2013 - Archaeological Manifesto - Michael Shanks
Archaeologists don't discover the past; they work on what remains with a view to the present and the future.
Archaeology is THE discipline of things - the history of design, innovation, creativity, how people get on with the material world, materiality itself.
Archaeologists deal in the life of things.
Archaeology is also our only access to a long term perspective on history and what it is to be human Archaeological evidence frequently provides insights counter to the great narratives of history that we have grown so used to over the last couple of centuries.
I have researched megalithic monuments in an archaeology of the prehistoric body, ancient Greek perfume jars in the early city state, the design of contemporary beer cans, managed a project with DaimlerChrysler to develop a model of the car interior of 2015, in an archaeology of the contemporary past. My current fieldwork is revisiting an old genre of writing on the land - chorography - in a study of the Roman borders with Scotland - how to understand and represent a region, in the context of imperial incursion and local response.
Archaeology stretches from genetics to art history, includes laboratory study, fieldwork and survey, statistical analysis, and textual interpretation, combining media old and new, from graphics to virtual reality. I am committed to hybrid practice where art becomes scientific research, where the academy becomes an art studio, where pedagogy mingles with outreach into the community and industry, where practice can be research, where old disciplinary divisions give way to a committed address to matters of common human concern.
All made possible by our newly fashioned freedoms of digital authorship, collegiality, collaboration and creativity.
New Humanities Post disciplinary practices ...
shifting a custodial model of stewardship - looking after the past
to one of production and creativity - working on what remains to help guide us now and for the future.
Archaeologists work on what remains of the past...
This means that
we are all archaeologists now ...