‘A masterpiece in political propaganda’ and a futile exercise in archaeological blogging

Posted: 07/05/2014 in free archaeology, Research
Tags: ,

Doug Rocks-Macqueen (@openaccessarch) and Chris Webster (@ArcheoWebby) have meticulously (and patiently, up-to-the-last-minute) edited an open access book on blogging archaeology.


Following the book’s publication, Doug made the point, obvious to bloggers and readers but necessary in academia, that we should use sources because of their content, not their format. I’ve just submitted an article that shows how blogging and microblogging can provide mass expert advice on and open peer review of work-in-progress; my first blog post on free archaeology, Volunteering, Training and Crowdfunding, was directly informed by the tweets, blog posts and blog comments of more than twenty cultural heritage students and workers within the first week of the discussion.

Free archaeology and unfree archaeology

First and foremost, Emily Johnson (@ejarchaeology) has a chapter on #freearchaeology.
Also, I have a chapter on political interference in research into the illicit antiquities trade.

On the 11th of April, 2010, after a 28-hour journey home from a conference, I found an e-mail to myself and my supervisors. Its author ‘protest[ed my] words and alleged findings concerning the looting of the Cypriot Cultural heritage’; stated that it was ‘very obvious’ that I had ‘never visited [the] North part of Cyprus’ and that I was ‘heavily under the Greek fic[ti]tious propaganda’; asserted that my findings were ‘fic[ti]tious’; and informed me that, ‘although [he] could not read [my] thesis’, he ‘strongly believe[d]’ that it was ‘also fic[ti]tious and ha[d] no academic value’ (Atun, 2010n). It was certainly fictitious insofar as it had not yet been written.
Having met the e-mail’s author, Turkish Cypriot Near East University Prof. Ata Atun, in the north part of Cyprus (in Famagusta in 2007), I remembered that he was also a journalist, searched for keywords from my paper and was horrified by what I found. I challenged my accusers, reasoned with their publishers (unsuccessfully), and blogged the research paper and multiple defences. However, they had scored their point and moved on. On that occasion, at least, my archaeological blogging appears to have been the equivalent of boxing someone else’s shadow.

Hardy, S A. 2014: “‘A masterpiece in political propaganda’ and a futile exercise in archaeological blogging”. In Rocks-Macqueen, D and Webster, C (Eds.). Blogging archaeology, 93-120. Sheffield: Landward Research with Succinct Research and DIGTECH. [chapter/book/issuu]


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