The archaeology of the recent past
December 22, 2016 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Please enjoy In Transit, a short film documenting the work of archaeologists as they excavate a 1991 Ford Transit Van. John Schofield, the project's principal investigator, specializes in the archaeology of the recent past.
posted by Morpeth (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The overlapping commentary is extremely distracting and annoying.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:55 PM on December 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Oh, man, I feel the same way. I kept watching, thinking it was a technique just in the intro, until the cluster headache was fully formed.

It's a fascinating idea and I wish it had been presented differently.
posted by mochapickle at 6:01 PM on December 22, 2016

I had high hopes for this, but I couldn't get over/under/around the audio. Panning the channels helps a little, but...
posted by Sutekh at 6:08 PM on December 22, 2016

If archaeologists got a kick out of that, they will surely enjoy excavating the locksmith's van swallowed by the summer 2016 Ottawa sinkhole and subsequently encased in concrete.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:54 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ah yes, this brings me back. That was a couple of years before I was at Bristol for my masters, but I've spent many a night in the pub with Greg who produced that video. John had moved on by then, but I do recall it was a presentation topic for the undergrad archaeology club once.

It was definitely an interesting excavation. There were several finds of old and lost finds, such as a medieval coin and I think also a projectile point.

The landrovers we had access to were not in much better condition than the van, post-excavation, either.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:44 PM on December 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Loved the overlapping audio, it's really immersive and kept my ear more attentive than if I'd been listening to conventional interviews. And when it wasn't fully discernable, it provided an abstract version of the experience of the moment. Inventive style choice.
posted by scrowdid at 11:29 PM on December 22, 2016

If archaeologists got a kick out of that, they will surely enjoy excavating the locksmith's van swallowed by the summer 2016 Ottawa sinkhole and subsequently encased in concrete.

I'm still waiting to do ruin-porn urban exploration in the abandoned tunnels of the over-ambitious Ottawa subway project. Any minute now ....
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:07 AM on December 23, 2016

Wow Sebastien. I hadn't heard of that sinkhole. It's lucky they swiftly covered it up with 3000 cubic metres of concrete. It's such a pity that will hamper any investigation into the cause.

I think I can explain the weird editing. These scientists obviously recorded everything meticulously. I believe the editing reflects the frame of mind of the film-makers after sifting through the doubtless hours of footage. The epilogue clearly says fuck this van, it's eaten three months of my life.

Special note: For best sound results with this video, place your speakers far apart.

Oh sure, that's what I did wrong. I should have rearranged the furniture. Or pulled apart my laptop. Or grown my head a foot wider. Silly me.
posted by adept256 at 4:00 AM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love this. The audio's pretty interesting - almost gives it the feel of a 3D immersive exhibit. One of the great benefits of my work is being able to spend a lot of time with archaeologists. It's a wonderful field. I think most would agree that it is "like a normal archeology project," as one of the investigators here says, but it's a sweet one and a great demonstration of the power of physical research.
posted by Miko at 5:42 AM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was really expecting this to be a project by CLUI, REBAR, or a similar art group.

I'm pretty sure it's a good thing that there are genuine scholars doing some of the inventive and strange things I associate with situationist-style semi-serious parody of scholarship. . . but it's still a bit surprising. Unlike most such projects (the Burning Man archaeologists, to pick a recent example), their claims seem to be reasonable and consistent with what they're actually doing. Or, in short, hooray!
posted by eotvos at 10:58 AM on December 23, 2016

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