We meet on Wednesdays, 11.35 - 2.25 in LA A204.

In general, our meetings will look like this:

Before class

  • read and annotate the introductory reading(s) for the week’s theme
  • use the weekly theme to search JSTOR, our shared library, etc to find, read, and annotate two additional pieces
  • add just one of those additional pieces to our shared Zotero library

nb: you can follow our group feed to find a reading; that is to say, it’s ok if multiple people read the same additional pieces

During class

Part One:

  • The first twenty minutes will be for free writing about what you’ve read (and observed in the annotations, if appropriate). This writing doesn’t have to be overly formal, but it should engage with what you’ve read: what puzzles you? what intrigues you? what has been left out, elided, or otherwise glossed over? Are there any logical fallacies and if so, are they consciously or unconsciously deployed? Who is hurt by the argument? Who profits from it? What are the key issues? How do these connect to things you read or listened to the previous week? And so on.
  • Weeks in which there is a Shannon Lecture: your free writing should also include reflection on what you heard, and what you discussed, with the visiting lecturer.

Part Two:

  • You will then make suggestions, given what you wrote, to the class as a whole about what things you’d like to discuss as a group. These will be written on the board; the class will then get to make two votes, as represented by tally marks, under the topics that strike each person as most interesting.
  • We will then break into two groups to discuss the highest-voted issues. Each group must elect a recorder. Ideally these groups will be evenly split (we are following the ‘unconference’ model here). The person who proposed the idea will kick off the discussion.
    • the recorder will compile a written record of the discussion, which will be sent to Dr. Graham by the next day, for posting on the course website.
    • every student will have to be recorder at least once
    • the point of these records is to provide public-facing engagement with an interested public who might be following along
    • these records, as well as your own free writing, will be central to the development of your own research project in term 2. They will help you create the literature review, the grounding, for your project work.
    • We will then ‘shuffle the deck’ to bring the discussions to the entire group (a person from group 1 pairs off with a person from group 2).

Part Three:

  • Digital Methods Practice - the next element of the class will be to learn and practice various digital methods that will equip you to participate in the Bone Trade project, and indeed in your own research.
  • We’ll conclude with Graham setting up the next week’s topic with background.

Assessment of the in-class work

You will make the case to me what grade your engagement and participation ought to receive in the first term. You will do this by reference to your free-writing and the records published on our course website. Frame this as a discussion of how you have grown as a scholar; tie it into the particular issues raised, and especially, in contrast to what you thought about the issues when you first signed up for the course. Two pages should be sufficient. Cite any relevant literature or posts as appropriate.

If I agree with you (if you’ve made your case), you will receive that grade. If not, you will have a chance to respond to my concerns.


There is no one set textbook for this course. I find the following books to be quite intriguing and even entertaining, and we will be using many of the papers contained therein. You may find all of these in the library reserves for our course.

Card, Jeb J. and Anderson, David S, eds. Lost City, Found Pyramid Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices. Chicago: University of Alabama Press, 2016.

Green, Penny, S. R. M. Mackenzie, eds. Criminology and Archaeology: Studies in Looted Antiquities. Oxford ; Portland, Or: Hart Publishing, 2009.

Greene, Kevin. Archaeology: An Introduction. 4th ed. London ; New York: Routledge, 2002.

Lazrus, Paula Kay, and Alex W Barker, eds. All the King’s Horses: Essays on the Impact of Looting and the Illicit Antiquities Trade on Our Knowledge of the Past. Washington, D.C.: SAA Press, Society for American Archaeology, 2012.

Marlowe, Elizabeth M. Shaky Ground: Context, Connoisseurship and the History of Roman Art, 2015.

Moshenska, G., ed. Key Concepts in Public Archaeology. London: UCL Press, 2017

Murray, Tim, and Christopher Evans, eds. Histories of Archaeology: A Reader in the History of Archaeology. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Zimmerman, Larry J., Karen D. Vitelli, Julie Hollowell-Zimmer, eds. Ethical Issues in Archaeology. Walnut Creek, CA ; Oxford: Altamira Press, 2003.

You are not required to buy any of these volumes Again, I have put these and a variety of other resources from our library on reserve. Some of these volumes are my own personal copies and I ask you to treat them with respect and don’t break the spine.

Schedule and Themes, Fall Term

Readings are denoted with bullet points; just because I’ve put something down as a reading doesn’t necessarily mean that I am endorsing it… always ask yourself: why is this here? Search our Zotero library and ask, whose voices are missing? Whose voice can you bring to the table? Citation is a gift…

You might also want to explore these topics as they span across 20000 articles from archaeological journals.

This list subject to change depending on how the class evolves.

September 5, 2018 Getting Started

Introductions, discussion of the course syllabus. If this class is ‘Bad Archaeology’, what constitutes ‘Good Archaeology’?

  • Greene, Chapter Two; Chapter Six

Digital methods practice:, digital notetaking, zotero, advantages/disadvantages of an open notebook

September 12, 2018 History of archaeology

How we got to now

  • Greene, Chapter One; Chapter Three
  • TrowelBlazers (Compare with Greene, Bacon)
  • Bacon, Edward, ed. The Great Archaeologists: The Modern World’s Discovery of Ancient Civilisations as Originally Reported in the Pages of The Illustrated London News from 1842 to the Present Day. London: Secker and Warburg, 1976. (Select One)
  • Excavating Women: Towards an Engendered History of Archaeology (1998) / Margarita Diaz-Andreu, Marie Louise Stig Sorensen, in Murray & Evans

Digital methods practice: the Open Digital Archaeology Textbook; a gentle introduction to python, R, and jupyter notebooks

September 19, 2018 Museums and collectors

Digital methods practice: finding data online; APIs.

September 26, 2018 Every person their own collector; the Bone Trade

Digital methods practice: building an image classifier

October 3, 2018 CANCELLED

Dr. Graham is at Oxford giving a paper.

October 10, 2018 Trafficking Culture

Digital methods practice: webscraping, SPARQL and LOD

SHANNON LECTURE Oct 12 1-2.30, DT2017

October 17, 2018 Public archaeology & pop culture

Digital methods practice: R, Replicating Ben Marwick’s A Distant Read of the Day of Archaeology. We might give this a try; videogrep; Twine

SHANNON LECTURE Oct 19 1-2.30, DT2017

October 24, 2018 READING WEEK NO CLASS

October 31, 2018 Archaeology and power and who gets to speak

Digital methods practice: topic models; word vectors; projection mapping. Or maybe we’ll do some ghost hunting. Who knows how the day might play out…

November 7, 2018 Archaeology in the service of the state

Digital methods practice: Imageplot.

SHANNON LECTURE Nov 9 1-2.30, DT2017

November 14, 2018 Virtual ‘repatriation’ vs actual repatriation

Digital methods practice: 3d photogrammetry

November 21, 2018 Guest lecture: Dr. Ethan Watrall, MSU

  • To be determined

Digital methods practice: depends on how the class has evolved

SHANNON LECTURE Nov 23 1-2.30, DT2017

November 28, 2018 Economics and the business of archaeology

Digital methods practice: depends on how the class has evolved

SHANNON LECTURE Nov 30 1-2.30, DT2017

December 5, 2018 What is ‘Bad Archaeology’?

  • Card and Anderson, ‘Alternatives and Pseudosciences’ in Card & Anderson
  • Card, ‘Steampunk Inquiry: A Comparative Vivisection of Discovery Pseudosciences’

Schedule, Second Term

More details will be posted in due course

Jan 9th Workshop 1: Planning your research project

Jan 23rd Workshop 2: Digital tune up

Feb 6 Workshop 3: The public face of your research

Mar 6 Work in progress demos

Mar 20 Work in progress demos

Mar 27 Project reveals

Apr 3 Project reveals

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