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Humour and the Individual in Museum and Site Archives: A Workshop
The complaint about the sterility of reports and the absence of anecdotes is nothing new. I am quite fond of this quote, which I found in the preface of a 1931 excavation report.

"This work is nothing more than a Report on certain excavations, and as such follows the modern fashion of being as colourless as possible. In the last century a similar work would have included musings on the brevity of life, scraps of poetry and various other frills. Now archaeology has become so stern a study that I have not even dared to describe our feelings when a skull at Holywell Row began to walk away with a young rabbit inside it or to record the innumerable droll remarks of onlookers. These invariably opened their conversation with "They didn't bury them very deep in those days, did they!". Most readers would surely prefer the older method."

(TC Lethbridge, 1931, Recent excavations in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk)
"Hidden wisdom and buried treasure, what use is there in either?" (Ecclesiasticus ch20 v30)
Humour in archaeology -you must be joking! I don't think I'll be attending, instead I'll sharpen two 4H pencils and slowly bury them into my ears - probably a more entertaining way of spending the day. ARRRGGGH! If you try and explain a joke it's no longer funny.
Come to think of it all the best jokes can't be explained . . .
It seemed to me that the TAG session was about 3 things. One, humour in archaeology exists in the records/ archive. Two, this humour rarely finds its way into the 'official' site publication. Three, behind the largely 'gallows' humour that does exist in the record, lie some important aspects of the excavation. This might be comments on Health and Safety, the relationships between management and staff, descriptions of the weather, site contexts area descriptions etc etc. All of which round out the site record and may (in the opinion of some of the speakers) tell us more about archaeology in years to come than the site record on its own. Sketches, cartoons and drawings. All these seem to me to be valid.

There was no attempt at dissecting humour or analysing jokes. But perhaps the captive audience understood the context, so further analysis was unnecessary.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Madweasels Wrote:...I wonder how many other disciplines would conduct such a study. Is there research into the macabre jolly japes of Doctors and nurses?...

Think the Carry On films covered that pretty comprehensively?...actually didn't archaeology sneak into one or two? - so we're sorted, posterity will already know about 'digging culture' }Smile
CARTOON REALITY Wrote:Come to think of it all the best jokes can't be explained . . .

Much the same as archaeology then - AHA! A link! QED :face-approve:
John Walford;72144[I Wrote:I have not even dared to describe our feelings when a skull at Holywell Row began to walk away with a young rabbit inside it [/I]

I would give good money or beer to have seen that or have Cartoon Reality illustrate the incident
There have ben some humorous discussion about the humor in archaeology. For a humorous read

Digging for a laugh: : archaeology and Humour

Sillar, B (Ed). (1992) Digging for a laugh: : archaeology and Humour. Archaeological Review from Cambridge: Vol.11:2. : Cambridge, UK..

Special issue of the Journal: Archaeological Review from Cambridge. Articles in the volume address issues such as; the role of humour in society, how archaeologists have used humour in their writing, how archaeology and archaeologists are portrayed in humour as well as articles discussing archaeology in a humorous way.

Type:BookTitleBig Grinigging for a laugh: : archaeology and HumourLanguage:EnglishBig Grin
we don't know what we don't know
I can't help but feel this is somewhat of a digression but here goes: The Walking Holywell Rabbit Skull as requested by Wax
CR you truely have an amazing skill and unique take on things. I like the Steam Punk sub text. Several pints of the beverage of your choice are lined up on the virtual bar:face-approve::face-approve:

One thing I have always liked about archaeologists is their sense of humour and don't they need it in the current climate

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