Editorial

By Carver, Martin | Antiquity, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Editorial


Carver, Martin, Antiquity


In spite of its name, Antiquity is a modern business--a creature of today. Maybe our heart lies deep in the past, but our head is here and now. We aim to move with the times--or just ahead of them--making the past necessary, accessible and relevant. So stand by for broadcasts from our website, and for those numerous readers who have never heard my voice, this may come as a shock; but once the horror relapses please reflect that the spoken word often reveals more than the written, and revealing more is our game. My first comments are about this website itself, which over the last few years has acquired a personality of its own, incorporating all the things that our old extended editorials were before the internet was invented and the pressure of submissions tied the editor (by self-denying ordinance) into four pages maximum in the printed journal.

On the website, exquisitely refurbished by our digital couturier Pat Gibbs, you will find the Journal and next to it the Bulletin. The journal is the journal, the same that you can read in codex form--but with every page published since 1927 digitised and searchable by word and phrase. This facility tells you who wrote that article on the church of Debra Dama Ethiopia (Derek Matthews), when David Clarke's innocence was debared, and by whom (1973), and what editor Glyn Daniel found at the tomb of Saint Erkembode (a pair of bootees). It's probably worth stressing to those who have still to discover its wonders, that this online archive is not only invaluable to researchers, but is handy for students writing essays and teachers setting topics. Just give them a few keywords and watch them go. To guide the readers through the archive--available to our subscribers (we had to pay a lot to create it)--each quarter will feature an Editor's choice of articles and reviews.

The Bulletin, which is just to your right if you are listening to this 'pod', will be new to webophobes and you may be wondering what it is and why we have it. Well now, its principal function is to bring you news--news of archaeologists, news of projects and news of conferences to come. It exists only on the web and is on 'open access' as we say nowadays, in other words free to everyone.

The Bulletin has three main bits, each tossed on to your screen by the click of a button. The button labelled Recent doctorates lists newly completed PhDs, .As everyone knows, the award of a doctorate does not necessarily make a thesis available, but using out facility means that this new piece of major research can be announced to the world within a few minutes of its author donning the hat and gown. It offers a small hand of support in that scary time that can separate the completion of a dissertation from an actual job. To put your work on the ether, just email us with the details.

The button labelled Tributes celebrates the lives of archaeologists who have died. Before you dismiss this as "ah--obituaries', I'd like to try and interest you in two innovations of presentation and selection that make this something warmer and more informative than the usual. We are all familiar with the orotund eulogy in which a broadsheet sings the praises of a life laden with honours--and apparendy unblemished by public failure or the small private catastrophes of ordinary mortals. Moreover, the choice of those singled out for the notice of the gods--and the still more arbitrary omission of others--is sometimes puzzling. To counter these undemocratic, Prunkgraber tendencies and to enlighten the celebrity blindness that afflicts the media and the chattering classes, Antiquity offers a chamber of mourning in which all may be remembered. And any mourner can make their comment there, short or long, so that we create not so much one solemn official verdict as an affectionate bundle of tributes; anyone can add a bouquet to the grave. In the fullness of time my hope is that these contributions will build a veritable prosopography of the practising archaeologists of our time. …

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