Moving Images: Films, Video And Archaeology

Convened By
Carole Lazio (USA) and Serge Lemaître (Belgium)

Theme Details
Carole Lazio
Independent researcher/media consultant
55 West 55th St-#11 (PHS)
New York, NY 10019 USA

Serge LeMaître
Doctoral candidate, Fonds Van Buuren
Université Libre de Bruxelles
50 av. Fr. Roosevelt, C.P. 175
1050 Brussels, Belgium

Ever since some of the earliest archaeological discoveries were recorded with clumsy 35mm equipment, progress in the field has been documented with varying success using an evolving and increasingly flexible gamut of moving image technology. These technological changes continue to affect the nature of what can conveniently be documented, and have been simultaneously transforming the economics of and possibilities for production and distribution of filmed images.

Drawn from a range of cultural and social perspectives, papers included in this theme explore how moving images have been used over time as a technique for scientific research, documentation, and communication or have been employed to represent the discipline as a source of scientific or historical authority for national or cultural identification, definition, or propaganda.

The sessions are meant to provide examples of opportunities offered by progressing beyond simple scrutiny for details of content accuracy toward a more nuanced appreciation of the power latent in the interplay between filmed images and archaeology.


Nationalism And Politics In Films About Archaeology

Organized By
Sultana Zorpidu (Greece) and Peter S. Allen (United States)

Session Details
The genre of films dealing with archaeological topics can take many forms including fictional films, television documentaries, news reels, museum-produced videos, educational films, and animated films (cartoons). All of these can provide information of a general or specific nature about archaeological matters.

However, their production style, commentary and the interpretations they offer often reflect political and national influences introduced by the biases of the filmmakers and/or producers, the television channel, or the archaeologists themselves. As a result, films about archaeology must be seen as a means of using the past to derive or justify contemporaneous national or political systems. On this basis, we propose a provocative thesis: That many archaeological films reflect more about the political background of their time than they do about archaeology itself.

Papers in this session will explore this topic in different countries, cultures, and time periods. Presentations include illustrative film and video clips from a variety of sources.
Nationalism In Archaeological Film: The Case In The United States
Peter S. Allen (Department of Anthropology, Rhode Island College, Providence, R.I., USA) Ancient Rome and Romanian Film in the Ceausescu Era
Ruth Lindner (Vienna, Austria and Wƒrberg, Germany)
Mediatized Archaeologies And Domesticated Pasts: UK Television’s Stories About People And Things
Angela Piccini (PARIP-Practice as Research in Performance, Department of Drama, Theatre, Film, Television, University of Bristol, UK) “KÝnnte Muttererde eindringlicher zu unssprechen?” (“Could Mother Earth Talk More Urgently to Us?”) Archaeology on film during the “ThirdReich”
Tom Stern (Ruhrlandmuseum Essen, Essen, Germany)
Archaeology As A Political Enterprise: Film Archaeologists In National And Colonial Scenarios
Sultana Zorpidu (Albert-Ludwigs-Universit…t Freiburg Archaeologische Institut, Fahnenbergplatz, Germany) Archaeology as Graverobbing
Adam Fish (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, 21223 Marine View Drive, Seattle WA 98166 USA)
The Foreign In Archaeological Film. About The Strategies Of Making The Foreign To Something Present
Patricia Rahemipour

Session Time
Day Wednesday Date 25th June
Time 4-6pm Room Pryzbyla 323

Video As A Tool For Archaeologists

Organized By
Serge Lemaître (Belgium)

Session Details
En francais

Cette session envisage de montrer l’importance de video comme un outil archéologique.

Devenue plus petite, plus maniable, moins onéreuse, la vidéo peut être emmenée et utilisée par tout et chacun. L’archéologue peut utiliser la vidéo comme simple outil de documentation de la fouille, pour dresser un portrait de l’équipe et des techniques mises en oeuvre. Le résultat devient alors document historique et épistémologique. La vidéo peut être un complément au dessin et à la photographie dans les différents enregistrements. Comme pour les ralentis sportifs, ‘archéologue peut revoir toute sa séquence de travail. Il peut ainsi faire des observations qui lui avaient échappé auparavant.

L’intérêt majeur du vidéo est de présenter des séquences dynamiques et rendre perceptibles des événements ou des plans qu’il est impossible d’obtenir autrement. Il vient immédiatement à l’esprit l’intérêt pour l’ethnoarchéologie et l’archéologie expérimentale où des séquences filmées peuvent rendre compte des différentes étapes pour façonner une poterie, faire une coulée de bronze ou tailler un silex. L’étude des œuvres artistiques est également facilitée par la vidéo. Par exemple, le chercheur en art rupestre peut capter de très longues frises ornées impossibles à capter en une fois par la photographie ou encore, le film permet de faire des visites virtuelles de monuments sans en affecter la conservation.

Nous le voyons une multitude d’emploi du film s’offrent aux archéologues. De plus, dorénavant, ces différentes séquences peuvent être présentées sur des sites internet, seules ou en complément d’un article électronique ou non.

Présentations représentant un écart de pays et cultures sont prévues.

In english

This session intends to stress video as an important tool in archaeological field work.

Video equipment has become more compact, more user-friendly and less expensive, making it possible for the archaeologist to use the video camera to simply document an excavation or to create a portrait of the excavation team and the techniques used during their work. The resulting footage then becomes a historical and epistemological document.

Video can function as a recording tool to complement drawing and photography in assembling site documentation. As with slow motion sequences in sports, this permits the archaeologist to review the whole work sequence and make observations that may have been overlooked previously.

However, a unique advantage video offers over other recording tools is the ability to follow activities in transition and to record events or views that it would be impossible to capture effectively using other methods. Ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology, where filmed sequences can show stages of pottery manufacture or bronze casting, come to mind immediately.

Video can also facilitate the study of works of art. For example, the rock art researcher can document very long decorated walls that it would be impossible to capture in a single photograph. It can also enable virtual visits to monuments without threatening their conservation.

Thus there are a multitude of ways archaeologists can use video in the field. Furthermore, nowadays, a variety of these applications can be presented on the Web, on their own or as a complement to an article, whether in electronic or more traditional formats.

It is anticipated that presentations will cover a diverse range of countries and cultures.

Contact Information: Serge Lemaître (Belgium)

Visual Imagery, Artistic Representation And Story Telling In Archaeological Research
Thomas Carr (Archaeologist, Colorado Historical Society, Denver) A Whisper of Palm Leaves : video and the ethnoarchaeological analysis of ancient technology
Willeke Wendrich (Asst. Prof. Egyptian Archaeology, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, USA)
The Prehistoric Mounds Of Uruguay: Linking The Past And The Future

Cecilia Manosa and A. Gwynn Henderson (Kentucky Archaeological Survey, USA) The Canadian Shield rock paintings: video and recording
Serge Lemaitre (Université de Bruxelles, 50 av. Fr. Roosevelt, Brussels, Belgium)

Session Time
Day Wednesday Date 25th June
Time 11.30AM-1PM Room Pryzbyla 323