Saturday, 28 December 2019

Writing on Archaeology for the Wider Public

Interesting discussion of raising standards in archaeology writing for the public: Andre Costopoulos, 'Alternatives to the word “mysterious”: A short guide to writing archaeology headlines for media editors', ArcheoThoughts December 28, 2019
In short, I think editors, in constructing their archaeology headlines, should favour terms that denote interest and excitement, but that also invite further inquiry. They should be words that point to action rather than contemplation, that highlight opportunities rather than showing distance and unattainability.
They should definitely be words that avoid reinforcing the quite mistaken impression that there is a cabal of keepers of arcane archaeological knowledge, hell-bent on hiding the truth from the sleep-walking masses, lest they emancipate. Or if there is, I’m still waiting for my invitation.
Archaeology is about asking and answering questions about the past with extremely limited, fragmentary, and imperfect evidence. It is quite mysterious enough as it is.

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