Institute of Archaeology


Other Conference Activities

In addition to conference sessions, a range of other exciting 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.


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, 5.30pm-7.15pm in the Logan Hall of the Institute of Education (IoE), 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL. A wine reception will follow the plenary session.

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: No Stress GIS #1

ESRI: No Stress GIS #1 - Advance Booking Required
Knowing where finds come from is fundamental to theorising about them. Yet many of us still feel underprepared using GIS for plotting our data in space and time. This workshop covers the basics of quick and easy mapping, digital data collection and visualisation for archaeologists.

Tuesday 17 December, 9:30am-1:30pm | PC Lab 2 (Level 4 in IoE Library), 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

ESRI Workshop: No Stress GIS #2

ESRI: No Stress GIS #2 - Advance Booking Required
Knowing where finds come from is fundamental to theorising about them. Yet many of us still feel underprepared using GIS for plotting our data in space and time. This workshop covers the basics of quick and easy mapping, digital data collection and visualisation for archaeologists.

Tuesday 17 December, 2:00-5:30pm | PC Lab 2 (Level 4 in IoE Library), 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Making archaeological comics

This workshop is aimed at anyone interested in making comics relating to archaeology - Advance Booking Required
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)

Wednesday 18 December, 10:00am-12:30pm | Room 790, IoE, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

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

Those wishing to attend this workshop should gather shortly before 2pm at the meeting point near to the conference registration desk in the foyer of the Institute of Education (IoE). The group will then progress to the Octagon Gallery just after 2pm.

Tuesday 17 December, 2:00-5.30pm | IoE foyer, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Journal of Contemporary Archaeology: Meet the Editors

Meet with editors of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology (Rodney Harrison, Alfredo González-Ruibal and Esther Breithoff) at the journal’s stand in the exhibition hall to discuss potential paper submissions, book, exhibition and film reviews, and/or themed issues and sections and to learn more about the journal’s aims and scope https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/about
When: Wednesday lunchtime (1–2pm)

Walking tours

Between the Acts: a creative misguide round Bloomsbury
Come with us on field trip: on a mis-guided tour of Bloomsbury - Advance Booking Required
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?


** Please note this walking tour is only open to attendees of TAG2019 and a valid conference badge will be required to participate **
Wednesday 18 December, 2:00-3:00pm | IoE Foyer, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

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. Those wanting to join Charlotte and Louise on the walk should meet at the conference registration reception just before 12pm.
Wednesday 18 December, 12:00-1:00pm | IoE Foyer, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Guided walking tour of Londinium

Walk through Londinium from the south-east corner of the City on the riverside through to the banks of the Walbrook and then to the northwestern corner near the late first century fort in one morning - Advance Booking Required

Starting on Lower Thames Street we will explore three preserved archaeological sites in London – Billingsgate Roman House and Baths, London Mithraeum Bloomberg Space and London’s Roman Amphitheatre at Guildhall. The aim is to have a walking symposium comparing the interpretation and presentation of evidence, the emotional response to and future direction of each site, as well as thinking about bits of Londinium that the public might and might not know about and what to do about them, if anything. We will finish in the Roman gallery at the Museum of London, soon to be moved and reconfigured in its new space at Smithfield. The story of Londinium will be told in new ways, join us to explore what they could be.

Please meet around the entrance to Tower Hill underground station for 9.30am.
Tuesday 17 December, 09:30-11:30am | Tower Hill underground station entrance

Bricks + Mortals, A history of eugenics told through buildings

Join historian, curator of UCL Science Collections and UCL Archaeology alumnus Subhadra Das on a walking tour of the UCL campus to hear the story of UCL's pioneering eugenicists through the landmark buildings and spaces named after them - Advance Booking Required.

Among these are the Galton Lecture Theatre, the Pearson Building and the Petrie Museum. The contributions Francis Galton, Karl Pearson and Flinders Petrie to biometrics, statistics and archaeology are well known in those fields and beyond. What is less well known is their contribution to developing, establishing and legitimising the science of eugenics. Eugenics -- the science of improving human populations through selective breeding -- is generally associated with the Nazis, but in fact had its roots in Britain. The story of this origin is seldom told.

Those joining this tour should gather at the meeting point by the conference registration desk (in the IOE foyer) just before 3.30pm.
Tuesday 17 December, 3:30-5:00pm | IoE Foyer, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Museum access

Petrie Museum Special Access

Delegates arriving early into London on Monday 16 December are invited to this rare opportunity to experience the Petrie Museum and its designated, internationally significant, collection of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology outside of normal public opening hours. **Please note this is only open to TAG2019 delegates**

Monday 16 December, 11:30am - 1:00pm | Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology Malet Pl, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6BT

British Museum:Troy myth and reality exhibition - Special Access

Troy: myth and reality exhibition, The British Museum Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

Between 9am and 10am on Tuesday 17 December, TAG delegates are permitted free access to the British Museum's fantastic new Troy exhibition, Troy myth and reality. Once inside the exhibition you may stay past 10am. Delegates must present their TAG name badges to museum staff to gain entry. There will be a short welcome for TAG delegates at 9:05am.

The legend of Troy has endured for more than 3,000 years. The story of a great city, plunged into a 10-year war over the abduction of the most beautiful woman in the world, is irresistibly dramatic and tragic. This allure has sent adventurers and archaeologists in quest of the lost city, which is now widely believed to have existed.

Tuesday 17 December, 9:00-10:00am | The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG


TAG 2019 Party

Conference party time! Come together on Tuesday evening to enjoy the Antiquity archaeology quiz, fantastic live music from Truly Medly Deeply and a great selection of tunes late into the night courtesy of DJs Hippocampus and friends. 

Tuesday 17 December, 6:00pm-Wednesday 18 December, 1:00am | Student Central (formerly ULU), Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY