It’s the final month of Doug’s #Blogarch archaeology blogging carnival and although I didn’t write an entry for February due to a lack of free time (and inspiration), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this community blogging event and would like to thank Doug for organising it. It’s been a pleasure.
Over the past few months I’ve written about my reasons for blogging about archaeology, my love-hate relationship with blogging, and the blog’s best and worst offerings and have spent hours reading what other archaeology bloggers have had to say about their own experiences as bloggers and their thoughts on how blogging can bring archaeology to a wider audience. Although she didn’t write it for #blogarch, Colleen Morgan’s article Stop Saying “Archaeology is Actually Boring” struck a chord with me when I came across it on Twitter. This was partly due to the fact that I’ve been guilty of sharing links to articles which not only debunk the popular view of archaeology as being little more than treasure hunting but also depict this academic field in a less than flattering light. As Colleen puts it, this “actively works against the profession and is terribly bad form in science education”. And I think she makes a very good point. If people are constantly told that archaeology is “mundane” and “soul-sucking”, they might actually begin to believe it. So what better way to get people interested in the past by sharing your passion and enthusiasm with them?
As I explained in an earlier #blogarch entry, I started this blog as a way to share my interest in archaeology with others. Not just with fans of the Tomb Raider games but with anyone who cared to read my articles. Some may find it odd that I’ve chosen to use a video game series as a platform for teaching people about ancient cultures and art but when there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of other archaeology blogs on the internet, I suppose one needs to find a way to distinguish themselves from the crowd.
The Archaeology of Tomb Raider was never intended to be an academic blog because, unlike many other archaeology bloggers, I don’t have the requisite academic credentials or experience. But what I lack in expertise I try to make up for in curiosity and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, qualities I hope to inspire in my readers. Which brings me to Doug’s final question for this year’s #blogarch session:
Where are you going with archaeology blogging and/or where would you like it to go?
Now there’s a question! On a personal level, I’d like to boost my readership and reach out to those who want to learn more about ancient civilisations and archaeology but may be a little intimidated or put off by scholarly blogs and print publications. Not everyone is destined for a life in academia but there’s no reason why the general public can’t join in the fun. Community archaeology and public awareness of heritage issues depend on the input of interested individuals, whether they are professional archaeologists, students or laypersons, and, as a blogger, I’d like to do my part to inspire others to learn more about the past and understand the value of preserving archaeological sites and monuments for future generations.
As for archaeology blogging as a whole, I’d like to see it continue on its current trajectory and to remain as free as possible. In a world of paywalls and subscription fees, blogs play a vital role in providing the general public with free, easy access to academic research. We can’t expect people to get excited about archaeology or form their own opinions about the past if the necessary information isn’t readily available to them. So let’s continue to educate and inspire our readers, dear bloggers, because:
Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. (American Library Association)