Pitt Rivers Lectures
The annual Pitt Rivers Lecture was established in 2017 as part of the celebrations marking 50 years of archaeological and anthropological teaching and research at Bournemouth University and its predecessor institutions. It is organized by staff and students, and presented in association with the Prehistoric Society. The lecture celebrates the achievements of General Pitt Rivers (1827–1900), a distinguished Dorset-based archaeologist and anthropologist whose descendants still live in the area and have close connections with Bournemouth University.
For recordings of previous Pitt Rivers lectures, please follow this link.
Our Department of Archaeology & Anthropology places great value on working collaboratively. Our Research Seminars form an important part of this work and we are pleased to share some of these seminars with you on this page.
We are grateful for the new perspectives our guest speakers can offer our students and they share our common goal of inspiring them and creating new discussions to develop their minds and knowledge.
Professor Claire Warwick
Claire Warwick is a Professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of English at Durham University, where she was Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Research from 2014-2019. Her research is concerned with the use of digital resources in the humanities and cultural heritage; in digital reading; how physical and digital information spaces are used; and on the history of cyberspace. She was the founding Director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and Head of UCL Department of Information Studies. Her PhD, from Cambridge, was in English Literature and she began her career in digital humanities with a postdoctoral position at Oxford University’s Humanities Computing Unit. View Professor Claire Warwick's profile.
The museum and cultural heritage sector has been pioneering in its use digital technologies, including social media; digitised collections; online exhibitions; 3D scanning and printing of artefacts; and the use web-based exhibitions and digital art installations in gallery. Yet, despite predictions in the early days of digitisation, we now know that such content does not replace the experience of visiting a museum or heritage site. Visitors may learn from, and enjoy digital exhibits and interactives, but only experience emotions such as wonder and delight when they encounter the aura of physical objects or heritage sites. We still know relatively little about how visitors process disturbing or shocking artistic content or cultural artefacts, whether in physical or digital form. In my talk I will discuss research on the use of physical and digital information, and its implications for the use of digital technologies, such as augmented reality, in a cultural heritage setting.
Please watch Professor Claire Warwick's guest seminar below: Shock and Aura: digital methods and the experience of physical heritage
Dr Duncan Wright
Duncan Wright is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University’s School of Archaeology and Anthropology with a research interest in mythology. Wright practices partnership archaeology, involving collaborations with Torres Strait Islander and Australian Aboriginal communities who seek to historicise (through archaeology and oral history) practices and places of social, political and/ or spiritual significance. Currently he has active projects in Torres Strait, Arnhem Land and Czech Republic. View Dr Duncan Wright's profile.
Sagas featuring Viking era voyages, migrations and family feuds may be familiar to this audience but how much is known about the epic narratives of Torres Strait Islanders? In this seminar we explore a 'Culture Hero' story that spans Papua New Guinea, western, central and Eastern Torres Strait. Archaeological excavations at Waiat's 'Lodges', places associated with initiation and funerary ceremonies brought by this Culture Hero, provide insights into transitioning ritual across the Coral Sea corridor. Archaeological and ethnographic data further allow us to reassess, from an Australian perspective, the role and relevance of mythology for understanding human histories.
Please watch Dr Duncan Wright's guest seminar below: The Archaeology of Waiat's Saga in Torres Strait, far north Australia
Dr Chiara Bonacchi
Chiara Bonacchi is a Senior Lecturer in the Division of History, Heritage and Politics at the University of Stirling, where she specialises in Public Archaeology and Heritage, with a focus on Digital Heritage. She has designed, participated in and coordinated a broad portfolio of collaborative research projects in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, focussing on the study of public perceptions and experience of the past, digital co-production and public engagement, data science and digital ethnographies in heritage studies, heritage values and the politics of the past. View Dr Chiara Bonacchi's profile.
This presentation examines uses of the Iron Age, Roman and Early Medieval past of Europe to support or oppose populist nationalist narratives in the UK, Italy and the US, drawing on social media data. It will discuss the myths that are leveraged and their international circulation as well as the ways in which 'expert' interpretations feed into exclusionary discourses.
Please watch Dr Chiara Bonacchi's guest seminar below: Heritage and Nationalism: Using big(ger) data to deconstruct populist discourse
Dr Miles Russell
Dr Miles Russell is Senior Lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman archaeology. He graduated from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1988 and worked as a field officer for the UCL Field Archaeology Unit and as a project manager for the Oxford Archaeological Unit, joining Bournemouth University in 1993. He has conducted fieldwork across the UK as well as in Germany, Sicily and Russia. He is currently director of Regnum and co-director of the Durotriges Project, both investigating the transition from the Iron Age to Roman period across SE and SW Britain and co-director of Bournemouth University's archaeological field school. He gained his doctorate, on Neolithic monumental architecture, in 2000 and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2006. View Dr Miles Russell's profile.
The idea that an invading Roman army violently brought about the end of hillforts in south\west Britain in AD 43, conquering the local tribes and imposing a new administrative order to the land, is one of the most powerful narratives in British archaeology. Recent discoveries by students and staff of Bournemouth University, however, have prompted a re-evaluation of the archaeological evidence, suggesting that everything we thought we knew about this period is fundamentally wrong.
Please watch Dr Miles Russell's guest seminar below: In the Footsteps of Vespasian: rethinking the Iron Age / Roman transition in Dorset”
Dr Sara Perry
Dr Sara Perry is Director of Research and Engagement at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), and formerly Senior Lecturer in Cultural Heritage Management at the University of York, UK. She was a lead on the EU-funded EMOTIVE Project (www.emotiveproject.eu) and has published widely on archaeological interpretation, public engagement and the participatory development of interactive experiences, as well as evaluating responses to archaeological and heritage media. View Dr Sara Perry's profile.
Although many have called for – and attempted to enact – forms of practice that aim to repair or reconfigure our discipline along lines that are just, sustainable and equitable, these efforts often fail to fundamentally alter archaeology’s underlying structures and pernicious rote methodologies. Here, I argue that unless we consciously adopt and consistently apply a framework of design justice (Costanza-Chock 2020), long-standing disciplinary oppressions will persist. I review a number of recent propositions around nurturing care, hope, emotion, and enchantment in archaeology. I then make the case that such seemingly ephemeral concepts can be consistently actualised in our methods, in our programmes, in our training, and across our professional and academic institutions through a purposeful engagement with design justice theory and method, borne in part of the fields of information technology and human-computer interactions. I highlight some simple examples of what a justly-designed archaeology could look like, and I conclude by pointing our eyes towards emerging initiatives that take seriously the design process, and in so doing provide archaeologists with a framework that can truly hold us to account.
Pleasse watch Dr Sara Perry's guest seminar below: Designing affect into archaeology: structural and methodological reparations for a more responsive and responsible discipline