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Thats ok as long as they define its frequency and wave height. Or if its more complex as a wave equation
What's wrong with the traditional and commonly accepted/understood terminology such as 'wiggly' or, for more learned journals, 'sinuous' (which does, admittedly, suggest some sine-wave element in the layout....ok, probably better to stick to wiggly....)? - of course if we were allowed to empty them with a machine more often it would probably solve the wiggliness issue, plus they'd look a lot more impressive on the piccies }Smile
Talked about this on site today... one person (you know who you are) was so angry she (or he) was unable to reply in a coherent manner.. though did a good job to me on site Wink

However, I m currently digging a very complex funereal feature and seem to occilate from trying to usnderstand to trying to dig a grave... my fingers smell of the charred wood from 2000 years back... my head fills with the same smell as they would have smelt.. not like it... but the same! I am overcome, I am professional.. I am overcome again... can I work without theory and belief? dunno... but then again... I like my ditches straight!
Hi, well I?ve just got back from driving from one side of Ireland to the other and back again and it seems quite a lot has been going on here!

Firstly let me just say that the point of setting up the CSA was to have a debate about some issues that had been bugging me, and I?m delighted to see that happening here. Thanks for the comments, good and bad, it?s all very interesting. Secondly I want to apologise because this is going to be quite a lengthy post as I want to respond to a number of different comments.

Ok, so the first thing to explain is that the CSA was set up a while ago when I lost my temper over a particular incident and needed to get some things off my chest. After I started it I quickly got about 50 members who were almost universally archaeologists that I had worked with over the years. Because of this there was no need to explain that it wasn?t a totally serious enterprise, as they all knew me and would know when I was joking and when I was being serious. However the numbers of the group quickly topped out and not much has been happening with it over the summer as I was busy with work. The other day whilst visiting some forums as part of the ?day job? I decided to post up a general invite. If people who don?t know me didn?t get the humour then I realise the site would just seem completely obnoxious. I don?t know, I thought there were enough clues but obviously not for everyone and that is clearly my fault. Sorry.

Right so the next thing I wanted to say was about the call of ?neo con?. That?s quite interesting. The style of writing that I was consciously trying to ape was the sort of frothy mouthed polemics that come out of the far left. It?s a style renowned for its intolerance and belligerence and in particular it?s vicious level of infighting. So whilst I?ve not read much from neo-cons I would imagine that the intolerance and belligerence would be similar. Again I?m not being 100% serious with this stuff, so you know...
What?s been said here is well worth bearing in mind though, and seeing the reaction I will probably tone things down a bit in the future. Think of it as a new magazine where the house style hasn?t quite been nailed down yet, and give us a little bit of slack as I try to get it right.

The next thing to address, and it?s something that?s been on my mind ever since I started this thing, is who on earth do I think I am to adjudicate what counts as sensible archaeology? Well quite literally, I?m no one. I?m a field archaeologist, and with my own work I place the emphasis on precise descriptions of the archaeology I work on, a detailed account of site formation and dating evidence, a big chunk of background research and endeavour to keep the writing as comprehensible as possible. Over the years I have become more and more irritated with the ?other? stuff, because the use of language is so abysmal and simple concepts are being hidden behind a screen of barely comprehensible sentences that actively hinder the readers understanding for little noticeable gain and because I find in many instances where theoretical perspectives lead a project that facts are so often ignored or deliberately altered in order to support the theory. What I?m trying to do is question the nature of some current work but to so with a mixture of valid criticism and humour.
I would also say that the internet is full of anonymous people making unpleasant remarks about other peoples work. I didn?t want to do that so I have been purposely using my own name and therefore I will stand behind anything I write, admit when I?ve been proven wrong, apologise to anyone I have unfairly offended etc. To those who questioned my credentials and level of experience, I don?t want to get into a peeing contest, but you can google me if you feel the need to, this is clearly not a pseudonym Wink

Some more specific remarks
That?s great that you can see value in some of these things. I?d love it if you?d post a response on the groups page? That?s exactly the sort of dialogue I?m looking for as I certainly don?t get them. Either I just don?t see the point (Ford Transit) or I can?t see past the misrepresentation of the facts (Townend). The page won?t descend into a flame fest as I?ll delete anything like that, so feel free to post a proper response. Or call me mindless again, I don?t mind Wink

I?m not sure how a quick joke about hermeneutics can be taken as a measure of the amount of field work I have or haven?t done, but ok? Anyway that particular school of thought always seemed to me like a clever solution to a problem no one actually had Big Grin

Hey, you even get the Marxism! But I?m particularly interested in what you said about archaeologists misuse of Phenomenology, I think that?s a big problem with archaeologists borrowing theories from other disciplines and not necessarily getting the right end of the stick, another example of which happened with Wittgenstein.

And finally, the group has gained about 20 new members over the past 2 days, so welcome to everyone who joined, I?ll look forward to hearing from you.
I thought we?d moved past this them-and us nonsense years ago? Sure, there was a time when archaeologists could rebut all criticism of their profession with the simple retort: ?the spade never lies.? At least that was the holding line, until Philip Greigson pointed out that even if ?the spade cannot lie, it owes this merit in part to the fact that it cannot speak.?

The Campaign for Sensible Archaeology?


A testament to ignorance; a tribute to not knowing things; the intellectual equivalent of a bunch of hairy arses.

Everything we do, EVERYTHING we do, is theorised at some level. Archaeological theory sometimes feels impenetrable; but remember it is a specialism with its own specialist language, just like archaeological science has its own difficult language and concepts. Following CSA?s manifesto to its logical conclusion, we should also ask what?s all this crap about isotopes? I?ve never seen one have you?

A hackneyed view of academics is that they have total disdain for the value of commercial sector work (an opinion I have yet to encounter). This is the filed archaeologists equivalent of that stance (an opinion I have encountered far too often). Philosophical ideas need wrestling to the ground, and made to do some work. It?s only then that we can scrutinise their value, and communicate our findings with each other in a clear fashion.

That?s why it?s essential that field archaeologists at least attempt to meet this debate half way. Facebook groups are all a bit of fun, and The Campaign for Sensible Archaeology is no different. But come on now. Our relationship with theory is, well, complicated. And there?s nothing wrong with that.
again, thanks for your comments.

Something Tim Darvill has discussed recently is a sort of 20 year cycle between empiricist trends and more relativistic (for want of a better term) trends that goes on within the 'soft' sciences. The whole CSA thing isn't supposed to be a war on either academics or the application of theory, its supposed to be my attempt, hopelessly futile obviously, at nudging things back towards the empirical.

The use of language is a different matter all together. the use of abtuse writing is such a shame. I feel it betrays one of the fundamental principles of archaeology, dissemination. Previous to the current trend the best British Archaeologists were well respected public figures and the books of Wheeler, Childe, Piggott, Wooley, Glyn Daniel etc used to sell in large quantities. Currently only Francis Pryor, and to a lesser extent the excellent Stephen Mithens are selling (non-text) books in any quantity. And that's a failure of archaeologists who at times seem to specialise in making the very interesting very dull, and the reasonably simple monstrously complex. And you point out that other branches of archaeology have their own coded languages, quite true. And it's equally annoying. I would like to see environmental reports use common names alongside the Latin for instance. But then all I need to do to understand an environmental report is pick up a pocket guide to plant species. To read some modern archaeology I need to complete a course in the 20th century philosophers of eastern Europe. Not quite the same scale of problem.

"the intellectual equivalent of a bunch of hairy arses" I may be stealing for a slogan!
Quote:archaeologists who at times seem to specialise in making the very interesting very dull
damn right there, many archaeologists do everything they can to be so po faced that they forget the public love a bit of swash, buckle and derring do... some excitement some fun, some plain speaking. I often call myself the Rolf Harris of archaeology... broad populist strokes of information... it does not mean my theory is pants... it jsut means I am as happy communicating with other archaeologists in our special language (sorry Stuart... every profession needs a language) and with teh public in the factually correct, simplified but not dumb language as well.

The point of communication of ideas is not to be superior to the other person, leaving them stunned at your extensive knowledge of obscure quotes, but to communicate clearly. WE can all learn, and should relish learning new... but .. and this is where I agree with CSA we should not retreat into smaller and smaller groups unable to talk to anyone else.

ps... I do notice the ironic fun ---- We do not appreciate or feel the need for witty acronyms. ---- says the CSA..
Stuart ? sorry about the hairy arses thing, that was crass. What can I say: shock slogans and mindless token tantrums are a speciality! Feel free to use it in any future publicity though.

There are two different issues here that need to be separated ? how complex our arguments have to be in order to adequately explain the past, and how successful we are at sharing the benefits of that knowledge with the non-archaeological world. In joining the two, you are making the case for dumbing down. I have blogged about this problem before, comparing archaeologists less successful books with the likes of Dan Brown and co.

Or, to cut to the chase (so you don?t have to follow the link):

The challenge is to balance the credibility of the excavated evidence with a democratically accessible narrative. To neither dumb-up our investigation, nor dumb-down our results.

If this is what CSA stand for, then call my arse hairy!
I would love to be the Occams Razor of Hairy Arses! I think you have it there Digging... and put more eloquently than I could ever.... you do seem to have a way with words!
diggingthedirt Wrote:...Or, to cut to the chase (so you don?t have to follow the link):

The challenge is to balance the credibility of the excavated evidence with a democratically accessible narrative. To neither dumb-up our investigation, nor dumb-down our results.

If this is what CSA stand for, then call my arse hairy!

And how does that sit with female Gladiator, a baby-murdering brothel and a Mediterranean tourist to Stonehenge? If that is democratically accessible narrative then it is not for me and it is not good for archaeology! There's sexing up and then there's tabloidesque surrealism!
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