The temple of Bellona at Kew, and also a test of the tumblogging system.
I’ve been busy recently which a couple of things that will be blogged here sooner or later.
In the meantime I took an afternoon off a couple of Sundays ago to take some photos with a new lens. It’s for something else I’d like to blog about on photography. There’s been some interesting stuff written, but I’m not comfortable with the idea that photography can present an objective record of a view. It’s not simply that photos can be manipulated, it’s not possible to present a default view.
I’ve also tweaked my Flickr settings again. I’d love to be able to release them as BY-SA. At the moment they’re BY-NC-SA, because there’s issues with commercial rights and property rights. It’s partly related to the English Heritage rights grab/assertion on photos of Stonehenge. It’d be easy to portray them as a greedy quango holding back research, but there are bigger issues at stake. Which will need another blog post.
In the meantime my most recent photos are on Flickr.
It’s easy to take a World Heritage Site for granted when it’s on your doorstep. I had thought of shooting a short portfolio of Cromford for a competition. They required ten photos. After looking into the project I’ve decided that the competition isn’t going to happen for me, but a short photo essay on Cromford, or possibly the Derwent Valley Mills, remains an interesting idea.
Industrial Archaeology can get short shrift from other archaeologists. Often there’s written records, plans and for some places oral accounts of work at a site. Is Archaeology necessary? Mark Henshaw, the Archaeology Dude, makes a good argument that Archaeology can draw multiple lines of evidence to inform histories of the past. I wouldn’t discount that, and I think his point, Archaeology isn’t just about digging, is very important from an American perspective because there Archaeology is seen as a branch of Anthropology. In the UK you’re more likely to see Archaeology paired with History or Classics. So do we really need Industrial Archaeologists when there so many Early Modern Historians.
I think another factor Archaeology brings is spatial thinking. Looking at the early days of the professionalisation of Archaeology in Britain, one of the features is an attempt to distinguish Archaeology from History by taking on ideas of Geography. People like OGS Crawford were keen to emphasise that Archaeology studied human activities in space as well as time. Again, in the UK, when Processualism was taking off in the USA, the British academics took inspiration from it, but also from the ‘New’ Geography.
Applying this practically, it’s easy to say what the positioning of the Factory Manager’s house, opposite the main gate of Arkwright’s Mill at Cromford, means by its location. There are other more subtle questions though. What did drawing a second water channel through the Derwent Valley mean for land use and accessibility? Why was Willersley Castle, a grand house that Arkwright built for himself, placed where it was? How did it relate to the church he built? If you want to know why a mill owner would want to build a church for his workers then, as Mark Henshaw says, you have to look at historical records too.
You can write a history purely from historical records and archives, but if you want to examine the human experience, especially of humans that weren’t writing much, then an Industrial Archaeology can yield a richer, more four-dimensional experience, than Anthropology or History alone.
Julia Dose has some great photos of a dig happening just outside Athens.
Thanks to @billcaraher for correcting me. I was just struck by the photos.
No, no, no! I’m being extremely noisy, just in a place where you can’t hear — yet. I’ve been asked to participate in a blog and we’re doing the initial set-up for it now. There’s a few people involved, so it’s not scheduled to be live till the end of August. I’d rather not go into detail until the project is signed-off. However, some of the innovations there will feed back to here in the autumn, unless something else derails me.
It doesn’t help that I have a new toy. It’s an R72 filter. It blocks the visible spectrum from entering the camera and that makes the viewfinder totally black. However, the CCD in the camera is also sensitive to infra-red radiation. The photo below is my first attempt at getting an image out of it.
I unexpectedly went to Croxden Abbey recently. Until just over a week ago I didn’t even know it existed, but it’s a nice place to go — if it’s sunny — for photos. I’ll blog a bit more about it in the future. Right now I thought to give credit to people on the web who helped me with my photography skills. They used to be awful but now, call me arrogant if you like, sometimes I think my photos are quite literally adequate. I think I messed up the perspective a bit here, but standing in the right place would have meant trampling someone’s flowers, so this is good enough for me.
The biggest help was Aydin Örstan who gave me a very simple piece of advice:
Creating Collective Identities through Astronomy, a thesis about time and space. Passed by Prof. Giulio Magli (Dipartimento di Matematica, Politecnico di Milano) and Prof. Graham Shipley (School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester). Coming soon to an open access research archive near you. If you live near Leicester.
Update: Lagomorph, the family of animals that includes pikas, hares and pesky wabbits.