Archaeology/Austerity walk meeting details

Hi All,

Few details for the upcoming walk… Meeting points as per below and on this pdf: Austerity walk meeting points.



There will be a group walking the whole length of the route (@James__Dixon for details) and another following the route on as much public transport as possible (@lornarichardson for details), but you are welcome to travel however you like between the meeting points, meet us along the way or just join in for one stop. Meeting points and times are as follows:

1000 – 1010     Canary Wharf Station – Introduction – Lorna Richardson and James Dixon

Start point_Canary Wharf

1125 – 1140    Whitechapel – Kate Tiernan and James Dixon

Nearest tube stops, Whitechapel and Aldgate East

Stop 1_Altab Ali Park

1200 – 1215     Moorgate – Sam Merrill

Nearest tube stop, Moorgate

 Stop 2_Moorgate

 1220 – 1230     Museum of London – Break

Nearest tube stops, Moorgate, Blackfriars and St Pauls


1240 – 1255     St Paul’s Occupy Camp – Marjolijn Kok and Saini Manninen

Nearest tube stop, St Pauls

Stop 3_St Pauls

 1305 – 1315     Bankside – Chris Constable

Nearest tube stops, Southwark, Borough, London Bridge, St Pauls

Stop 4_Bankside and lunch

1315 – 1400     LUNCH

 1405 – 1415     Liberty of the Mint – Chris Constable

Nearest tube stop, Borough

Stop 5_Liberty of the Mint

 1430 – 1500    Heygate Estate and Elephant and Castle – Emma Dwyer and Owen Hatherley

Nearest tube stop, Elephant and Castle

Stop 7_Heygate Estate

1551              SUNSET

1545 – 1600     Southbank skatepark – Oli Mould

Nearest tube stops, Waterloo and Embankment

Stop 8_Southbank Skaters

 1630 – 1645     Downing Street – Lorna Richardson

Nearest tube stops, Westminster and Charing Cross

Stop 9_Downing Street


Nearest tube stop, St James’s Park



Archaeology/Austerity walk: the rest of our motley crew.


We’re now in a position to announce the rest of our line up for the walk. In no particular order:

Sam Merrill – London Underground, Moorgate and Kings Cross

sam mer

Samuel Merrill is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in questions of urban memory, landscape, heritage and infrastructure, particularly within the context of a broadly conceived underground (spatial, political and cultural). In December 2014 he completed a PhD in cultural geography at University College London for which he was awarded first prize in the 2014 Peter Lang Young Scholars in Memory Studies Competition. He also has a postgraduate degree in Heritage Studies from The Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus, Germany and an undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Ancient History from The University of Birmingham, UK. He is currently undertaking a two-year postdoctoral research project at Umeå University’s Sociology Department that investigates how contemporary social movements mobilise the past through their transnational and digital cultural memories. To date he has published research articles, communications and reviews on themes including World Heritage and International Development, Graffiti, Street Art and Heritage, and the Social Memories and Cultural Landscapes of Subterranean Transport Infrastructures. His first book is planned for publication in late 2016 or early 2017.

Oli Mould – Southbank Skatepark

robin hood gardens

Oli is a human geographer at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research focuses on searching for communities flourishing in the face of political and economic pressures, social unrest and cultural division. His specific research interests cut across a number of traditional academic themes such as urban politics, creativity, cultural studies and social theory. He has published work on the creative practices of cities (both those that contribute to capitalist accumulation and those that try to resist it), the theory of networks, the representation of cities in film and labour in the creative economy. His first monograph ‘Urban Subversion and the Creative City’ was published by Routledge in April 2015. Currently, he is engaged in work on urban politics, creativity and social justice.

Lorna Richardson – Downing Street

Lorna R

Postdoc in digital sociology at Umeå University, Sweden. Recovering archaeologist. Part seal. Endo sister. Socialistiska. Views are mine or Jeremy Corbyn’s.

Chris Constable – Southwark

chris c

Chris is archaeology officer at Southwark Council. He sums up his work here: Nothing interesting this year.

Archaeology/Austerity Walk: Whitechapel

"These Coconuts are Rubbish! (15372800050)" by Garry Knight - These Coconuts are Rubbish!. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -!_(15372800050).jpg#/media/File:These_Coconuts_are_Rubbish!_(15372800050).jpg

“These Coconuts are Rubbish! (15372800050)” by Garry Knight – These Coconuts are Rubbish!. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –!_(15372800050).jpg#/media/File:These_Coconuts_are_Rubbish!_(15372800050).jpg

It’s all coming together…we can now announce that Kate Tiernan and James Dixon will be joining the walk, taking on the rather hot topic of Shoreditch. Will it involve cereal? Absolutely no idea. Come and find out.

kate tiernan

Kate Tiernan studied at Goldsmiths in Fine Art and Critical Theory and RADA for an MA in Text and Performance. An artist, writer, and actor working internationally in Norway, London, New York and Canada. With ten years expertise of working for some internationally renowned organisations such as Arnolfini, Tate, V&A, The British Museum, BFI, University West England and Goldsmiths. Through performance practice based research Kate is working to explore spatial relationships and philosophical conundrums through public/private encounters with various objects and built environments. Making visible through vulnerability these connections and how they intersect. Kate lecturers at Sotheby’s Institute and Tate whilst also writing for the arts publication Studio International and Zoo; recently writing a play titled ‘Freight’ previewing in 2016. A new work ‘Considering This’ a verbatim performance about cognitive empathy and catharsis was performed at RADA, The Arts Theatre Upstairs and Hornsey Town Hall. Kate developed a performance ‘Call & Response’ at DRIFT 2015 in Rio de Janiro being performed at Sluice Art Fair. Upcoming work includes a rehearsed reading with Camden Peoples Theatre for Fun Palace; a writing residency and new performance with The Charles Dickens Museum and Bloomsbury Festival and Co-Curating On Stage/Off Stage: Performance and Theatricality at Tate Modern.

Kate is from Wales, and lives and works in London.

JD Tyntesfield

James Dixon is an archaeologist with a pleasingly short biography. He is one of the co-organisers of Public Archaeology 2015. James divides his time between working as an archaeologist, pretending he’s a different kind of archaeologist, aspiring to be yet another kind of archaeologist, and editing the writing of other archaeologists.

Archaeology/Austerity walk: St Paul’s Occupy Camp


We’re pleased to be able to announce the second of our speaker pairings for the walk in December. Taking on the site of the Occupy camp at St Paul’s will be Marjolijn Kok and Saini Manninen. Here they are:


For over ten years marjolijn kok worked at the University of Amsterdam as a theoretical archaeologist. Not satisfied with the way academic work became more constrained, she started her own company Bureau Archeologie en Toekomst, to focus on contemporary archaeology and art. She did paticipatory research on Occupy Rotterdam. In the last 3 years she has mainly been working as an artist. kok works at the studio collective Havenstraat in Rotterdam. Together with line kramer they form the artist’s collective the KOKRA FAMILY, which focuses on projects that problematize the concept of family. She does not limit herself to a specific medium, but collages, digital drawings, collecting, photography and video are her main tools. In her own work kok is keen on the aporial turn of reclaiming historical traces and turning them into contemporary actions. Her work involves long term projects and events that focus on the connections between and the perceptions of people and their material context.

Manninen photo

Saini Manninen is a performance maker and a lecturer in theatre and performance. Her work encompasses solo performances and collaborations that deal with misunderstandings, home, intimacy and distance. Saini’s research focuses on the social, economic and aesthetic effects of theatre’s temporality, and the intersections of performance, material culture and archaeology.

Watch this space for more details of the walk as we get closer to the time…

Archaeology/Austerity walk: Aylesbury and Heygate Estates


Quick announcement before the long weekend. We are slowly getting our speakers for the December walking event confirmed and developing the route. Happily, we are now in a position to announce our first pairing and location! So, we introduce Emma Dwyer and Owen Hatherley who will be tackling the Alyesbury and Heygate Estates.


Emma Dwyer is Enterprise Fellow and Business Development Executive for Heritage at the University of Leicester, where she studied for her PhD in Archaeology, examining changing experiences of social housing built before the Second World war. Emma previously worked in commercial archaeology at MOLA and Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and is Secretary of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology.


Owen Hatherley was born in Southampton, England in 1981. He received a PhD in 2011 from Birkbeck College, London, for a thesis on Constructivism and Americanism. He writes regularly on architecture and cultural politics for Architects Journal, Architectural Review, Icon, the Guardian the London Review of Books and New Humanist, and is the author of several books: Militant Modernism (Zero, 2009), A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso, 2010), Uncommon – An Essay on Pulp (Zero, 2011), A New Kind of Bleak – Journeys through Urban Britain (Verso 2012), Across the Plaza (Strelka, 2012) and Landscapes of Communism (Penguin 2015). He also edited and introduced an updated edition of Ian Nairn’s Nairn’s Towns (Notting Hill Editions, 2013). He lives in Woolwich and Warsaw.

It’s way too early for anyone involved to commit to any particular content so watch this space for more details of this stop and the rest of the day.

Help an archaeology student with her research!


My name is Fleur Schinning and I am a Masters student at Leiden University in the Netherlands. I am currently writing my thesis, which focuses on the use of blogs and social media and how they contribute to the accessibility of archaeology. This is based on blogs from the USA, UK, Ireland and the Netherlands.
To be able to find out more about the motivations you, as a reader of this blog or other archaeology blogs, have – I have set up a small questionnaire. If you fill this in, you have the chance to win 6 issues of Archaeology Magazine and you will be helping archaeologists get to know more about blogging in archaeology. The questionnaire takes about five minutes of your time and can be found here:
Thank you very much for participating, it will help me a lot!

Kind regards,
Fleur Schinning

Event Announcement: Narratives & Counter-Narratives; A Line Through Contemporary London

dav cam

This December, James & Lorna from the PublicArchaeology2015 project have organised an end-of-year walking discussion on the ‘Archaeology of Austerity’. It will take place on Saturday 12 December from 10am.

Details of the event are still coming together and we are open to outside input, so please get in touch on Twitter (@PA2015info), or in the comments section below if you want to be involved in some way.

As you’ll see from the description, we hope to connect with wider digital audiences on the day, so any ideas of offers of assistance in that would be much appreciated.

See you there!

Narratives and counter-narratives; a line through contemporary London


In post-Coalition austerity Britain, there are major discrepancies between the way we are supposed to live, according to social, political and cultural rhetoric, and the way in which we live day-to-day. The former, driven by external forces such as media influence, international finance and a particular kind of centralised social aspiration first defined in the 1980s, centres on legibility, cultural consumption, public ostentation and a privileging of complex cultural semiotics over political concerns and public action. We inhabit this often contradictory society as best we can; it is an organic, precarious and very occasionally subversive experience.

This event, a collaborative walking discussion about the contemporary archaeological manifestations of these complex socio-political and cultural issues will seek to put a running section across the middle of London and attempt to take the pulse of London past, London present, and what it means to inhabit this world for archaeologists and archaeo-sympathisers.

riot act

The walk will take place across the landscape of central London, evoking elements of psychogeography, contemporary archaeology, deep time, and landscape history, in a unique event which proposes to not only provide a traditional platform for ‘the public talk’ as information and knowledge-sharing, but will also offer a physical re-experiencing of time and cultural understanding through movement, digital media and live commentary. The walk will begin in central London and will finish at Whitehall, at the end of Downing Street. In between, the route will take in a number of stops (Shoreditch, Bank of England, St Pauls Cathedral, Heygate Estate, Bankside Urban Garden, Southbank, Parliament Square) offering different perspectives on the lived experience of the city, both in the past and in the present, some officially sanctioned, others intentionally not.


At each stop, the participants will either hear from an expert on the area or investigate a site relevant to historic or contemporary heritage. Throughout the experience, participants will gain an understanding of the range of narratives and counter-narratives being enacted across London, often in close proximity, enabling them to fully engage in a summary discussion in a Westminster pub at the end of the route. The route and sites visited have been chosen to allow participants to choose whether to walk the entire route, or jump in and out of the experience throughout the programme. As it is proposed to undertake this event during the depths of winter, this will allow for the need for warmth and participant-comfort!


The event will officially end at 8pm with a reading of the Riot Act.

Public archaeology / Eco archaeology

The statement that started this project off, here, said that this year of public archaeology is not aimed at analysing any engagement that takes place, but at simply creating some kind of engagement with non-archaeologists on archaeological themes. That’s my excuse for not going into great depth with any recap of this month as it draws to a close! Instead, I want to just give a few final thoughts on the wider issues raised by the archaeology, leaving the engagement to stand for itself out in the ‘real world’.

eBay needs more attention

I started the month looking at eBay. What I learnt from a look at some stats gathered from the site over a month-long period, and a vague comparison with the PAS, is that although eBay remains problematic for reasons connected to the provenance of certain items, there is a lot to be learnt from the site if we can get past that barrier of non-engagement that both ‘sides’ are sustaining. Yes, eBay and its users don’t like to talk to us, but we also, in general, make it clear that we want to talk to them so we can tell them off. I think that if we change the way we approach eBay, maybe put more time into learning about it objectively – collecting statistical data is remarkably easy – we can come up with new questions about the site, its objects and its users that may be a bit more conducive to engagement.

Mundane things are really interesting

It turns out that when you look at things that should be fairly dull – and not traditionally archaeological – like wood, lampposts or modern bricks, we can follow that stuff around and learn loads of really interesting stuff. Even looking at eBay, a brief statistical analysis of finds on there shows that there is relatively little to be learnt from the higher value objects than from more common items like clay pipes, if the sheer amount is anything to go by.

Public archaeology can change the world

Talking to the BWRP, it’s clear that co-operatives like that one sit in the middle of really important networks connecting things, people and politics, the past and the future bouncing off each other in the present. Archaeology has an important perspective to bring to understanding how these networks of habitability operate and to working between the multiple scales at which they can be seen. This kind of public archaeology perhaps has the potential to uncover more links between people and things, even more effective modes of habitation and give that information to people to use in their daily lives below and around all of the ways we’re supposed to live that come down to use from above.

This is a kind of public archaeology that places archaeology on a level with anyone else taking part and one that can lead directly from archaeology to sustainable urban living via developing relationships with people. It is public archaeology as a kind of eco-archaeology, taking an active part in the daily life of cities as much as trying to understand how they work.

I’m hoping to carry this work on in some way. Watch this space.

Construction site networks

A bit of context for the work on material networks I’m exploring with public archaeology… Last year I spent a weekend looking at the North West Cambridge development as part of a project called Prospection run by Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope as part of its art programme. The project brought together a group of people from different background to investigate two site huts, those of Cambridge Archaeological Unit and, on the other side of the site, Skanska. Here are my notes from that weekend:


Skanska Site:

Asbestos sheeting removed from site by Windsor Waste Management, Childreth, Essex

General waste removed by Biffa

All earth moved stays on site. Trees being reused in playground, smaller stuff chipped, medium wood given free as firewood.

Roads using recycled Type 1 aggregate from disused railways – processed by Frimstone, Milton Keynes

Tarmac comes from local batching plants

Concrete pile on site will be processed on site, the metal contained in it processed off site

Bricks already removed by Mick George, timbers removed from the farm site, jointed oak beams used by apprentices

Geotech sampling managed by Scott Wilson Eng., processed by Brownfield Solutions Ltd.

Specialist piling workers on site from around the country

CAU site:

My work here was a little less detailed as it will really depend on the published results of the archaeological work on site, but that work will show that things were made on the site and taken elsewhere and that things from elsewhere were brought into the site. There will be real, material connections between this site and others that were obvious to its historic inhabitants and others that are only revealed by the archaeological treatment of their remains. This links the site to the Skanska side clearly, where there is an established green narrative – earth stays on site, reuse of materials, local sourcing – that is backed up in part, proven to be wrong by some examples, and ignorant of some items that nobody seems to know either the provenance or destination of.


The first thing that this brief investigation shows (rather obviously) is that there are a lot of things going out of and coming into the site, creating not just material connections with other places (and times?), but entering and leaving other analytic contexts too e.g. soil leaves the site to become an archaeological sample or a tree becomes a component of a playground.

Secondly, that investigation of these material networks can reveal ‘new information’ about the site. This is clear in the archaeological analysis of where material came into the site from in the past but also reveals meaningful connections between otherwise disparate contexts at the level of the individual in the present day. In some cases these connections are revealed only by the act of investigation and contradict or complicate existing site narratives.

Thirdly, these connections and material networks have the potential to exist meaningfully at multiple scales, but what is meaningful and important will be revealed over time. So, the micro-level movement of soil and plant cells around the country on people’s boots (the workforce disperses nationally on Friday afternoon) establishes a real, physical connection between places. It may prove to be unimportant. Biffa taking away general waste may happen entirely unquestioned, but the site’s connection to particular national and international waste disposal strategies may prove to be its longest lasting legacy.

Finally, although this is in a way contemporary archaeology, it should not be thought of as different to traditional archaeological methods and interests, merely an extension of them, seeing a different potential in overlooked or even the same material. It is, and will hopefully remain, an archaeology of the site through time, not an archaeology of archaeologists or of Skanska. Ongoing work on the site should remain critical and questioning, with an aim of developing a meaningful understanding of the site in context (whatever that is revealed to be) and not merely document for documentation’s sake. For CAU, an objective methodology records everything found, but choices are made on what to progress to scientific analysis, which connections to follow up, what story to tell. A total analysis of the site is impossible.


Why the Bristol Wood Recycling Project is so important

For much of the day I spent with the BWRP, I had an ongoing conversation with the man in charge, Kaleb. Starting off with me explaining quite what the archaeological interest is in an organisation like that one, we moved quickly on to the wider contexts of the place, some that it creates and some that constrain it.


The BWRP as an organisation is very aware of the important role it plays between wood and people. They help developers, construction firms and so on achieve certain levels of sustainability by having contract with them to take their waste wood. Then, they add to the value of that green waste disposal by putting as much of the wood as possible back into circulation, either through making items for sale of for allowing people to buy or take wood to re-purpose themselves. In the contemporary city, this makes it really important. When the over-arching narratives of any place are based around urban development, economics and tourism, organisations like Bristol Wood Recycling Project represent the counter-narrative, people getting by rather than doing what they are more commonly expected to do.

But there is also the precarious nature of the kind of organisation. The BWRP survives in its location on the good will of the city council a private landlord (Bristol City Council were the landlords before they sold the site about 7 years ago), who allow they to pay a very low rent. Inherent in these kinds of relationships though is the certainty of the future sale or development of the site. BWRP occupies premises on otherwise unused land, next to a prime development site and overlooked by Bristol Temple Meads train station so, sadly, it’s probably a matter of when rather than if the land is required for development. It is in these situations that we see a direct clash between the less well-known, sustainable ways of living and the more obvious, yet occasionally somewhat questionable big corporate developments.

The archaeology around these issues is complex. We can follow the material, but it takes us quickly to the politics and the politics of that material is often quite difficult. Bringing public archaeology and engagement into the investigation of something as seemingly simple as the movement of wood (or bricks or lampposts) around a city doesn’t just teach us more about how people live their lives than more distant kinds of archaeological investigation, it starts conversations that can bring people to different perspectives on their own (practical-) political situations.


Bristol Wood Recycling Project is an example of how Bristol works and it potentially being moved on in the future is an example of how it doesn’t. You’ll have to take my word for it that the clash between central efforts at development and these more sustainable counter-narratives is one of key characteristics of the last 100 years of development in Bristol. Whether it’s the ‘slum’ clearances in the 1920s and the movement of city centre dwellers into new suburbs, or the rejection of pleas to rebuild after the Blitz in favour of building Broadmead shopping centre, or the only half-finished attempt at implementing Modernist infrastructure in the 1960s and 70s, or the St Pauls Riot with its roots in the disruption by development of an established community, or the birth of the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft in 2007 the face of the £500 000 000 Cabot Circus, or the riots of 2011, you don’t have to do much digging to see what ties together all of these major points in Bristol’s history.

The archaeology of this phenomenon really has to be a joint venture between archaeologists and the people living it. This look at the Bristol Wood Recycling Project has been very brief, but I hope people can see in it the potential for development of a distinct kind of public archaeology taking the contemporary relationships between people and material as the catalyst of an archaeological engagement with politics and activism.

It’s the BWRP’s 11th birthday tomorrow. Congratulations!, many happy returns.

**This post was revised on 3 May 2015 to correct an error in naming the city council as the BWRP’s landlord. They are in fact the former landlord and sold the site some years ago.