Punk Archaeology: Questioning Academic Traditions

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Ever notice the sheer number of archaeologists who are into punk rock music?  What effect has this had on the practice of archaeology?  It turns out that when you think about it, there exists a surprising amount of similarities between punk rock and archaeology as both practical and creative processes!  Join us with special guest and co-founder of the “Punk Archaeology” movement Dr. William Caraher and explore the dialogue between these two fields – one a musical form, the other an academic discipline.  Find out how what began initially as an inside joke among archaeologists developed into a neat summation of a series of methods, approaches, and commitments in the discipline.  In the spirit of punk, discover the appeal of the movement not as a neatly bounded box, but a swirl of DIY methods, cultural criticism, and subversive questioning of traditional practices. IMG_1702

William Caraher is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and a founding member of the Working Group in Digital and New Media at the University of North Dakota.  Since 2012 he has applied methods developed during excavations in the Mediterranean to begin to document the life and material culture in the man camps in the Bakken Oil Patch in Western North Dakota. In 2014, his interest in the archaeology of late capitalism extended to his work on the famous Atari Burial Excavation in Alamogordo, New Mexico with a team of punk archaeologists and filmmakers.

Perhaps Caraher’s best-known scholarly accomplishment is his blog the “Archaeology of the Mediterranean World,” which is among the most visible and widely read scholarly blogs on archaeological topics on the interwebs. He is also the co-founder of the Punk Archaeology movement with Kostis Kourelis and a peer reviewed volume on the same topic will appear in 2014. In 2006, he produced the award-winning documentary “Survey on Cyprus,” directed by Josiah Patrow, and has quietly begun a new project to develop a digital academic press at the University of North Dakota.

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