Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Archaeology in Social Media | Chronicles 01

Many readers of this blog are, I think, familiar with the rather excellent site. For those of you who are not, I recently described it as ‘Facebook for nerds’ … it has all the general features of its better-known social media cousin – you set up your own profile, follow other people (and hope they follow you), post stuff, connect … it’s pretty simple! Except … instead of posting pictures of cats, you post PDF copies of your published papers and lectures. In a world where conducting good research & writing good papers is no longer enough, you’ve got to get your work to your audience. Think about it … Researcher A is a wonderful academic and he publishes his fine material in a really well peer reviewed and respected journal. Researcher B is just as good, publishes in similarly august journals … but she decides to make PDF copies of these available on In a perfect world they should achieve equal recognition and fame etc. … but in today’s world where decent internet connections are much more common and cheaper than well-stocked physical libraries, the Researcher with the best public outreach is the one that will reach the widest audience. Wide readership translates to larger numbers of citations in further academic works and … eventually/hopefully … this translates into greater academic renown, respectability, promoteability, and even tenure (the Holy Grail of academia). Even if you are, like me, an ‘independent researcher’ with none of these concerns, the ability to read current work and interact with the important thinkers in your area of study is exceptionally important and allows one to remain in touch with and part of current developments.

A number of internet services have emerged in recent years to service this burgeoning market, but my favourite is There are many reasons to like it, including that it’s free to all and you don’t need an account of your own to view contents. However, if you’d like to download copies of PDFs or use any of the other features (such as messaging etc.) you’ll need a to create a personal profile. As an aside, I’d add that setting up your own profile is a very good idea as it generates a newsfeed, similar to the Facebook ‘Wall’ that delivers details of the latest updates. You can read papers, download them, and even bookmark them for future reference. As a way of highlighting what’s out there for Irish archaeology (well, mostly Irish stuff, but some other material that also caught my eye), I want to do at least one blog post on the topic … but maybe more, if there’s an interest. What follows is a completely partisan and biased list of what I think is cool on If you think I missed something (maybe something by yourself), please feel free to let me know & I’ll add it into a future post. In the meantime, sign up & follow me too!

Rick Schulting: Sticks, Stone and Broken Bones: Neolithic Violence in a European Perspective

Rick Schulting: "In this chambered tumulus were found cleft skulls...": an assessment of the evidence for cranial trauma in the British Neolithic
Rick Schulting: Revisiting Quanterness: new AMS dates and stable isotope data from an Orcadian chamber tomb

Ian Armit: Violence and society in the deep human past

John Bradley et al.: Kilkenny City’s M3?

Mary Chaill: More evidence for Early Bronze Age body-piercing

Alison Sheridan: Scottish Food Vessel chronology revisited
Alison Sheridan: Going round in circles? Understanding the Irish Grooved Ware complex in its wider context
Alison Sheridan: The Neolithization of Britain and Ireland: the Big Picture
Alison Sheridan: Scottish Beaker dates: the good, the bad and the ugly

Eamonn Kelly: The Vikings and the kingdom of Laois

Leszek GardełaL 'Warrior-women' in Viking Age Scandinavia? A preliminary archaeological study

Vicki Cummings & Chris Fowler: From cairn to cemetery: an archaeological investigation of the chambered cairns and early Bronze Age mortuary deposits at Cairnderry and Bargrennan White Cairn, south-west Scotland

OK ... I think that's more than enough to be going on with for now!

Just to recap:

1) Set up a free account [here]
2) Follow me! [here]*
3) Enjoy the tsunami of free academic papers available to you ...

* This step is optional ... but you know you should!

The wonderful and marvelous Dr James Bonsall [follow his page: here] has produced an excellent guide to available web-based resources for Irish archaeology & has allowed me to share the link: here. Go for it! Explore & enjoy!