My first TAG

I’ve come back home from England since 3 days. It’s time to write something about my first TAG experience, that has been also the first conference where I was engaged. I took part in it with my friend Stefano Costa with a paper entitled “Excava(c)tion in Vignale. Archaeology on the stage, archaeology on the Web”.

I got to Birmingham with my friend Alessandro Carabia (Stefano couldn’t come because of fieldwork) after a long journey on a bus from Stansted Airport. At Hatter’s Hostel, we noticed immediately that many people were archaeologists coming to TAG even if we didn’t know anyone.

At the conference

Next day we went to University of Birmingham and, after a fast quest, we found the building where the conference was held. We had studied the programme so, for the first day we try to follow part of two different sessions: “Narrating the gap between observation and visualisation” and “Life after death: how we do theory & what theory should do for us“. About the first one, I liked so much the first paper “Invisible Monuments” of Aaron Watson, that told us about multisensory engagements with the sites. Regarding the latter, the discussion in the end was great, Carver, Kristiansen et alii were speaking about the death of archaeological theory.

The second day was my day, so we follow Dr. Web-love session all the day. After lunch I was ready to speak in front of the quite numerous public in the lecture room. I told about our Vignale 2011 exvaction season, about my experience with videos in archaeology and I launched the new docudrama “Morte a Vignale”. The only thing I was worried about were my listening skills in English. Fortunately, I readily understood all the questions people asked me for. Some of those were also very interesting. The actual 150 visits we have had until now for Morte a Vignale I think are a good evidence that my presentation had success.

In the evening there were the quiz and the party. For the quiz, Alessandro and me were in trouble because almost all the questions regarded English archaeology. So we couldn’t help a lot the other components of our team in solving the questions Carver were reading. The party was very weird from a point of view of an Italian student (and now graduated) in archaeology. We couldn’t imagine professors and students dance together at the end of a conference. This party was also the stage where Alessandro and me talked to Martin Carver, who tried (successfully) to answer in Italian. We met many nice Dutch archaelogists and we spent with them our evening.

The third and last day of TAG we did a difficult choice: we jumped the conference in the morning in order to visit Birmingham. I didn’t like it a lot, it’s a modern city and usually I don’t like modern cities. Fortunately there were some German street markets and we had a good lunch with wurstel! After that we went to University for the afternoon sessions. We followed “Digging diversity” until the coffee and then “Time for a change? Practice theory and tradition in archaeology“.  The former was interesting but very focused on England, however the latter was interesting as well but very difficult to follow in a foreign language.

Birmingham

All in all, TAG 2011 was a great conference! I like the way it has been organized with different sessions and so many speakers and also the location, University of Birmingham. Hope to take part also next year!

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