhD candidate at Edinburgh University).


n a recent issue of Archaeology

being built to take advantage of

publications freely available online



Open Access publications: www.

(see sidebar). They – and many

Institute has a

others – feel that it is the duty of


custom Google search engine that

a body such as theirs to allow the








‘Open a

the came

Access’. been


allows anyone to search through

greatest number of people to take


tens of thousands of Open Access

advantage of their research, rather


articles relating to archaeology. A

then trap people into membership









search engine based on the JURN

of their organisation by withholding

working group, and resulted in




it. More than this, however, they




through millions of Open Access

have seen that a wider readership


humanities articles, has also been


protest of this measure. But what

created and is available at http://

work, leading to a greater number

is Open Access and what does the Furthermore, Open


rejection of the AIA mean for the

Journal Systems software is a low

Certainly, download figures for the

future of archaeology?

cost website template that allows

Proceedings (one of the society’s

anyone to start their own Open

publications) show that they are

Access journal.

accessed over 100,000 times per

publications open to view by anyone

Sounds good so far, right? Everyone

month – compare this with the

for free, with the inherent cost of

gets to see research, some of which

number of copies of the Proceedings

publishing quality research covered

they paid for either through taxes

printed, which is around 3,000, and

by other means such as endowment,

or through fees to universities. So

the evidence that greater access

grant and even the author’s private

what is the catch? Why did the AIA

leads to greater readership is clear.

funds. Regardless of who pays the

take a stance against something

As well as making past works

bill, the idea behind Open Access is

that sounds so good?

available freely available, the Society

to make publications open for all to

Two words: money and fear. The

also has the aim of making current

see and benefit from, leading to an

AIA says it is about money in their

archaeological research accessible

open and inclusive archaeology.

statement against Open Access.

through the Scottish Archaeological

Open Access has been growing



Research Framework (ScARF). The

very quickly in Archaeology over

reviewed research can be expensive,

aim of this project is to review



‘Open to

















their traffic.


and it is not always possible to rely

the current state of knowledge of

on donations or the tax payer to pick

Scotland’s past and to consider

has a list of over 270 periodical

up the bill. This brings up the issue

important future areas of research.

publications that distribute original

of fear. Publishers and Societies fear

From summer 2012, ScARF will

research relating to archaeology.

that if they give away their journals


Most are peer reviewed and they

for free then no one will then pay to

designed to be continually updated

cover a wide spectrum of topics.

be a member. Why be a member of

by all those involved in Scottish

The list also includes periodicals in

a society if you can get the benefits,


languages other than English; in

like the journal, for free? The stance

working in avocational, commercial,

fact, it includes more than a dozen

of the AIA against Open Access is

museum, third sector, academic and

different languages. Open Access is

logical: they are scared of losing

governmental environments.

not just limited to journals either;

their members and be forced to

Perhaps this signals a move towards

books are now also being made

close down.

Open Content as well as Open

available online and free to access.

Not every academic body has been

Access in the future of Scottish



negative however, The Society of

archaeology, but in the meantime,

published digitally on the web and

Antiquaries of Scotland has been

these debates surrounding Open

is free to read online, download or

very strongly in favour of Open

Access and the future of archaeology

even to reproduce.



And people are noticing, with tools

majority of its back-catalogue of

61  Issue 2





















continue to grow in intensity

Case Study of a Pro-Open Access Organisation


he Society of Antiquaries of

– available in digital form through

there is a rolling access wall on the

Scotland has been publishing

the Archaeology Data Service. This

most recent Proceedings, although

since 1792. To begin with, this

would be completely free of charge

discussions to determine the most

consisted of sporadic transactions

and available to everyone, not just

appropriate timescale are underway.


Fellows of the Society.




the last of which appeared in 1890)

As well as the above, the Society

followed in 1851 by annual publication

This involved the scanning of every

also publishes (but generally does

of the Proceedings. The Society

single page (more than 30,000 in

not fund) the Scottish Archaeological


total), the conversion of the resultant

Internet Reports (SAIR). SAIR is fully



peer reviewed, freely available and




monograph in 1982.





online only and is primarily intended

In 2002, the Society began an

PDF format, and then the indexing

for papers that particularly benefit

ambitious project to make the entire

and checking of each article. The


contents of its publications – all of

scanning project was funded by

includes very lengthy projects, those

Archaeologia Scotica, the Proceedings



with many illustrations (especially











Project and the Russell Trust, and

colour illustrations) or tables, and

adding up to some 30,000 pages

the Society continues to update this

those which include detailed specialist

spanning over 200 years of enquiry

content each year. At the moment,


Map of the Internet

© Barrett Lyon,

by The Opte Project


Love Archaeology

The Cabinet of Curiosities Curiosity

killed the

c at ©Elaine Edwards

& brought over for display. I hadn’t actually thought they’d brought the cat with the mill! It was only later at a conference I discovered it might have been intentionally built into the structure as a charm

©Elaine Edwards

Love Archaeology asks museum curators from around the country to give us their pick of the most interesting objcts in their collections. In this issue, Elaine Edwards, Senior Curator at the National Museum of Rural Life, introduces a well preserved cat. Britain’s most unattractive cat?! Well, quite possibly; however, it has been very useful. I found ‘Cat’ last year on a dimly lit shelf in one of the stores at the National Museums Scotland (NMS). He/she lay on top of what would looked like floor boards to the untrained eye, but Cat’s presence and that of tiny remnants of grain lodged in the boards meant they he could be identified as a part of the Breck of Rendall Mill, Orkney. This water-driven threshing mill was purchased by the NMS in 1987. It is (reputedly) the world’s oldest surviving threshing mill, dating from c.1803. It is significant because it contains a rotating threshing drum complete with pegs which knocked the grain from the straw, invented by Scotland’s own Andrew Meikle in the late 18th century. I had heard stories of a cat that had been found within the Breck Mill when it was dismantled in Orkney 63   Issue 1

The mill is on permanent display at the National Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride; Cat is in permanent storage.

Scientific Sandbox

Dan Weiss gives us a comic take on life in the trenches.


Love Archaeology


Getting to Know Indiana Jones Part 2

Indy suddenly realized he had lost his trowel in the last Nazi tank-fight

Concluding a two-part essay on our beloved Indiana Jones, Dr Adrián Maldonado again tries to academically justify his habit of watching lots of movies when he should really be working. What has been the point of marking the 30th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Besides making me feel really, really old, it also meant I got to revisit all the Indiana Jones films (yes, even that last one) to ‘research’ this essay. When taken together, they were an emotional roller coaster, from the exhilaration of the Grail Temple sequence of The Last Crusade (1989) to the sweet sadness of knowing I couldn’t

65  Issue 2

watch Raiders for the first time again. (This was somewhat assuaged by the thrill I still got when those Nazi faces melted at the end.) Then again, one can’t have such high peaks without some precipitous valleys: Temple of Doom (1984) was a surprisingly bad time, while Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) made me want to punch George Lucas in the jeans. In order to understand why these movies still affect us so, we

must go beyond characterising Indy as an academic, as we did in the first part of this essay. We now need to delve deep down into Indy’s psyche – and explore ours as well. In last issue’s assessment of his academic career, Indy came off as a rather dour man, strangely unmoved by the incredible supernatural forces unleashed

“The fact that Marion is apparently the daughter of his former supervisor Prof. Abner Ravenwood, as we learn in Raiders of The Lost Ark, is pretty messed up, too.”

provided the role model Indiana would unconsciously emulate for the rest of his career, down to his seemingly irrational attachment to that iconic hat. Indy’s initial hatred of this enemy was now mixed with a grudging respect, creating an inner turmoil so consuming that he essentially a further two decades’, as we assumed the form of the treasure later find out in Crystal Skull. This hunter later on. This explains speaks of the erratic attention Belloq’s keen assessment of span characteristic of a bipolar Indy’s character in Raiders: disorder, or at the very least a “Archaeology is our religion, yet pathological fear of commitment. we have both fallen from the The fact that Marion is apparent- pure faith...I am but a shadowy ly the daughter of his former su- reflection of you. It would take However, Indy’s bond with loved pervisor Prof. Abner Ravenwood, only a nudge to make you like ones was as conflicted as his as we learn in Raiders, is pretty me.” The truth of this must have cavalier attitude toward precious messed up, too. hit home, since Indiana does not artefacts, as attested in Raiders. The root of this behaviour may be deny the connection, instead His relationship to Marion swung sought in the loss of his mother at hiding behind a trademark retort: wildly from ‘haven’t spoken in a an early age and his subsequent “Now you’re getting nasty.” decade’ to ‘I would explode God troubled relationship with his for you’ to ‘I will leave you at the father, Prof. Henry Jones. Indy’s Indy’s emulation of the treasure altar and won’t speak to you for latent daddy issues are hunter from his childhood is but revealed and explored one manifestation of his daddy to humorous effect in issues. Henry Sr., emotionally Crusade, but there is distant after the death of his wife, much more to this than had retreated into an obsession a classic double-act with with the Holy Grail. In issues Sean Connery. Through only hinted at in the films and the flashback which explored more fully in the shortopens the film, we learn lived television series The Young that the adolescent Indy’s Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992formative archaeological 93), the teenage Henry Jr. ran experience was his failed away from home, briefly fought attempt to recover a gold alongside Pancho Villa in the cross from a treasure hunter named Garth, Mexican Revolution, and spent who looked suspiciously three years abroad as a soldier in like the grown-up Indy World War One. His relationship and indeed gave him his with his father deteriorated trademark Fedora, along such that they barely spoke until with a word of advice: nothing less than the looming “You lost today, kid. prospect of a second World War Archaeology: you never But that doesn’t mean brought them back together in know what you’ll find you have to like it.” 1938 to obtain the Holy Grail This shady character before the Nazis.


by the artefacts he recovers. But this is only half the story, as he was always a bit of a romantic. In a famous Raiders scene, Indy threatens to explode the Ark of the Covenant with a rocket launcher unless his nemesis René Belloq releases his future wife Marion Ravenwood. “Indiana, we are simply passing through history,” Belloq soliloquises. “This,” he cries, pointing to the Ark, “...this is history.” His love for Marion pitted against his love of archaeology, Indy gives in to both, and is in the end rewarded for it. Love is, as always, the answer.


Love Archaeology


For the last time, no, we can’t pull over for another Berliner donut

The disdain Indy felt for his biological father is best demonstrated by the rejection of his very name, Henry Jones, Jr. “Don’t call me Junior!” he repeatedly pleads throughout Crusade. We find out later in the film that his chosen name, Indiana, was in fact that of his childhood dog. Even though Indy eventually makes up with his father at the end of Crusade, his destiny was to wander the world restless and lonely: while Henry Sr. experienced long-awaited “illumination” upon finding the Holy Grail, Indy merely went back to war as a spy for the United States, as we learn in Crystal Skull. This clearly attests to a fear of attachment with his father, perhaps arising from the pervasive heartbreak he experienced as a child, and surely to the horrors he witnessed during the Great War.

despite the intense Nazi-melting experience they shared in Raiders, he apparently walks out on Marion a week before they were due to be married in 1939. In doing so, he unwittingly passed his daddy issues on to his son Mutt Williams, played by Shia LeBouf in Crystal Skull and certainly one of the most punchable characters in the Indiana Jones cycle. Mutt, known to his mother as Henry Jones III, also goes through life fatherless, and by eerie cosmic coincidence also rejects his given name for a dog’s. His father complex is revealed in the way he latches onto Indy suspiciously quickly in 1957, following him to Peru even before learning they were related.

Marcus Brody. Through various clues during the movie, the audience is meant to believe that in order to find the Grail, Indiana must stop being so obsessed by ‘facts’ and give himself up to the divine ‘truth’. However, it is only by the skilful deployment of facts such as the Greek spelling of Jesus’ name and the recognition of the kind of vessel a first-century Nazarene carpenter would have used, that Indy finally succeeds. Thus, what he actually needed to overcome was his own lack of faith in his biological father, not his spiritual one. The answers to the temple’s riddles were in his father’s teachings all along, but what you might call his research bias had prevented him from heeding them.

“Archaeologists are all offended by that last movie, where Indy is only driven by some form of alien mind control. God, that movie sucked.”

The lesson here is surely that becoming a self-aware archaeologist is the key to the advancement of the field. Indeed, the first three films may be read as Indy’s long road to academic It is worth pointing out how the maturity, an exploration of the psychodrama of fatherhood limits of a materialist view of relates to Indy’s success in his the past, and that a reflexive, archaeological adventures, play- interdisciplinary methodology is best. This is perhaps why we as Seen in this light, Indy’s ed out to its greatest effect in the archaeologists are so offended relationship with his mentor’s climactic Grail Temple sequence by that last movie, where Indy is daughter Marion becomes a of Crusaders. “The search for the seemingly only driven by some rather gross manifestation of Grail is the search for the divine in form of alien mind control. God, a father complex. But again, all of us,” suggests his colleague that movie sucked.

67  Issue 2

It seems that getting to know Indiana Jones reveals some uncomfortable truths about our hero and spiritual leader. But his flaws are worth reflecting on, as they are what drives him and what, in the end, makes him such a compelling character. While the ‘flawed hero’ archetype has become cliché over the last decade of superhero films – so much so that even Batman and James Bond have been rendered completely unlovable assholes in their latest filmic outings – Indy’s incurable brokenness was rare among the perfectly-sculpted Schwarzeneggerrifferous heroes of the Reagan era. But there is also another trait that elevates Indy over other action heroes: his incomparable, almost superhuman knowledge of human cultures, past and present. Academics have tried to situate the role of the Indiana Jones character in popular culture, often emphasising the way he is repeatedly shown to be favoured by God and other supernatural beings. He has been

likened to an Arthurian knight (Aronstein 1995) and even an American Messiah (Vera and Gordon 2003). But Indy arguably has all the characteristics of a superhero rather than a divine agent: he has a superpower (arcane knowledge), a mild and unassuming alter ego (Professor Henry Jones, Jr.), a costume (the Fedora and leather jacket), a Kryptonite-like weakness (snakes), an origin myth (as explored in Crusade) and a willingness to fight evil forces for the sake of all mankind.

“Surely part of the thrill for any archaeologist is the way arcane knowledge always wins out over other skills.”

Peru. His grasp of languages both living and dead encompasses Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Quechua and Mayan (although he comes undone when he tries on a Scottish accent in Crusade). Even on the rare occasion when he does not know how to read an ancient text, he knows who to ask, and crucially recognises the value of community engagement: in Raiders, he gets the jump on Nazi archaeologists by having the inscription on the Staff of Ra headpiece translated by a local Cairo imam. If the most successful superheroes are ones whose powers we wish we could have, then surely part of the thrill for any archaeologist watching the Indiana Jones films is the way arcane knowledge always wins out over other skills.

The only thing that stops him from being a canonical superhero Throughout the films, Indy’s is that his skills are not necessarily powers are put to the test at every superhuman, but learned over turn, revealing familiarity with a lifetime. This is what makes ancient Hebrew texts, Shivaist Indiana Jones such a relatable Hindu lore, Arthurian Grail kind of hero: not simply that he is legends and the religious practices flawed like the rest of us, but that of the pre-Columbian Nazca of he is something we can emulate,



Two proto-Indys: Garth the treasure hunter (left), and Raiders concept art (right)


Love Archaeology

in our own small ways, as students of lost or hidden cultures. What fuels him is not radioactive mutation or supernatural forces, but the knowledge that comes from studying the achievements of humankind. He isn’t superhuman, but he is, perhaps, ultra-human.

“Why then do we archaeologists continue to poke fun at Indy?”

If the layman sees the archaeologist as an Indiana Jones-type treasure hunter, it is because this has long been the most visible role of archaeology as presented in the media, from films down to the reporting of finds in the news. In the figure of Indiana Jones, we find an allegory for our own internal conflicts as a humanistic discipline. Like Indy, we need to look inward and recognise our own motivations before we can advance as a field. Yet we also need to inspire in others our own understanding of

69  Issue 2

Further Reading Aronstein, S 1995. “‘Not Exactly a Knight’: Arthurian Narrative and Recuperative Politics in the Indiana Jones Trilogy,” Cinema Journal 34 (4), 3-30. Hall, M 2004. “Romancing the Stones: Archaeology in Popular Cinema,” European Journal of Archaeology 7 (2), 159-176. Vera, H and Gordon, A 2003. “The Beautiful American: Sincere Fictions of the White Messiah in Hollywood Movies” in A W Doane and E Bonilla-Silva (eds.), White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism, Routledge, 113-125.

The plan to lose Mutt in the Peruvian market frustratingly didn’t work


Why then do we archaeologists continue to poke fun at Indy? As Mark Hall (2004) has cogently argued, it is easy to criticise depictions of archaeologists in popular films, but the public’s misunderstanding of archaeology is really our own fault for not communicating it better with them. A clear example of this comes from Crusade. After an exhaustingly long sequence fighting Nazis in a tank, Sean Connery becomes the voice of the audience’s conscience when he yells out the title of this article: “You call this archaeology?”

the transcendent potential of the careful study of the past, not just through the attainment of shiny artefacts but by the recording, measurement and reflection we undertake every day. We worry that the public will see our boring soil samples and stratigraphic matrices and cry, “you call this archaeology?” But to get beyond the myth of the treasure hunter, this is, indeed, what we need to call it. Prof. Henry Jones, Jr. certainly has more lessons to teach us archaeologists

Fashion Ramblings Summer Field Gear

Love Archaeology’s Amanda Charland has been toiling to put together a list of the things that to keep you dry, hydrated and comfortable in the field. In the spirit of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, here are some suggestions for an excellent summer of archaeology.

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Love Archaeology


Doesn’t matter if I’m kicking it by a beach in the Med, or getting lost in the mist up a mountain in Scotland (true story) – my CamelBak® comes with me. My current model is a CamelBak® Helena 100oz Women’s Day Hike Hydration Pack. It’s black, slimming and sexy. Well…maybe not slimming but it’s definitely ‘archaeology’ sexy. Favourite feature: fuzzy trimmed straps…pure luxury. They even come in fancy military versions for boys. If you don’t want to buy a pack you can buy the bladder on its own and put it in your own rucksack. It’s also a good idea to carry a couple of back up Nalgene® water bottles.


I have about three go-to genres of shoes depending on the situation: beach adjacent; bog-infested mountainous hellhole (BIMH); and general commercial work. For beach related endeavours, I’m pretty happy just wearing my chucks (read Converse All Star) or other cheap alternative canvas shoe.


If you’re not doing any digging and just walking around it’s best to be comfortable. For BIMH regions (of which there are several in Scotland and Ireland), I recommend something with really good ankle support and waterproofing. This of course brings us to the great ‘leather vs. synthetic’ boot debate: go with leather. Synthetics look cool and have fancy colours, but ultimately they don’t last nearly as long as leather. I’m completely in love with my Scarpa Terra GTX WMN at the moment: Did I buy them because they were the most expensive boots in the store and because I wasn’t paying for them? Maybe. Mostly I bought them because I usually can’t stand anything around my ankle and the leather around the ankle was crazy comfy, plus this boot is Gore-Tex lined. Gotta be Gore-Tex baby.


Lastly we come to general commercial work. I’m all about wool-lined steel-toe wellies. Just make sure you don’t buy cheap ass no-name ones off the net – they tend to crack along the edge of the toe cap thus rendering the whole ‘wellie’ aspect moot. My Dunlop boots are still going strong. For the boys in the crowd, military boots are a good all-rounder for any occasion. Most of the guys I know get their boots from the States and pay import duties to have them brought to the U.K. (Belleville and Altama’s are popular choices). A good UK option are Magnum, readily available from Amazon. Whatever you buy, if it’s for commercial work, check with your supervisor and make sure it’s compatible with the risk assessment.

Bug spray

Think of it as the best fashion accessory you could have in the field. There’s really only one tried and trusted midge repellent: Avon’s Skin So Soft, Soft and Fresh—previously known as Woodland Fresh. You can buy it here: It smells lovely, leaves your skin feeling awesome and no midge bites. Word of caution: don’t put it on your forehead if you’re currently mid-way up a gruelling hike, the product will most likely drip into your eyes along with your sweat. Skin So Soft, although awesome in many ways, stings the bejesus out of your eyes and, if left untreated for ten hours, will make your eye-lids puff up like pastries. Luckily, this can be rectified by a seriously long shower and a good-night’s sleep (again, true story). If you’re in the US, Unscented Backwoods Cutter® Insect Repellent also comes highly recommended.

Don't Forget: Bandanas

great for mopping up those brows.

Boot deodoriser

not just for yourself but for those travelling in the same vehicle as you.

Compeed® Invisible Blister Cushions

and moleskin and work gloves too, blisters are not sexy.

Body Glide Anti-chafe

Not just for runners, and a must if working in humid climes!

71   Issue 1


Love Archaeology


Love Archaeology


Doesn’t matter if I’m kicking it by a beach in the Med, or getting lost in the mist up a mountain in Scotland (true story) – my CamelBak® comes with me. My current model is a CamelBak® Helena 100oz Women’s Day Hike Hydration Pack. It’s black, slimming and sexy. Well…maybe not slimming but it’s definitely ‘archaeology’ sexy. Favourite feature: fuzzy trimmed straps…pure luxury. They even come in fancy military versions for boys. If you don’t want to buy a pack you can buy the bladder on its own and put it in your own rucksack. It’s also a good idea to carry a couple of back up Nalgene® water bottles.


I have about three go-to genres of shoes depending on the situation: beach adjacent; bog-infested mountainous hellhole (BIMH); and general commercial work. For beach related endeavours, I’m pretty happy just wearing my chucks (read Converse All Star) or other cheap alternative canvas shoe.


If you’re not doing any digging and just walking around it’s best to be comfortable. For BIMH regions (of which there are several in Scotland and Ireland), I recommend something with really good ankle support and waterproofing. This of course brings us to the great ‘leather vs. synthetic’ boot debate: go with leather. Synthetics look cool and have fancy colours, but ultimately they don’t last nearly as long as leather. I’m completely in love with my Scarpa Terra GTX WMN at the moment: Did I buy them because they were the most expensive boots in the store and because I wasn’t paying for them? Maybe. Mostly I bought them because I usually can’t stand anything around my ankle and the leather around the ankle was crazy comfy, plus this boot is Gore-Tex lined. Gotta be Gore-Tex baby.


Lastly we come to general commercial work. I’m all about wool-lined steel-toe wellies. Just make sure you don’t buy cheap ass no-name ones off the net – they tend to crack along the edge of the toe cap thus rendering the whole ‘wellie’ aspect moot. My Dunlop boots are still going strong. For the boys in the crowd, military boots are a good all-rounder for any occasion. Most of the guys I know get their boots from the States and pay import duties to have them brought to the U.K. (Belleville and Altama’s are popular choices). A good UK option are Magnum, readily available from Amazon. Whatever you buy, if it’s for commercial work, check with your supervisor and make sure it’s compatible with the risk assessment.

Bug spray

Think of it as the best fashion accessory you could have in the field. There’s really only one tried and trusted midge repellent: Avon’s Skin So Soft, Soft and Fresh—previously known as Woodland Fresh. You can buy it here: It smells lovely, leaves your skin feeling awesome and no midge bites. Word of caution: don’t put it on your forehead if you’re currently mid-way up a gruelling hike, the product will most likely drip into your eyes along with your sweat. Skin So Soft, although awesome in many ways, stings the bejesus out of your eyes and, if left untreated for ten hours, will make your eye-lids puff up like pastries. Luckily, this can be rectified by a seriously long shower and a good-night’s sleep (again, true story). If you’re in the US, Unscented Backwoods Cutter® Insect Repellent also comes highly recommended.

Don't Forget: Bandanas

great for mopping up those brows.

Boot deodoriser

not just for yourself but for those travelling in the same vehicle as you.

Compeed® Invisible Blister Cushions

and moleskin and work gloves too, blisters are not sexy.

Body Glide Anti-chafe

Not just for runners, and a must if working in humid climes!

71   Issue 1


Love Archaeology


Love Archaeology

Careers in Ruins

John Schofield

is an influential and often controversial force in the world of British archaeology, best known for his archaeology of the 20th century. From Second World War defences to the peace camp at Greenham Common, the graffiti of the Sex Pistols, and the archaeological investigation of a Ford Transit Van, John’s projects are very much the archaeology of now. Here he tells us about his encounters with Binford, Neanderthal teeth, and the archaeology of techno. 73  Issue 2

Please introduce yourself. John Schofield, the one who studies flint scatters and the archaeology of the contemporary past (there is another JS who works on the medieval period!). I am now Director of Studies in Cultural Heritage Management in the Archaeology Department at the University of York. From October I take over as Head of Department.

Take us through your archaeological career so far.

I was working as an undergraduate at Pontnewydd Cave in north Wales, and there was great excitement Following a first degree and PhD in archaeology as we’d found a Neanderthal tooth, at the time the at the University of Southampton (1981-8) I fell first evidence for a Neanderthal presence in Britain. immediately into a long and fulfilling career with It was so exciting that Blue Peter were coming to English Heritage, in its Monuments Protection film this. I was on finds-hut duty that day, and was Programme and then the Characterisation Team. given the simple task of laying out some of the key The first job was largely field-based, visiting finds on their boxes, so the presenter could handle scheduled monuments (or monuments we felt the objects under the close eye of site director should be scheduled), talking to landowners and Stephen Green. What could possibly go wrong?! I preparing the paperwork. It was a great job…and did exactly as I was asked, with great diligence. But then I moved indoors! But that proved an even at some stage during this process I turned around to better job because I was able to start pushing at the see a robin, head cocked, standing in the doorway of boundaries of what I could do as an archaeologist. the finds-hut, chirping away. I returned to my finds. The 2007 Transit Van project is an example of where A commotion followed in which the robin, quick as this has ended up! Then, in 2010, after 21 years with you like, flew up, took the Neanderthal tooth in its EH, I moved to a university. To say I am having the beak and flew for the door. I flapped and shouted, time of my life would be an understatement! the robin panicked and – thankfully – dropped the tooth in the grass outside the hut. For half an hour I combed the grass, eventually finding the tooth, What got you into archaeology? and replacing it on its pedestal. Stephen Green, the It was a person really, not any particular thing. I Finds Officer and Blue Peter and its viewers had no struggled a bit with ‘O’ levels (a long story) so had idea of the drama, and I kept it secret for nearly to take a cautious approach to ‘A’ levels to begin thirty years. That was a cool (re)find, definitely. with. I did Geography and History but quickly found that I had rather too much time on my If you could time travel, where would you hands. I was therefore encouraged to take a third, go and when? and – as I definitely didn’t want to do any of the more conventional subjects – I picked archaeology I think I’d hate time travel, but if I could I’d probably by default. It was taught by an inspirational be a bit selfish and explore my own family’s past. young teacher who had only just graduated from Someone on my mother’s side came to England from Southampton (which is why I went there). Belarus via Papua New Guinea! Why!? My father’s family spent generations in the rural area around Who is your archaeological hero? the historic centre of Burnley, all now enveloped within the town’s suburban and industrial growth. See above! But actually also Lewis Binford. His I guess I’d go back to one of those places, but I’d ethnoarchaeological adventures may have come definitely return; I’m not one of those people who in for criticism, but from my early undergraduate thinks the past was in any sense ‘better’ than the days I was completely captivated by the idea of present. I like the present and am excited about the using modern material culture. After Binford died future. I am more of a forward looking person. In last year, Clive Gamble described in the Guardian fact maybe that is the answer. If I could time travel how a ‘worldwide legacy of archaeologists remains I’d go forward in time, not back. who, like it or not, do archaeology the Binford way’. Maybe I am one of those. What is your must have field/on site gear?

What is the coolest thing you’ve found? Ah, well therein lies a tale, recently told for the first time in my Great Excavations (Oxbow 2011).

Doing archaeology of the contemporary past involves a lot of observation of everyday things and occurrences, so I suppose a camera is essential (point and shoot) and a notebook and pencil. I have Love Archaeology


also recently bought a clever little gadget which is a rubber, pencil sharpener and highlighter all in one – ingenious. Who needs technology anyway?

What did you want to be when you grew up (besides an archaeologist, of course)? Manager of a football club, preferably Leeds United (well it was that time – Sprake, Reaney, Madeley, Bremner … etc).

Fancy learning more about John’s work on the archaeology of the contemporary past? Check out his books, After Modernity: Archaeological Approaches to the Contemporary Past (with R. Harrison) and the edited collection Materiél Culture: the Archaeology of Twentieth Century Conflict (with W.G. Johnson and C.M. Beck).

What was the most interesting or challenging project of your career?

What are you working on right now? I am fascinated with Berlin, and how alternative cultures can persist even within a fast-changing city, in this case resisting loud calls for gentrification. So I am looking at a Cold War listening station called The Teufelsberg (where my father worked in the early 1970s, but also now a techno venue and possible training camp for G8 protesters), and also Berlin Techno, and its persistence from the late 1980s until today.


Probably all of the work I have done on the contemporary past. I love doing things that challenge the way we think about our subject, and encourage debate. My recent Sex Pistols graffiti story certainly did that amongst Daily Mail readers! But as Johnny Rotten himself would have said, ‘If you don’t like it, you can shove it up your ****!’.

Self-portrait of Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, 1975 You can also watch a video about the Transit Van Project, read about the Sex Pistols graffiti in Antiquity (with Paul Graves-Brown), and browse Constructing Place: When Artists and Archaeologists Meet for free online. See John’s academic page for a full list of publications.

What have you got planned next?

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No idea. I am not so strategic when it comes to particular research projects. Projects tend to find me, rather than the other way around. But I am driven in much of my work by the 2005 Faro Convention, which recognises heritage as a human right, and something everyone in society should be able to engage with. I believe that very strongly, and it is a principle that underlies much of what I do

Rotten’s rendering of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren on the walls of his flat, 1975.

Advice from the Ancients: Saxon Remedies Part of the fun of archaeology is getting into the hearts and minds of past peoples. While this is often approached by a circuitous route through bone middens and lithic scatters, here at Love Archaeology Magazine, we want to offer our dear readers ways to really experience the past. Advice from the Ancients brings you step-by-step instructions on how to live just like they did back in the day.

Who needs pills when you’ve got dogs

These days, we think we’re so advanced, what with our modern medicine, colourful pills and clinical trials. But as any Anglo-Saxon medicus would tell you, most everyday ailments can be cured using nothing more than these handy remedies, made with stuff you may already have around the house, such as dogs, urine, and dog urine. With help from a few esoteric spells and rituals, you can transform any old poo into a sure-fire cure for what ails you!

Used up all your dogs? Not to worry, says AngloSaxon doctor Bald in his Leechbook, for there is always another way. “Take the lower part of crosswort [madder], put on a red headband, let the head be bound with it.” Now, that’s a real face-plant! Caution: if you’ve tried this one and it hasn’t worked, it’s obviously because you haven’t used Marcellus’ secret technique: always pick the madder during a waning moon. Facepalm!



Have you spent a fortune on various creams, pads or even surgeries for these irritating growths? Should have just consulted your Marcellus. “The ashes of dog dung applied cures all kinds of warts,” he prescribes. Simple! “Also the urine of a dog with his fresh dung spread on is of very good benefit.” Dog poo and dog pee for warts: take that to the bank!

These days, many of us suffer from chronic crazy, whether it’s you or someone around you. But you know who had the instant cure for crazy? You guessed it: the Anglo-Saxons! Again, from Bald’s Leechbook: “In case one is moonsick, take porpoise skin, make into a whip, beat the man with it, he will soon be well.” Amen to that! But surely, this remedy is too harsh for the gentler sex? It turns out there Headaches is no cure for crazy in women; according to the Fresh out of ibuprofen? Worry not, if you have a Leechbook, all a dude can do is try to ride it out. spare dog kicking around! “For headache, hound’s “Against a woman’s mad behaviour: eat a radish head, burn to ashes and shave the head, lay on.” before breakfast and that day the madness cannot Dog head for a headache: it’s a wonder we didn’t bother you.” High five yourself, bro! think of that earlier! Source: Cameron, ML 1993, Anglo-Saxon Medicine (Cambridge University Press). Love Archaeology    76

The Backfill W

hen you tell people you are an archaeologist, more often than not they will respond with ‘what, like Time Team?’ Well, kind of, although I don’t always want to admit I have actually appeared on Time Team! Why not? Because I was featured discussing the subtleties of human excrement found in an Anglo-Scandinavian cess pit, that’s why.

So how do you know it’s poo? By Hannah Smith have possible wicker lining. Admit it, you’d give up your right arm (trowel included) to work in that pit. Once excavation really got underway the pit began to get a lot more exciting. The preservation levels were so high, there were lots of organic materials still surviving in the soil: green leaves, moss, nuts and seeds – and that was just the start of it. Among the finds were clumps of human hair and one (yes, only one) leather shoe. Now remember, as this was

Often people will ask me where the best place I’ve ever excavated is, or the most exciting thing I’ve ever “At the risk of being branded as found. At the risk of being branded as ‘the poo girl’, ‘the poo girl’, the most fun I’ve the most fun I’ve ever had digging has been when I was neck deep in that cess pit and the most exciting ever had digging has been when I find was the human hair found at the bottom of it. was neck deep in that cess pit” Unfortunately, this means that all future birthday and Christmas presents from friends and family will essentially a Viking toilet, one wonders how those got there. There was also a fair amount of what can be poo-themed – not as funny as you might think. only be described as green gloop. Several theories I spent two seasons excavating as an undergrad at the as to what this was are still batted about: broken Hungate site in the centre of York, where we found down bone cartilage, some kind of algae from the a rich complex of Roman and Anglo-Scandinavian organic ‘toilet paper’, rotten remnants of an Angloarchaeology. ‘Pitzilla’, as it was known, was a large Scandinavian fondue party, who knows. medieval pit in the centre of our excavation area and it was packed full of finds. This included vast You might think that enjoying cess pit digging makes amounts of antler ranging from complete un-worked a person strange. But you get used to the smell and antlers, to pieces through the various stages of you can wash your clothes. The preservations levels working and even some rather nice looking combs. make it worthwhile. Plus digging cess does have It uncovered several interesting features, one of one advantage: you are guaranteed a seat on the which was a large rounded pit which appeared to bus home ©A.Maldonado2012

Human Faeces - A very rare find at Jorvik Viking Centre

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