#InventedFantasies – A Talk About Talking About Archaeology

Pic: The title slide from the lecture I gave at Carleton University

After a chilly fieldwork day, I was excited to find this beautiful gift waiting for me at home – a special copy of my Shannon Lecture Poster!

On October 19, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to give a public lecture at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON, as part of the 2018 Shannon Lecture series. This year’s theme is “Bad Archaeology”, organized by Dr. Shawn Graham. My lecture, entitled “#InventedFantasies: Using Social Media to Talk About Pseudoarchaeology”, covered a wide array of topics that I presented in a general manner with a non-archaeological audience in mind. The overall theme of the talk was communication – pseudoarchaeology is a real concern and archaeologists need to address this through improved communication. Pseudoarchaeology demonstrates that the public is interested in archaeology, but the problem is that they don’t have easy access to archaeology. Instead pseudoarchaeology is what they have the most access to through bookstores, TV shows, and websites. We as archaeologists need to improve our communication and open archaeology up. We need to bring ourselves out from behind expensive paywalls and jargon-filled conference talks. I used my experiences as a First Gen student to highlight the points I was trying to make and spoke about the need for archaeologists to become better communicators. To open ourselves and our field up and to share the knowledge we have and the tools we use for acquiring knowledge. I also spoke about how social media can be a useful tool for us to improve our communication. I didn’t get as detailed about the topic as what I easily could have, but I hoped to leave the audience with a general introduction and enough details to peak their curiosity to learn more. More importantly, I spoke with the goal of sharing knowledge – I wanted the audience to gain the tools they needed in order to be able to identify pseudoarchaeology themselves once they left that lecture room.

A sneak peek at some of the results from the Survey of Canadian Beliefs, which I shared in my lecture

And on the topic of sharing, rather than me writing out a huge post about my talk, why not just share the talk itself? Dr. Graham and his students have taken the awesome step of recording all of the Shannon Lectures, both on video and audio (a great way to open archaeology up to the public!). Eventually, I’ll find a way to put my lecture slides online. And in the very near future I’ll write a post sharing more specific results from the survey on Canadian beliefs that I ran for this lecture. But in the meantime, if you’re interested in hearing my lecture (and the other Shannon lectures), you can find it both in a Youtube format and a podcast format. Please enjoy!

Steph Halmhofer’s Shannon Lecture on Youtube

Steph Halmhofer’s Shannon Lecture in a Podcast


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