[DEEP BREATH] Once again, the Archaeoestablishment criticises an archaeological project that markets itself sufficiently to reach the ACTUAL WORLD…
Whilst those commenting in this article are busy splitting hairs, the demographic-busting appeal of this story will be out in the world doing unquantified good for archaeology, for history, even for the public perception of academia.
Appearing as the top story on the Daily Mail will not detract from the all-important seriousness or ‘worthiness’ of this project – which, by the way, is a stunning example of archaeological practice from documents to the dirt to the lab – but what it will do, maybe, just a little, is shift public opinion about archaeology towards a cooler, hipper, more relevant position.
Less beardy-weirdy, more Gangnam style perhaps, but this story could wedge the door open for more archaeology in the media, which eventually means more bums on seats in universities, which in turn creates careers for the very people criticising Leicester’s “self-promotion” of this event.
We’re watching the promos on Channel 4 right now, and lemme tell you something: it’s EXCITING.
I hope there’s millions people across the UK who are watching too, especially the kind of people used to being so constantly over-stimulated by the media that nothing gets noticed unless it’s naked, bleeding, or illegal.
If there isn’t a recognisable logo involved, most things don’t exist, for most of the world. So I would say to Mary Beard that yes – there are a lot of logos involved here. But how else does work like this fabulous project get done, if not through alms from these modern city-states? We can only hope they continue to think archaeology is cool enough to provide value for their brands.
If for one second this publicity makes anyone think favourably about archaeology, it’s all worth it.
Keep shouting, Leicester!