Conference season is coming up, which means that for a lot of people who 'do' archaeology, it's time to take a step back and get some big-picture perspective. Our friend Middle Savagery is definitely a 'do'er and brings this interesting challenge to the upcoming roundtable of Archaeo-Bloggers that will meet at the annual Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Meeting in Sacramento, CA March 30-Apr 3: to answer a question or two in the run up to the meeting about what the heck it means to blog archaeology.
At the risk of being so meta- that I entirely cease to exist, I have to admit I'm intrigued by the idea of knowing the whys and wheretofores of digital short-form non peer reviewed archaeological publication. So, here's the question for the week (and somewhere below, my response...):
The emergence of the short form, or blog entry, is becoming a popular way to transmit a wide range of archaeological knowledge. What is the place of this conversation within academic, professional, and public discourse? Simply put, what can the short form do for archaeology?
There really isn't a definitive answer to this (cop out!). My first post on this blog explains why I started it, but it can all be summed up as: some stuff is interesting, but doesn't fit into any other acceptable format to share. Blogs provide an easily digestible chunk of words (and hopefully pictures or video) that doesn't demand a million-dollar subscription to an academic journal. The informal format means that the tone is conversational, rather than pedantic, and I always imagine that my audience (beyond my mom--hi mom!) is basically my students, people who might like to be my students, or people who have accidentally become my students because they wandered into my field or outreach projects all unwitting.
Also, because somebody needs to tell the world what archaeology is really like (thanks Tollan Films!):