Contemporary & Historical Archaeology in Theory Conference 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Map Orkney Month: Multi-vocal cartography and the collaborative re-imagining of place. During March 2015 I undertook a public mapping project in Orkney. This aimed to re-map the archipelago from everyday journeys and places; a county-wide archaeological walkover survey with a difference. This was my contribution to Public Archaeology 2015, a collaborative project aimed at engaging the public in archaeology. By thinking big, Map Orkney Month captured people’s imagination. For participants, the only loose instructions were to record journeys for a single day within March using a handheld GPS or smart phone, and record one site of their choice. The emphasis (from my point of view at any rate) was on mundane journeys, less familiar places, stories and the drawing out of heritage sites through enacting or choreographing the project. In this way, the process of collaboration and collective mapping was as important as the final outcome. Together, a new map of Orkney was created from acts of counter-mapping and creativity. In addition, imaginary sites were encouraged from Orkney, and people based elsewhere, in order to blur the distinction further between past, present, future; real and imaginary. The results from this brand of collaborative public archaeology were experimental and unexpected. This paper reflects upon the mapping process, the varied results from individual mappers and their feedback. It concludes by exploring the potential of collaborative mapping for archaeology and the role it could play in democratising heritage.
Period30 Oct 20151 Nov 2015
Event typeConference
LocationSheffield, United KingdomShow on map


  • Mapping
  • participation
  • archaeology
  • Orkney