Archaeology will tell you how cities work

This week, I’m moving away from eBay to look more into how objects move around cities and what that tells you about how those cities work and how people negotiate them. My work in this area bring together two different ideas of public archaeology; using archaeology to understand the lives of people in the present day and working with people to understand contemporary material. These two overlap and are best done together! I mentioned a bit of this project late last year in another post. I explained it well enough that time so I’ve reproduced bits of the text below (sorry).

Reading Sarah May’s great blog Heritage for Transformation I really enjoyed a story about a piece of gravestone found in a neighbour’s garden and how it came to be there after the bombing of a nearby graveyard. This story appealed to me greatly because I have always believed that urban regeneration – by which I simply mean urban areas changing over time – happens as much in the small scale as in the larger scales of planned re-development that we more commonly associate with the term. So, the building of a new shopping centre is urban regeneration, but so is you choosing where in the city to live or by what route you walk home from work. The building of a mass transit system is connected to that ‘top down’ urban regeneration, but so is a piece of grave from a bombed graveyard being reused as paving.

The role of things in this is subtle. New things can be made or built and things can be moved around to become part of new ‘statements’ on daily life. Things also move on their own or in unintended ways like the fragment of gravestone. I give you two examples:


Back in 2008, David Cemlyn in Bristol chained himself to a lamppost to protest against its removal and relocation to enhance a conservation area on the other side of town. Article here. A fascinating act in itself, but when I ‘followed the money’ to the conservation area that would be receiving this piece of active street furniture, I found out that it was not removed to order at all, but that a local amenity group (I interviewed their lamppost afficionado Maggie Shapland) had saved money to buy it from Bristol City Council to replace one that had been damaged.

So, just crossed wires? I think we have to take it more seriously. A lamppost WAS moved and that movement of material caused a protest (reported internationally). At the other end, a local amenity group raised money to physically change the place in which they live. In the middle is a council goods yard (location???) full of street furniture removed from its original contexts and waiting to become part of other ones.


As part of my PhD research, I did a photographic survey of Bristol’s Broadmead shopping centre shortly before it was repaved as part of the Cabot Circus development. In the centre, and dating to 1998, was a paved area with benches and flowerpots each bearing a large ‘B’ for Broadmead.

These were duly removed and replaced with new paving and a large sculpture called Tree Rings by Wolfgang Buttress. Imagine my surprise when I encountered them again, quite by accident while on a train through Bristol, reused in the Stapleton Road Community Garden.

Here a similar story of removal from one context and insertion into another, this time with a little more knowledge of the ‘chain’ from all involved. A late 20th century attempt to relaunch Broadmead and counter the threat of an out-of-town retail park now repurposed as a series of permaculture spirals (Disclosure: I also have two of the paving bricks as seen in the top photo which sit on my desk and occasionally travel to conferences with me).

Understanding how material like in these examples moves around has the potential to make a difference to people’s daily lives. Away from the large-scale regeneration tropes of decline, gentrification, cultural aspiration, population movement and so on, they present a more subtle urban regeneration that works at the level of the individual and allows people the autonomy to ‘do’ urban regeneration themselves.

So, here, public archaeology has a purpose in both uncovering these material networks and disseminating knowledge of them and their role in the contemporary city so that people can make use of them in their own lives. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about my day with the Bristol Wood Recycling Project.

General Election 2015: Heritage (2)

Again, in no particular order. Same five headings considered for each party.




Heritage Policies

In a manifesto section on the economy, there is mention of tourism and heritage and they state a desire to give these industries greater status in government and society. Tourism (and heritage?) will get higher status within DCMS.

They will maintain free access to museums and galleries while giving those institutions greater autonomy.

Some planning policies would have heritage impacts but these aren’t bought out clearly.


Quite a lot of the MPs list heritage as an interest or concern, so probably fairly approachable.

Annoying website.

Key Personnel

 Dan Rogerson, Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. From 2005 – 2010 he was successively Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for the Environment, Housing, Arts and Heritage, and Local Government portfolios.

John Leech – Culture, Media and Sport spokesman

Roger Williams – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman

Heritage Ethos

Heritage contributes to the economy through international tourism.

Under the Liberal Democrats, heritage will…

Be more recognised for its financial contribution to the economy, which will bring some benefits, but  maybe isn’t entirely the point?

James Dixon




Heritage Policies

Sinn Féin is committed to protecting and preserving the environment and is committed to promoting and supporting sustainable growth in rural and agricultural communities. There is also commitment to support the Gaelic language.

The Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising features strongly on their website. Sandra McLellan is Heritage spokesperson in the Dail (Irish Parliament). In 2014 she gave a speech supporting moves to better commemorate the 1916 Rising and to protect elements of its physical remains.


There is no Manifesto. There are no heritage policies.

Key Personnel

Carál Ní Chuilín MLA is a Sinn Fein member and serves in the NI Executive as Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure. Her particular interests appear to be integrating sports.

Sandra McLellan is SF Heritage spokesperson in the Dail (Irish Parliament).

Heritage Ethos

Sinn Fein have a definite sense of heritage that relates to 1916, to cultural identity through language and to cultural events like the Toome Fair.

Under Sinn Fein, heritage will…

Protect and promote Nationalist history, principally the 1916 legacy. As they unfortunately refuse to take seats at Westminster they will make no impact on UK policy.

Martin Brown



Heritage Policies

There is explicit heritage policy in the Tory Manifesto: a commitment to keep major national museums and galleries free!

However, there is a whole section on Natural Environment and nothing on the human past save the idea that Common Agricultural Policy money can be used to protect stone walls and hedges. There is, however, a commitment to protect national parks and, in a policy reversal, to ensure public woodlands and forests are held in trust.

In addition, heritage will be directly affected by:

Commitment to build more homes, including 200,000 starter homes for under 40s.

There will be a Brownfield Fund to unlock homes on brownfield land and well as requiring local authorities to have a register of available brownfield land.

There will be investment in infrastructure, including improvements to the road network, notably (from an archaeological perspective) the A303.

There is commitment to give local people more control over planning but the manifesto doesn’t expand on this beyond commitment to a “right to build” that requires local authorities to allocate land for people who wish to commission and build their own homes. Locally-led garden cities are also proposed, citing Ebbsfleet and Bicester as pioneers.

There is specific reference to further cutting of “red tape” without any definition of what this is.

Community Right to Bid will be improved and a Pub Loan Fund will be created to fund feasibility studies for bids to buy local pubs as community assets.

Commitment to repeal the Hunting Act – does this count as support for Cultural Practice and heritage?

There is a promise to keep Council Tax in check. This means more austerity and continued threat to curatorial services.


The Tory manifesto is at:

Key Personnel

Rt Hon Sajid Javid – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Hon Ed Vaizey – Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Portfolio holder for Heritage and Built Environment).

Heritage Ethos

There stated belief that the countryside is a living thing that is part of national identity but it fails to recognise it as an artefact.

Under the Tories…

There will be continued austerity and this will impact all local authority heritage services. Their policies on improving infrastructure would potentially mean more jobs in archaeology unless the aspiration to reduce Red Tape means a lessening of NPPF and other protection.

Martin Brown



Heritage Policies

The Greens would repeal the NPPF and its presumption in favour of development.

They will introduce increased flexibility in how older buildings (presumably including listed buildings) reduce their energy use.

They will increase arts funding and restore post 2010 cuts, giving proper funding to local authorities to keep museums and galleries open.

There is no developed specific heritage/archaeology policy, but I’m told by one of their PPCs that there are plans to begin formulating one post-election.


The party seems to have a good record of intervention in heritage campaigns.

Easy to search manifesto. Website seems easy enough to use.

Key Personnel

The Green Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson is Martin Dobson, PPC in Liverpool Riverside.

Jenny Jones (House of Lords and London Assembly) studied archaeology at UCL and worked as an archaeologist for 10 years before moving into politics.

2015 candidates Helen Geake and Win Scutt are archaeologists.

Heritage Ethos

Heritage as key player in sustainable development.

Under the Greens, heritage will…

Be valued as more than just part of the tourist economy! Er, details to follow.

James Dixon



Heritage Policies

The manifesto states a desire to further develop cultural tourism and closer links with Scotland and the islands.

Greater tourism potential of built heritage to be ‘taken advantage of’.

Strong on development of Irish language learning, scholarship and protection.


Short manifesto, easy to search. Website seems easy enough to use, it has a good News search section to look up party interventions on heritage issues.

Key Personnel

Karen McKevitt, spokesperson for Culture, Arts and Leisure (not a Westminster candidate).

Heritage Ethos

Heritage contributes to tourist economy.

Under the SDLP, heritage will…

Contribute more strongly to the tourist economy and national identity. The focus on building stronger links with Scotland and the islands is great.

James Dixon



Heritage Policies

No mention of heritage is made on their website and George Galloway wants to move Parliament to central Britain (Leeds-Bradford) and turn the Palace of Westminster into a museum:


The website includes contact details.

Key Personnel

George Galloway MP, the only Respect MP and only person apparent on their website.

Heritage Ethos

Respect is focussed on “peace, justice and equality”. Heritage does not seem to be on their radar, despite their strong policies on the Arab world and the threat to heritage from ISIS/IS.

Under Respect, heritage will…

Not be a priority!

Martin Brown

General Election 2015: Heritage (1)

In no particular order… Same five headings considered for each party. The other half coming tomorrow.




Heritage Policies

“The Alliance Party appreciates the importance of culture, arts, sport and leisure to a healthy and vibrant civil society. There are also considerable economic and social benefits to society as a whole.

Alliance is also particularly aware of the ability of culture, the arts and language to make a positive contribution to a shared future. Alliance supports the appreciation and expression of our rich and varied cultural identities. We believe that cultural participation and self-expression should be developed in the context of respect and understanding of our own and each other’s heritage.

Shared space need not be neutral space; it is not about pursuing some sense of sanitised territory that denies the ability of people to celebrate their culture. Alliance will create a vibrant culture in Northern Ireland by:

  • Providing adequate and long-term funding for the arts, including better use of lottery funding.
  • Promote Northern Ireland’s culture abroad to help develop our tourism industry.
  • Introduce a comprehensive language strategy which will support both languages in Northern Ireland, as well as other commonly used languages and sign language too.
  • Create a coherent museums policy to support Northern Ireland’s museums.
  • Investing in sports and sports infrastructure to promote a more active society and to use sport to build a shared future. This includes supporting a shared stadium for GAA, football and rugby.”


Buried in the website, difficult to search for, as searches not returned in recent date order:

Key Personnel

None given

Heritage Ethos

The heritage policies do seem straightforward, valuing heritage issues as part of social cohesion, language use, Northern Irish identity and benefits for tourism.

Under Alliance, heritage will…

Mean lots of people take the Game of Thrones tour and respect the complexities of our shared histories

And what’s that you’re saying about a decimation of arts and culture funding in NI? Nope, no idea what you mean…

Lorna Richardson

Labour Logo


Heritage Policies

There is little in Labour policy made available so far that specifically mentions heritage, but this depends on how you define it. If we consider heritage part of the Arts, then there is more to go on.

The focus for labour seems to be the Creative Economy. The Labour Arts Alliance state that they recognise the arts as enriching the lives of individuals and communities, as well as being important in economic policy. As such, Labour has announced that that they would put the Arts at the heart of government to improve access for young people to creative education. They assert that they will continue the work of the previous labour government in building world-class creative industries for Britain. Specifically for heritage, they pledge to widen free access to museums and galleries.

They say that local authorities have a key role in supporting arts and culture, to help address the imbalance in funding between London and the regions so that everyone can access culture regardless of income, background and location.

They also associate heritage with tourism and regeneration, calling for investment in tourism and heritage-led regeneration due to its economic impact in the regions. They say that DCMS spending must be strategic to support growth, innovation and investment.


The headline issues that labour present on their website do not mention heritage or culture.  A bit of searching brings up the articles on education and tourism described above and the Labour Arts Alliance website.

Key Personnel

Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Camberwell and Peckham is Shadow Culture Secretary in the current government.

Helen Goodman MP is Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport

Julie Ward, MEP is the Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education

Heritage Ethos

Heritage isn’t a priority for the Labour Party. It’s associated with tourism and regeneration in the regions, and loosely with education.

Under Labour, heritage will be…

A supporting actor in the Arts and regeneration.

Nadia Marks



Heritage Policies

The Democratic Unionist Party associates heritage with tourism, and aims to boost the Northern Irish economy by attracting more visitors and doubling tourism revenue within a decade. They wish to promote a Northern Ireland ‘brand’ abroad and develop genealogical tourism. They will invest in tourism facilities, infrastructure and advertising. They do, however, describe heritage as a niche tourism area.

They wish to publish an official history of Northern Island for the province’s centenary.

They want to reduce the number of arms-length bodies associated with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.


A section on culture is situated within their main policy areas, easily accessible from the front page of their website.

Key Personnel

Nelson McCausland MLA, is Chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee

Gregory Campbell MP MLA is DUP spokesman on International Development and Culture, Media and Sport

Gordon Dunne MLA is Vice Chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Commitee

Heritage Ethos

Heritage isn’t mentioned much by the DUP.

Under the Democratic Unionist Party, heritage will be…

Kind of associated with tourism?

Nadia Marks



Heritage Policies

Plaid Cymru’s vision is for the Welsh language, history and landscape to be celebrated in order to preserve Welsh national identity. Nonetheless, they also recognise that culture is an area in which they can forge closer ties with Scotland and Ireland in order to better promote their nations.

They associate culture, media, heritage and sport with enjoyment, celebration, motivation, personal and community development. They support sustained funding for the Arts as far as possible, despite the economic situation, recognising both economic and intrinsic values to cultural activity.

They believe that every child ought to have a free of charge visit to one of the Welsh National Museums or Libraries during their school years and they pledge to create apprenticeships in historical documentation and culture to nurture skills in these areas.

They wish to retain the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments as an arms-length body, and review the listing process in Wales. Their aim in this is to ensure that all heritage is protected and that there is greater focus on industrial and more recent heritage.


Culture and heritage are situated as one of a dozen key topics, easily accessible from the front page of their website. Arts, heritage and culture are discussed in the final section of their 2015 manifesto.

Key Personnel

Simon Thomas is Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and the Welsh language.

Bethan Jenkins is Assembly Member for Youth and Youth Unemployment, Arts, Heritage, Sport.

Heritage Ethos

Plaid Cymru’s heritage policies are focused on celebrating and maintaining Welsh national identity.

Under Plaid Cymru, heritage will be…


Nadia Marks



Heritage Policies

“From our Norman castles to Battersea Power Station, our heritage is an important part of our vibrant tourist industry, which supports three million jobs and contributes £127 billion annually to our economy.


‘Heritage’ was a dirty word in Labour’s ‘Cool Britannia.’ Tony Blair moved the Department of National Heritage into the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and marginalised tourism by lumping it in with the responsibilities of the Minister for Sports and Equalities. The Conservatives’ bulldozer instincts kicked in when the Chancellor removed the zero rate of VAT on listed building repairs. Maintenance bills for over 400,000 of our most beautiful buildings, owned by a surprisingly diverse socioeconomic group of people, were hiked by 20 per cent. Developers putting identikit houses on greenbelt land, meanwhile, paid no VAT. UKIP will end this discrimination against our historic legacy by: –

  • Creating a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism, attached to the Cabinet Office
  • Ensuring tax and planning policies support historic buildings and the countryside
  • Removing VAT completely from repairs to listed building
  • Introducing a ‘presumption in favour of conservation’ as opposed to the current ‘presumption in favour of development’ in planning legislation.


Too many seaside destinations face pressing economic, social and housing issues. Old former large hotels that once sat grandly on our seafront have become houses of multiple occupation, or low-cost hostels. The result, ‘bedsit land,’ deters families, young professionals and retired people from moving to the area and deters business investment. UKIP will fuel regeneration in coastal areas, transforming them into vibrant, growing communities by bestowing ‘Seaside Town Status’ to areas in need of regeneration. This will give Local Authorities the power to:

  • Access low-interest government loans to buy up and renovate poor housing stock and convert empty commercial properties into residential accommodation
  • Issue Compulsory Purchase Order powers for poor quality multi-occupancy accommodation
  • Allow local authorities to introduce minimum standards for properties in receipt of housing benefit
  • Restructure local housing markets so they are not excessively driven by profits from housing benefit income
  • Refuse housing benefit payments to landlords in breach of planning legislation.

We will boost the Coastal Communities Fund and expand its remit to:

  • End the ‘scattergun’ approach, which sees funding allocated according to income from a particular area, rather than supporting nationwide regeneration
  • Prioritise larger-scale heritage, residential, retail and tourist regeneration over smaller scale projects
  • Encourage regenerative arts projects into our coastal towns.

Our history is the envy of the world. UKIP will keep it that way.”


Very easy to find the manifesto on the website and the heritage section was on page 51. Easy to understand:

Key Personnel

William ‘Bill’ Cash, UKIP Heritage Spokesman:

Heritage Ethos

The heritage policies do seem straightforward, valuing heritage issues as part of a tourism business philosophy and emphasising its role as a force for social cohesion through British identity.

Under UKIP, heritage will…

Create a thriving tourism economy, possibly by turning all archaeological sites into fantasy Tudor theme parks. People with fancy Grade 1 listed houses can now afford to have their double glazing done. Pubs.

Lorna Richardson



Hard to find heritage on the SNP website, so please see this email exchange instead:

Dear Ms Heydecker,
I was given your contact details by the Westminster office. I am trying to find the SNP policies towards heritage and archaeology, and wondered if you would be able to help by pointing me in the right direction? I have tried the website but I can’t find anything current.
Hope you will be able to advise, and thanks in advance for your help.
Kind regards,
Dr Lorna-Jane Richardson
Dear Dr Richardson,
Thank you for contacting the SNP regarding our policies towards heritage and archaeology. As most of these two areas are devolved, they are the responsibility of the SNP Scottish Government.
The SNP Scottish Government recognise the importance of heritage and archaeology, and have designated 2017 to be the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
The SNP Scottish Government’s policy is to protect and preserve archaeological sites and monuments, and their settings, in situ wherever feasible. We believe that archaeological remains are a finite and non-renewable resource containing unique information about how Scotland’s historic and natural environments developed over time, contributing to our local, regional and national identities.
The SNP Scottish Government is committed to protecting and promoting Scotland’s heritage. We have established Historic Environment Scotland as the new lead body to take forward the government’s contribution to delivering Scotland’s first national strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time, to ensure our diverse historic environment is understood, valued, cared for, protected, enjoyed and enhanced – now and for future generations. Our Place in Time makes increasing participation in heritage a priority, especially among those who feel it is ‘not for me’ and there is a dedicated group established, with wide representation, to take this forward.
I hope this is helpful for you.
Kind Regards,
Rachel Heydecker
Policy Officer

Recycling and re-use

In the remainder of this month I want to turn to a particular kind of recycling. What I’m interested in is the ways in which relatively mundane material moves around, what examining that movement tells you about people and how people can use that research themselves. It’s a kind of public archaeology that tries to find ways for people to appropriate archaeological methods or perspectives to aid their own interventions, whether in shaping cities by deciding where to live, opposing planning proposals or even voting in local and national elections.

What I’m planning over the next fortnight is to start, on Monday, by introducing these ideas and their public archaeology potential in a bit more detail, before moving on to talk about my recent work with the staff and customers of the Bristol Wood Recycling Project. After that, I’ll conclude the whole month with some thoughts on material networks and public archaeology and how the two coming together can change the world (maybe).

In the meantime, I wonder whether anyone out there has come across any existing links between archaeology and recycling/re-use or has worked with community groups like the Bristol Wood Recycling Project. Comment below and let me know!

Here are a few pics until Monday…

photo 1


photo 2

photo 3

eBay and the PAS: the data

Hope you enjoyed the brief tour of artefact homes. Thank you to those of you who offered feedback and encouragement, it certainly seemed to interest people!

Tomorrow I’m going to be doing some fieldwork with the Bristol Wood Recycling Project, so there won’t be a post and I’ll be tweeting instead. Either on Sunday or Monday and into next week, I’ll complete the eBay half of my PA2015 month by addressing my failure to engage any actual eBay sellers in my research and making some suggestions as to how eBay still has some potential to be considered public archaeology, despite my lack of qualitative data. As I’ve said before, I hope the ‘failure’ bit can be more of a discussion, it’s not a subject we hear enough about.

Firstly though, as we have had our leisurely tour around Britain (and overseas…?) seeing where eBay-listed items reside, I want to briefly present some thoughts on the data itself. It’s not necessarily a prime concern of mine, I’m more into talking to people, but if eBay is ever to be used in a meaningful way, it will entail some level of data analysis, so I might as well present a bit.

Objects on eBay

Sample objects on eBay, November 2014

Sample objects on eBay, November 2014

As we see in this lovely pie chart, Roman coins make up nearly half of the available data. Spindle whorls have a good go in second place, followed by lampposts and musket balls. Jettons and clay pipes bring up the rear. Is this to be expected? It seems to make sense that there is a more established trade in valuable Roman coins, while spindle whorls can be attractive in their own way. Clay pipe fragments are probably the most common accidental find, but I suppose people just don’t think of selling them.

Objects on the PAS

Sample objects recorded by the PAS, as of end November 2014

Sample objects recorded by the PAS, as of end November 2014

Contrast that with the PAS data. This pie chart, looking uncannily like the old Happy Eater logo, shows Roman coins as by far the dominant artefact type with everything else paling in comparison. This makes complete sense and in fact highlights one of the ways in which eBay and the PAS are not quite equivalent datasets. Roman coins are far more likely to be recognised as being of interest and added to the PAS than, for instance, clay pipe fragments and I suspect the PAS could not survive if it was constantly recording the latter. However, the proportion of Roman coins to jettons is not too far off in both sets of figures, suggesting that although the PAS favours certain artefact types, there is correlation between those types in that and other public-driven contexts.

What does this mean for public archaeology?

Leaving aside for a moment the problems of the sale of potentially important artefacts, it would seem from this data that Roman coins are a key artefact to focus on if we want to contact sellers and understand the movement of objects in and around eBay. However, I tried another bit of analysis that tells a slightly different story. Please note that this analysis was the result of literally minutes work and may well not stand up to close scrutiny!

You will have seen from my Homes of eBay posts that I calculated the percentage of PAS material on sale on eBay in one month and also how long it would take eBay to sell an equivalent of the PAS database for each object type. These are two different versions of the same data. In analysis, I turned each of these into relative values by ascribing a maximum of 100 to the highest values and rating others accordingly. So, in terms of amount of material on eBay, clay pipes score 100 as the amount recorded has the highest percentage in relation to the PAS. In the other column, Roman coins score 100 because it would take longest for eBay to sell an equivalent amount of material. Subtract the second value from the first and you have a series of relative values that show the potential for different types of eBay object to help us understand the relationship between people and historic-archaeological objects.

Representative Network Potential

Representative Network Potential

This graph tells us a different story to the pie charts. Roman coins, by far the most frequently recorded item on the PAS and listed item on eBay, get a Public Representative Value* of -97. In short, there are a lot of this kind of object, but eBay won’t tell you much about the people-object networks of Roman coins because it only holds a tiny sample. On the other hand, clay pipes have the opposite value. There are a relatively small number, but it’s a higher percentage of the PAS and replicates the PAS every 18 months. So, these two quite different datasets become comparable, not in pure numbers or why people use them, but in terms of their potential to tell us about people and their objects.

If you want to know about members of the public who are part of the networks of Roman coin movement, don’t bother with eBay, consult the Portable Antiquities Scheme. If clay pipes or musket balls are your thing and you want to understand how people interact with them, forget the PAS and try to get eBay sellers to talk. I hope you have better luck than I did.

I promise it makes sense. Hopefully I can replicate the experiment at some point with a larger dataset and some people to talk to.

*Sorry, couldn’t resist developing complex terminology.

Homes of eBay 6: Spindle Whorl

Ok, last one of the picture posts. Thanks to all of you who have been following this series and sharing the posts on Twitter and elsewhere.

The purpose of these six sets of images has been to start some wider debate on the potential for eBay to be be public archaeology by jumping over the hurdle of illicit antiquities and metal-detecting finds at the outset. While these are very real, important concerns with this particular forum and I will address them in a future post, for PA2015 I am more specifically concerned with the material networks operating around the site and the people who engage with it. So, I wanted to start at a very personal level, giving an anonymous tour of sellers’ houses. It’s also the reason I chose not to collect data on how much items sold for or even whether they sold or not. There are plenty of other people looking at this side of eBay. As this month goes on, and we move away from the networks of the controversial eBay to the networks of the far less controversial recycling, I hope the benefits of taking this start position will become clear. Before we move on though, here is the final part of the Homes of eBay mini-project. Let’s meet the spindle whorl sellers.

Spindle Whorl

My data collection returned 127 listings for Spindle Whorl. At the end of November 2014, there were 4583 spindle whorls recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. So, eBay sells in one month material equivalent to 2.8% of the PAS and would take about 3 years to sell the same amount of material.

Ancient Lead Weight. Spindle Whorl

Ancient Lead Weight. Spindle Whorl

Ancient Roman Granite Stone Spindle whorl c.1st-2nd century AD

Ancient Roman Granite Stone Spindle whorl c.1st-2nd century AD

Ancient Roman Stone Spindle Whorl CIRCA 2ND CENTURY AD x 3

Ancient Roman Stone Spindle Whorl CIRCA 2ND CENTURY AD x 3





Authentic Ancient Artifact   Lead Spindle Whorl

Authentic Ancient Artifact Lead Spindle Whorl

Bronze Age  Hungarian  Terracotta Stone Spindle Whorl x 3 lots

Bronze Age Hungarian Terracotta Stone Spindle Whorl x 3 lots



Large decorated spindle whorl roman or saxom sic

Large decorated spindle whorl roman or saxom sic

Lead spindle whorl x 4

Lead spindle whorl x 4

LOT Roman PERIOD - LEAD SPINDLE WHORL 1-2nd Century AD x 2

LOT Roman PERIOD – LEAD SPINDLE WHORL 1-2nd Century AD x 2

Medieval Anglo Saxon DECORATED LEAD SPINDLE WHORL GROUP X 18 _ 3 lots

Medieval Anglo Saxon DECORATED LEAD SPINDLE WHORL GROUP X 18 _ 3 lots

medieval decorated spindle whorl plus two others metal detecting finds

medieval decorated spindle whorl plus two others metal detecting finds

Multi period 87 lots

Multi period 87 lots



RomanSaxon Decorated Spindle Whorl

RomanSaxon Decorated Spindle Whorl





All map data ©Google