archaeological geomatics – the majick of spatial data in archaeology – archaeological information systems for the digital age
BRITARCH RIP. Long live BRITARCH…?
The BRITARCH mailing list has long been a place where one could ask a question and some friendly, helpful person would either know the answer or know someone who does or just offer some friendly advice or tips from their own experience. Ideas could be kicked around, there was a whole load of people willing to help and get involved in things. The community was diverse, including folks from all walks of life and this was one of its strengths. The list is described thus:
For the circulation of information, queries and general discussion of issues relating to archaeology in the United Kingdom. This list will be used by the Council for British Archaeology information service to announce relevant items of news or information.
Recently, however, it’s, well, gone off the boil. Too many trolls, flames, too much ranting and not enough interesting content or discussion. That is not to criticise contributors, just to observe the list ain’t what it used to be. Some of the long serving members are still there, still doing their bit and I would like to thank them for their long service, much appreciated it is. But I am speaking in general here, no names, no pack drill. Just some late night thoughts being aired.
So, having been thoroughly wound up by the latest thread, and not feeling the urge to mail the list any kind of meaningful response (the whole ritual vs functional debate being somewhat aged, well researched, and quite frankly done to death), I simply tweeted:
Remind me again, why do I subscribe to Britarch…? Posts extolling pure functionalism look to have been time-warped in from times gone by..
Which prompted a bit of a flurry of responses. So in order to take this a bit further than 140 characters will allow, I thought I’d start this post. Give the topic a bit of air. What is going on here? Is the format the problem? Are we now all social media luvvies who simply don’t use mailing lists much? Are we just all a bit stressed and take it out on poor students asking questions of us? I, for my two-penneth, love the old BRITARCH and would dearly like to see something analogous leap from the ashes of the mailing list. Or am I just looking at things with rose tinted glasses…?
And in short, re the whole ‘ritual’ thing, just in case that crops up in the comments: Yes, the term is sometimes abused. No, not everything can be described purely in terms of ‘functional’ ‘causality’. So there. For more information, please go and read something (I would start with the excellent Brück, 1999) and please don’t bring it up here. Thankyou.