The dynamic processes of knowledge production in archaeology and elsewhere in the humanities and social sciences are increasingly viewed within the context of negotiation, cooperation and exchange, as the collaborative effort of groups, clusters and communities of scholars. Shifting focus from the individual scholar to the wider social contexts of her work, this volume investigates the importance of informal networks and conversation in the creation of knowledge about the past, and takes a closer look at the dynamic interaction and exchange that takes place between individuals, groups and clusters of scholars in the wider social settings of scientific work. Various aspects of and mechanisms at work behind the interaction and exchange that takes place between the individual scholar and her community, and the creative processes that such encounters trigger, are critically examined in eleven chapters which draw on a wide spectrum of examples from Europe and North America: from early modern antiquarians to archaeological societies and practitioners at work during the formative years of the modern archaeological disciplines and more recent examples from the twentieth century. The individual chapters engage with theoretical approaches to scientific creativity, knowledge production and interaction such as sociology and geographies of science, and actor-network theory (ANT) in their examination of individual–collective interplay. The book caters to readers both from within and outside the archaeological disciplines; primarily intended for researchers, teachers and students in archaeology, anthropology, classics and the history of science, it will also be of interest to the general reader.
This book is the result of over ten years’ work and has involved the development of new methodological approaches, fieldwork and detailed scholarship. The first chapters were prepared during a Livesey Fellowship sabbatical grant, and I must acknowledge the support of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in this for having confidence in my work. The editorial work was aided by funding from the School of Forensic and Applied Science at UCLan and was supported by Michael Mulqueen. Some of the case studies in this book were developed between 2004 and 2007 during my PhD, and I would like to thank Heinrich Härke for his tireless supervision during that period. Many thanks are also due to Tania Dickinson and Karen Høilund Neilson for advice. In particular, I would like to thank John Hines and Birte Brugmann for their advice and for access to prepublication copies of the four cemeteries volume (Penn and Brugmann 2007) and the early Anglo-Saxon chronologies volume (Hines and Bayliss 2013). In addition I would like to thank Josh Pollard for including this book in the Social Archaeology and Material Worlds series, and to Manchester University Press editors Alun Richards, Emma Brennan and Meredith Carroll for their hard work, editorial advice and support at various stages. I would like to acknowledge the valuable comments of two anonymous peer reviewers in shaping and improving this volume. I have been assisted by the comments of Helena Hamerow, Catherine Hills and Sarah Semple on various chapters, and must thank Sarah for her enthusiasm for this project; it helped me to see it to the end.
Richard Mortimer, Rob Wiseman and my sister-in-law Faye Sayer were all instrumental in the Oakington excavation, which took place between 2010 and 2014 and was fundamental to the evolution of ideas and directions in this volume. Furthermore, I am indebted to Michelle Wienhold for her contribution to the spatial statistics, James Morris for advice on geographic information systems (GIS) and statistics, Allison Stewart for her work on teeth, Erin Sebo for discussions about literature during our various collaborations, Patrick Randolph-Quinney for his advice on skeletal metrics and height, and Jenny Hockey for discussions about material culture, in particular the sociology of shoes. My thanks also to Susan Hirst for providing copies of the plans from Mucking to James Barrett, on behalf of the McDonald Institute, to Sam Lucy and Catherine Hills for permission to reproduce illustrations of Spong Hill, to Annia Cherryson for sharing a copy of her Master’s thesis and to Indra Werthmann for illustrations and references relating to Frankish cemeteries.
Two people have seen this project evolve from beginning to end. Chris King was a partner during writing workshops which saw a number of chapters and illustrations completed, as well as in endless discussions about structure and style. Meredith Carroll has been the most supportive of all, having seen the process from the beginning, and I am truly sorry that she did not see the final phases of work. I must also thank Georgina Moore, Nick Baker and Natalie Hickie, who all tolerated, supported or encouraged my writing in various ways. My colleagues have been impeccable and must be recognised as a result because a project like this takes a considerable toll on a small team. In particular Vicki Cummings, James Morris, Seren Griffiths, Dave Robinson and Rick Peterson all made space and time to allow this work to happen. My PhD students must also be recognised for their tolerance in the final months; Justine Biddle and Allison Stewart in particular waited for me with patience as they journeyed through their own writing projects.
For a dyslexic author there is no doubt that some of the most important people in the process of preparing a monograph are the proofreaders and editors. As a consequence I would particularly like to thank Julia Roberts, who assisted me in the preparation of the chapters for the original book proposal, and Talya Bagwell who had the unenviable task of reading and assisting with the manuscript at various stages. Talya worked swiftly and professionally, and I am truly grateful to her for her efforts, without which this volume would not have been possible. Despite these many supporters, all of the errors in the archaeology, grammar or spelling within this volume remain my own.