Volume 3 - Editorial

EDITORIAL: A bridge too far close


Jaime Almansa Sánchez
Elena Papagiannopoulou

Year by year, editing the journal becomes more complicated with the increasing load of work. Old and new projects interfere with a process that is time-consuming, especially for only two people. When this adventure started in 2010 we saw this as ‘a bridge too far’, but it turned out to be too close. Despite the delay in publishing this volume, we are out with new, quality content and plans for a brighter future.

This year has been special for us. Our friend journal Public Archaeology has been listed by the ISI Journal Citation Index, upgrading our discipline considerably. Brazil is back in business with Arqueología Pública, and a new Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage will see the light of day in a few months. Besides, the first Italian public archaeology congress took place last autumn (see Zuanni’s review), and the Public Archaeology Group (the PAG) has organized its two first sessions for the VI JIA and the 19th EAA Meeting, while it also headed the setting of a new working group within the European organization with the aim to promote a better public archaeology, clearly defined and organized, within which we all can share and improve our activities.

In the meantime, AP Journal volume 3 is the consolidation of a project that can now look ahead with clearer ideas and goals. The first one is a new concept of the forum; we want it to be an essential part of the journal and thus we will open more interactive channels for comments and participation through the blog, while we will also combine current topics with long-term debates. This year, we open the debate on looting with a first block of papers on metal detecting and looting. The debate will continue in the years to come.

The first paper looks at the press coverage of the Nile mission during the building of the Aswan dam in Egypt, a remarkable moment in the history of heritage protection and the birth of rescue archaeology. The way we communicate, the value we give to certain sites, and the role of archaeology in the context of vast infrastructure works are some of the topics that arise from the paper, which was initially intended to feature in a special volume that failed to be completed.

Again in Africa, Bertram Mapunda offers an essential work attempting to answer what happens when engagement fails and communities do not share the value we give to archaeological remains. We are used to sharing success examples, but working with the public does not always end as we expect. This paper is a great starting point to reflect on our role in engaging communities and the way to develop better strategies for the protection and value of archaeological heritage.

Back in Europe, the third paper presents a very interesting project in Vignale (Italy), whereby the archaeological site becomes a ‘movie’ as part of the documentation and communication strategy. Such initiatives give us the opportunity to get inspired and think about new ways of doing public archaeology while working on the field.

One of the central topics of this volume is cinema. The last paper delves into the concept of ‘time travel’, analyzing how this was treated in recent (2010 and 2012) Oscars award winning films. Dystopian futures (and pasts) are a reflection of our imagined time, and cinema is the showroom of the public (and intellectual) perception of the world. This is a rather uncommon and risky topic in archaeology, but one that we find both extremely interesting and useful.

But fiction does not end here. This year’s ‘Points of You’ comes from Lancaster Williams, the main (fictional) character of an innovative novel recently published in Spain (yes, by us, in Spanish, but soon in English too). In the previous volume we reviewed another great work: Death by Theory. Now we want to bring literature to life with the words of a real archaeologist that lives in a novel.

The reviews start with the chronicle of the Italian congress of public archaeology. The second review is about cultural heritage protection in armed conflicts. The third review brings us an essential work on public archaeology: the result of a working session in the framework of the Archaeology in Contemporary Europe (ACE) project. Finally, this section includes three works on heritage management, which were initially intended to be included in the aforementioned failed special volume about public archaeology in vast infrastructure works.

That is all for this year, but we already have some material for the next volume and two special volumes are on their way to be published in the next few months. We would like to take the chance to thank all the people who helped this journal grow. We would also like to announce the promotion of Elena Papagiannopoulou to editor and the opening of some vacancies for assistant editors to help improve the journal. We will spread the call soon. Meanwhile, enjoy volume 3.

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Before closing this editorial, we should once again make 3 fast announcements:

1. Call for debate:
Up to now, we do not see our Facebook page very open for debate, and our experience in creating debate on the web has not been very positive except few occasions. But sometimes debates happen online. That is why we would like to encourage you to participate in debates, wherever the action is, and if you find a topic interesting, bring it to the journal.
Moreover, the blog offers some space for participation and we will upload all the forums there so that you can follow the thread and comment on topics that we find very interesting.

2. Call for papers:
After Volume 3, Volume 4 will be published in 2014. We still have an open call for papers, which you can submit whenever you prefer. As publication in January seemed a utopia, we set March as the publishing month. As this seems a utopia too, we intend to grow the editorial team, to try meeting deadlines instead of delaying publication year by year. In any case, we need to keep the deadline for submissions in autumn in order to have enough time, especially if the number of papers received keeps increasing. We hope to receive new papers as soon as possible, which will give us time to work patiently and get things done in a timely, consistent manner. In case you have any suggestions, questions, or doubts, please feel free to email us.

3. Call for donations:
As long as JAS Arqueología is alive, it will take care of this journal. As you already know, AP is a free-access and not-for-profit journal. Thus, maintaining it is expensive, in terms of both money and time invested. The philosophy of the journal is to provide the widest access at the lowest cost, but in order to not only improve the quality and efficiency of the content but also continue its publication there is a need for funding. Donations of any amount will be truly appreciated. This year we would like to express once again our sincere appreciation and gratitude to our donors, hoping the list will grow.
The future of this journal depends on you. Your contribution will make a big difference.
Remember there are two ways to contribute:
-Direct donation via PayPal on our web page.
-Purchase of the paper version. There is a NEW fixed price of 10€. Just ask us.

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