A letter to friends who voted Leave

I originally started writing this to post on Facebook in response to updates from friends who are Leave voters, but then it got a bit too long…

Over the last few days I’ve seen Leave voters on Facebook posting in annoyance that Remain voters are not sitting in quiet acceptance of Friday’s result. Apparently it’s an outrage to democracy that those of us who voted differently have the nerve to be upset about the result and to express ourselves.

I find this bemusing (did y’all get a different Ladybird book of democracy to me?).

Referendums are always divisive. It’s not like a General Election where, after initial disappointment, it’s time to move on because there will always be another chance in five years. They are for keeps. It is perfectly reasonable to expect the losing side to be hurt and it should go without saying that the losing side deserve time to express their disappointment.


Portsmouth & Southsea train station, where I spent a sodden polling day campaigning for Stronger In / Remain in the EU Referendum.

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New planning legislation potentially threatens archaeology. Again.

Yesterday the Queen outlined the Coalition’s legislative agenda for the new (and final) session of this parliament. One of the bills announced was the Infrastructure Bill. In the run up to the speech it received attention for the new rules it will introduce on fracking (changing trespass laws to allow companies to drill under peoples homes and land without the landowners permission).

But this isn’t all the bill is about as Dr Rachel Pope pointed out on Twitter earlier: Continue reading

bits not bricks: an archaeological reconstruction

Featuring the first ever mention of my PhD on this site.

My PhD research is on the analysis of non-ferrous early medieval alloys from three cemeteries at RAF Lakenheath excavated by the lovely people at the Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service (SCCAS). Because of a confidentiality clause in my funding (not inserted by SCCAS or Cardiff University) I’m not allowed to blog or communicate it without first submitting the text for approval, hence why none of my research has ever appeared here.

I didn’t mind this clause too much as the Suffolk County Council (SCC) website used to have a series of very interesting webpages about the Eriswell excavations to which I could at least direct anyone who was interested for a bit of context. Sadly, however, these were removed without ceremony Continue reading

Stay+ : heartening news from Croydon

New Croydon Council leadership seeks to repair relationship with Museums Association and Arts Council

It’s been hard these last few years to feel positive about the future of heritage and museums, so I though some good news deserved highlighting.

Last year the Conservative controlled Croydon Council decided to try and sell 24 Chinese ceramics from the Riesco Collection at Christie’s. The council had hoped that the part sale of the collection, bequeathed in trust for the people of Croydon” in 1959, would raise over £13 million. In the end only 17 items sold, leaving the council with £6-7 million after auctioneer commission.

Riesco Gallery
The Riesco gallery in Croydon Museum after the sale. 
Image © Andrew Smith

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Beyond Archaeology

(It’s been a while since the last post here as life has got increasingly busy with completing my PhD [still ongoing], digging in Sudan and getting married)

Beyond archaeology one of the passions myself and Alice (also an archaeologist) share is music. We spent an inordinate amount of time considering what people would hear during our wedding and these playlists represent an audible archaeology of our lives; many of the songs inextricably linked to sites we’ve worked on and the colleagues who’ve turned into good friends over the years.

So, to celebrate personal and collective memories over the often empirical nature of our work, here’s some tunes:

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Feel Good Hit of the Summer

Last week Robert Chapple posted an excellent guest post by Stuart Rathbone on working conditions in archaeology (there’s an interesting Facebook discussion on it here). Predominantly focussed on the Republic of Ireland, it builds on personal experience and surveys of the profession (i.e. McDermott and La Piscopia 2008) to debate a wide range of issues (pretty much all of which will be recognisable  to UK archaeologists).

I found myself agreeing with much of what Stuart wrote, except for one point: drugs. Continue reading

2 Become 1

A short blog on archaeology, tourism and information panels inspired by a trip to a Neolithic Stone Row in Ireland.

The Getaway

The N71 towards Kenmare (the Caha Pass) offers the fastest escape from the kitsch of Glengarriff; it’s views of the stark Beara Peninsula a welcome tonic after overpriced  sweaters and Guinness branded tin whistles.

There’s also a a Siren call to holidaying archaeologists: a brown sign to a Neolithic Stone Row. Continue reading