Back from the dead: The Oxford Archaeological Society


Joshua Boddington discusses the revival of the Oxford Archaeological society.

Bringing things back to life is what archaeologists do. Not in the literal sense, but we make history tangible again through talks, exhibits, fieldwork, museums etc. In 2019, the Oxford University’s Archaeological Society turned 100 years old.

We make history tangible again through talks, exhibits, fieldwork, museums etc…

That’s 100 years of great minds coming together to talk about the past, to present their ideas, and go beyond their own degree. Unfortunately, for the last two years the society has been dormant – to the dismay of many incoming undergraduate’s and graduate students. However, it was thanks to the efforts of Amy Bogaard, head of the School of Archaeology, encouraging current students to resurrect the society that I can now say with pride and excitement that the society had its first event on Friday the 31 st January: a welcome drinks event that will include a talk and a display of the societies own archives.

To revive a society is not an easy task, especially one as historic as this, so there is a lot of pressure to get right. Furthermore, the university sanctions any society that dies, preventing you from using ‘Oxford University’ in the title and barring access to the mailing list. Not to be deterred, the society found new leadership and leadership of old, former president Gonzalo Linares alongside second year archaeology and anthropology student Giulia Meacci have worked hard to craft a term-card of speaker and social events. What seemed almost a joke among friends sat at a pub table following a rainy field trip, has now become reality with a brand new logo and Instagram account.

To revive a society is not an easy task, especially one as historic as this.

The Oxford Archaeological Society is something old and something new. It is a society that welcomes membership from diverse backgrounds, from current and former students, professors, professionals: all those with an interest in archaeology are welcome at its events. While archaeology might have a stereotype of being for ageing professors as dusty as the objects they study, in reality it is a forward thinking, ever changing discipline. This term all events are free, open to the public and student body alike, with no sign up necessary, and refreshments are on offer at all talks. The termcard can be found on the societies Facebook or Instagram pages or in the various archaeological departments of the university.

Image credit: self-provided


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