Asperger, Heritage and Archaeodeath


How does Asperger’s affect the experience of archaeological heritage?

I am Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester. My eldest daughter – Jemimah – was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (encompassing what is generally known as Asperger Syndrome) aged 5. Now aged 7, she loves exploring Britain’s heritage as much as I do.

I am not qualified to talk about this condition in general terms so please, dear reader, be sympathetic if I haven’t quite framed and explained the condition’s symptoms adequately as they relate to J or others. However, I do feel that many museums, heritage sites and ancient monuments take little account of children (and adults come to that) like J with these kinds of ‘hidden’ condition. Certainly, I haven’t seen any discussion of this issue in academic circles (but see links below). Moreover, I haven’t seen any discussion of how mortuary archaeology’s public dimensions relate to kids with Asperger’s…

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Goodbye To All That

A nice tribute to the ever popular Time Team series!

Francis Pryor - In the Long Run

Somehow the title of Robert Graves’ 1929 autobiographical masterpiece seems strangely relevant. Does it express regret, or inevitability – or a bit of each? I suspect the latter. And that’s how I feel, too, when it comes to the demise of Time Team and the sad death of Mick Aston. In fact, the two events seem inextricably bound together in my mind, although I don’t believe they were actually connected in reality. Put another way, Mick’s demise did not signal the end of the series, because I’m convinced it was going to fold whatever the production company or we, the participants, did. I think it’s fairly plain now that Time Team was a product of a different, pre-internet, age when television was still king and when there was far more money to spend on the production of programmes. But I don’t want to sound like an old fart: I’m not…

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Well I Nevern! Castell Nanhyfer Explored

Another great review, thanks Howard!


IMG_9414 Detail from heritage board showing the castle and the settlement below it, set within a worked agricultural landscape

IMG_9384 The tower within the inner castle

Nevern Castle is important in so many regards. It is a striking survival of a complex, well-preserved and multi-phased motte-and-bailey castle of the 12th century in South-West Wales. Situated in the lordship of Cemais, it was an Anglo-Norman earth and timber castle in its first phase, built by Robert FitzMartin c. 1108-1110. The site was recaptured by the Welsh from 1136 and it became enhanced with stone-built defences, perhaps during its occupation by The Lord Rhys of Deheubarth after 1156 or by William FitzMartin who took possession of the castle from c. 1171. The site is recorded as being dismantled in 1195 by Hwyel Sais to prevent its capture and use by the Anglo-Normans. The nearby town of Newport was its successor during the 13th century.

IMG_9379 Rock-cut ditch

IMG_9371 The…

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11 apps to help organise a field trip using just your smartphone.

The Heritage Journal

We have written in the past about ways to enhance your field trip visits and what equipment to take with you. But what if you don’t want to be lumbered with all that clutter? Could a simple smartphone come to your rescue?

With the plethora of apps available these days, the answer is invariably ‘yes’. But of course, safety must always be a major consideration on any trip, so standard caveats apply: we would always recommend keeping a good paper map (and other ‘survival aids’ as appropriate) to hand when travelling across open country. Despite the government’s best intentions, signal availability in remote areas is not always optimal, so when looking at available apps, offline working must always be a consideration. Battery power is also important. Most smartphones are notorious for ‘poor’ (8–10 hours at best, much shorter if hunting for a signal) battery performance, so a fully-charged back-up…

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Vlog to Death


IMG_8110 The Pillar of Eliseg

A while back I mentioned that Joe Tong (Archaeological Research Services), Sue Evans (Llangollen Museum), Nancy Edwards (Bangor University), Gary Robinson (Bangor University) and I have written up the video blogging dimension of Project Eliseg’s outreach as a journal article. We are pleased to say that the article has been published in the journal Internet Archaeology called ‘Vlog to Death: Project Eliseg’s Video-Blogging’.

This is an open access article and it is free to read it here. This is part of the Critical Blogging in Archaeology special issue by Colleen Morgan. The article is regarded by everyone I have come across as the first critical reflection on the use of vlogs in archaeological fieldwork in the UK.

Our principal focus is upon how we face the challenge of dealing with mortuary archaeology via vlogging when the archaeological dead are not represented by articulated skeletons or cadavers: the most readily comprehensible material…

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