On September 30th the book Punk Archaeology was published under a creative commons license for free download, and it is a very interesting read. You might be asking, what is punk archaeology and what does it have to do with campus archaeology? These two terms, at first glance, may seem to clash but they work very well together. When I found this book it screamed read me, tell everyone about me! Not just because it spoke to my inner punk (I still have my combat boots and patch covered jacket), but also because it offers a fresh voice and perspective on the discipline of archaeology.
Prior to the publication of the book, punk archaeology gained some media attention when Andrew Reinhard, Richard Rothaus, Bill Caraher, and Bret Weber, contributors of the Punk Archaeology book, volunteered at the Atari dig project. The goal was to locate and excavate the landfill where the ill-fated ET Atari game cartridges, which were unceremoniously deposited in a New Mexico dump after the games failure not only to sell, but to function as a playable video game. The location of the cartridges had become a myth in the gaming community, and the ability to participate in the excavation allowed archaeologists to apply punk archaeology to a contemporary situation.
Punk archaeology isn’t just a focus on the archaeology of punk music and venues; it is also a new wave of potential theoretical frameworks. It stresses community engagement, digital open access and working creatively with time and money constraints. Campus Archaeology is always looking for new methods of creative community engagement. Our upcoming “Apparitions and Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour”, Thursday, October 23rd at 7pm, would certainly fall under the realm of punk archaeology. This tour is an opportunity for public outreach through fun and fright.
Community engagement needs to exist not only with the general public at large, but also within the field of archaeology. The ability to have fun with your discipline and engage in social aspects like the #anthroemojis that began on Twitter yesterday, certainly could be considered punk archaeology. And I hope that during my time with CAP, that we can engage the public, and the archaeological community in new and exciting ways.
So please download Punk Archaeology, or order a print copy. Listen to the corresponding streaming album if punk music is your taste, and have fun. Punk archaeology is not just for the misfits, it can be used by all.