Institute of Archaeology


Matthew Pope involved in collaborative research to record the landscape of the pandemic

2 June 2020

Matthew Pope is part of the 'The Viral Archive', a collaborative project between archaeologists at the University of Warwick, University College Cork (Ireland), and the UCL Institute of Archaeology to record visual signs in the landscape relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image contribution to the Viral Archive project

The project is sending out a global invitation to members of the public to capture the visual record of the signs, marks, and graffiti that are keeping us safe, together, and uplifted during this pandemic.

Rosie Everett, from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick said:

We see this project as an act of bearing witness to, and capturing the changes that can occur in our local landscapes due to a global crisis, and the personal and broader social responses that can emerge as a form of resilience. This is a global emergency, unprecedented in the past century, in which the Viral Archive encourages people to recognise the changes in their environments and make a record of it first hand.

So far the team has received over 500 contributions from around the world through their @Viral_Archive Twitter page, and are hoping to grow this as an archive of the times. Examples submitted to date include: pictures of rainbows, decorated trees and painted stones, chalk street art, and virus-related graffiti.

According to Matthew Pope:

The UCL Institute of Archaeology covers the record of human adaptation to environmental challenges from earliest prehistory through to speculative futures. Here we had the opportunity to be involved in capturing the archaeological record of our present crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic. While the idea for now is to simply bear witness through record, its hard not to be moved by the human stories behind the measures people are putting in place and the token they are leaving in the landscape.

If you would like your photos to be featured in the archive please tag the Twitter account @Viral_Archive, and use one of the hashtags, #ViralArchive or #ViralShadows.

Please keep your safety paramount, only venture out in accordance with national regional or state guidelines. Only capture images in passing, do not travel specifically to capture images. Respect people’s privacy, be mindful of protecting your own location, and be as general in terms of location as you feel comfortable with.

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