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Binchester - - the project design

A talk about the design of regional archaeological projects. February 2010

exploring futures in heritage projects

Considering the Binchester Project in the light of the Faro Convention - see also my blog entry at

Uploaded Image

Gallo-Romeins Museum, Tongeren, Limburg

Document IconFARO-Tongeren-02-1010.pdf

Document IconFaro-Convention.pdf


Archaeology is an active reworking of the remains of the past. This is not a methodology but a pragmatics - a set of options to be employed opportunistically. (Compare the pragmatics of design thinking.)

We seek and focus on complementary synergetic components across fieldwork, interpretation, analysis, publication and manifestation, reenactment and replication. In the spirit and terms of the Faro Convention.

The Challenges


create a diverse, dynamic, process-based ecology of

tactic #1

bring together local and global

eg build an architecture of synthetic themes that cut across and unite different interest groups and disciplines

focus on matters of common and pressing human concern

here are some themes for Binchester -

eg use the local case study as a vehicle for general theory building

tactic #2

shift from history to historiography

emphasize cultural production - making the past in the present

tactic #3

use project and performance-based pedagogy for all

learning through doing

student and community initiated

“do it - don’t just tell it!”

cf Cocreating Cultural Heritage - a Stanford/Göteborg project, Wallenberg Foundation 2005

tactic #4

sociality and inclusivity are the basis for collaborative projects - give them primacy

tactic #5

use a model of apprenticeship to facilitate an inclusive ethos

tactic #6

encourage and enable active amateur involvement

particularly those typically marginalized by professions (eg metal detector enthusiasts)

tactic #7

use Web 2.0 and Archive 3.0

active IT enabled co-creation and collaboration

tactic #8

use social software in community building

complementing the emphasis on sociality/inclusivity

tactic #9

use storytelling - the active and localized mobilization of narrative

consider the potential of digitally-enabled (collaborative) storytelling

tactic #10

deep mapping - temporal topography

cross-disciplinary and dynamic integration of multiple source materials and engagements

tactic #11

theater/archaeology - the re-articulation of fragments of the past as real-time event

tactic #12

collaborate with the fine arts as a powerful integrating and expansive scope

tactic #13

learn from chorography - writing on the land in the pre-disciplinary antiquarian tradition

eg - the itinerary of Dere Street

tactic #14

use located media

eg GPS enabled tagging

first-person peripatetic video

itinerant learning

tactic #15

employ reception studies - how people have worked on the past

eg “Tales of the Frontier” - a project looking at views of Hadrian’s Wall from the 15th century

tactic #16

employ flat management structures - networks rather than hierarchies

building on different forms of interest and expertise

avoiding gatekeepers and alienation

tactic #17

research and present artifact life stories as direct and accessible narrative routes into the region

rooted in quotidian detail

the “thing” as a gathering

tactic #18

encourage replication and reenactment

including cyberspace eg Roma - a community in Second Life

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Binchester 2009

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