Institute of Archaeology


Other Conference Activities

In addition to conference sessions, a range of other activities are being organised.

Gordon Childe Lecture 2019

On Writing the Past Backwards

This year's Gordon Childe Lecture will be held in association with TAG 2019 and will take place just prior to the conference on Thursday 12 December. This year's speaker is Matthew Johnson, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, USA.

lecture details
Time: Thursday 12 December, 6.30-7.30pm. Location: Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1 followed by a reception in the A.G. Leventis Gallery, UCL Institute of Archaeology. Registration: Eventbrite registration will open shortly.
Lecture Abstract

I am writing a book on English landscapes in the context of the north Atlantic.  It spans the 2nd millennium CE, and works backwards, from New World colonial encounters, to interactions with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, back to medieval infrastructure and beyond. I discuss two challenges for this project. First, while there is much written on how time is socially embedded, there is little on the reversal of time.  Such a theoretical gap is strange, given that working backwards, peeling off the layers, is so central to what archaeologists do. Second, identities are never essential, and are always in a state of becoming.  So there is no essence to ‘Englishness’; the English re-made themselves over and over again.  Time and cultural identity come together in understanding the long term, and in reconciling enduring structures with the importance of human agency.  And they unavoidably speak to the populist nationalisms of recent and not-so-recent times.

Antiquity Plenary Session

What is the past good for in the world of 2020?

The Antiquity sponsored Plenary Session will take place on 16 December 2019.

Liv Nilsson Stutz
Senior Lecturer, Linnaeus University, Sweden
TAG2019 Plenary Panellist: Liv Nilsson Stutz, Senior Lecturer, Linnaeus University, Sweden
Arike Oke
Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives, UK
TAG2019 Plenary Panellist: Arike Oke, Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives, UK
Janet Miller
Chief Executive Officer, MoLA (Museum of London
Archaeology), UK
TAG2019 Plenary Panellist: Janet Miller, Chief Executive Officer, MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), UK
Alfredo González-Ruibal
Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spanish National Research Council (Incipit-CSIC), Spain
TAG2019 Plenary Panellist: Alfredo González-Ruibal, Institute of Heritage Sciences – Spanish National Research Council (Incipit-CSIC), Spain



ESRI Workshop: A beginner’s guide to web GIS for Archaeologists

Workshop details to follow.

ESRI Workshop: Coding within ArcGIS Online

Workshop details to follow.

Making archaeological comics

This workshop is aimed at anyone interested in making comics relating to archaeology. The session will start with a series of 5-minute presentations by the workshop leaders, outlining their process of making comics. This will be followed by a short panel discussion.

The practical element of the workshop will include a series of drawing games and a chance for participants to plan, thumbnail or draw a short comic. Participants are welcome to work on comics arising from their own research, or to use suggestions provided on the day.

  • No drawing experience necessary.
  • Maximum number of participants: 20
  • Drawing supplies will be supplied by the organisers
  • 2 hour workshop

Workshop Organisers:

Workshop Leaders:

  • Matt Hitchcock (University of Manchester)
  • Nick Overton (University of Manchester)
  • Hannah Sackett (Cartoonist and educator)
  • John Swogger (Archaeological Illustrator)
  • Katy Whitaker (University of Reading)
Objective fail: material stories of things going wrong

The workshop will commence with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Octagon Gallery, led by the curators which will be followed by a handling sessions with some of the objects, artworks, specimens and items that had been considered for the exhibition but failed to be selected.

These material encounters will enable participants to critically examine what failure means in different contexts and in particular to interrogate the frequently and unquestioningly used, simplistic perspectives of failure as either a disaster or a useful learning experience. Such perspectives rely on an unspoken assumption that we all know, and agree upon, what failure is, which directly responds to the theme of this year’s TAG meeting, as it highlights the inherent power dynamics behind what it means to succeed or to fail.

During the workshop participants will be invited to link their own stories of failure, whether personal, professional or imagined, with one of the objects they encounter. These stories will then form the jumping off point for a critical conversation on the role failure plays/played in the past, present and future. We will aim to capture the content of this conversation in a creative and participatory way so that it can be shared with others not attending the session.

Organiser details:

Coinciding with an exhibition at the UCL Octagon Gallery focusing on the topic of failure (on show October 2019 to February 2020) this workshop invites participants to engage hands-on with failure as a concept.

Maximum number of participants: 25

Walking tours

Between the Acts: a creative misguide round Bloomsbury
Come with us on field trip: on a mis-guided tour of Bloomsbury. Setting off from UCL we'll spend around an hour to an hour an a half exploring the environs. A participatory experience aimed at the co-creation of knowledge, there'll be stops along the way to explore space and place through various mediums including sound, art and poetry. Influenced by counter-tourism; the Autonauts of the Cosmoroute and Sebald's Rings of Saturn we'll explore (by doing) the mis-guide as a creative tool for engagement. We'll disrupt boundaries and explore space emotionally and transgressively in the style of Lauren Elkin's Flaneuse. Will finding different ways to tell stories make us more effective at communicating the past? Or do we need to find different stories to tell? Or should we actually aim to divest power and resist the urge to 'tell' very much at all?



Women of Bloomsbury Walk

Join UCL Institute of Archaeology staff Charlotte Frearson and Louise Martin on a walk around Bloomsbury exploring the history of both the Women of UCL & the Women of Bloomsbury. Scientists, poets, artists, writers, actors, social reformers: join us in recognising these relatively unsung humans with talks, quotes from key works & ‘temporary blue plaque memorials’. The walk will be around 1 hour – come rain or come shine! The Institute of Archaeology's Therapy Dog Indy will be joining us on the walk.