Archon Day 2018

Looking back on Archon Day 2018

Archon Day 2018 took place on Friday 26 October. Students and professional researchers from different institutions got together at the RCE in Amersfoort, to talk about archaeological practice and academic education. It was an inspiring day with an energetic crowd. We are already excited for the next edition. But before we look ahead, here’s a recap of Archon Day 2018 and its main takeaways.

“I am glad that I picked the 2018 Archon Day as my first educational activity hosted by Archon, as it would turn out to be a truly energizing and inspirational day.” Vita Gerritsen, RMA student, UvA.

And the winners are…

We started the Archon Day with lunch and the annual poster competition. We want to congratulate Sophie Jorgensen-Rideout and Elizabeth Hicks with winning the panel and audience prize. Sophie’s poster (A Change in Heart(h)) was the panel jury’s favorite. Elizabeth’s (‘The Gendered Household’) came out as the top pick from the audience. Their work was awarded an Archon Conference Subsidy which will allow them both to present their research at an international conference.

“The Archon day provided a really good opportunity to share my research with others, as well as participate in some amazing discussions on current issues in Archaeology.” Sophie Jorgenson-Rideout, RMA student, Leiden University.

An Archon day with impact

This year we incorporated a new component in the program of the Archon Day: two parallel workshop sessions and a discussion with a panel of experts about societal impact and best practices. Archon wants to give RMA and PhD students the opportunity to help shape their education and possibly even the future of professional and academic archaeology.

This year we focused on two topics: ‘Publication strategies for early researchers’ and ‘Collaboration between the academic and development-led archaeology’. The participants discussed their concerns, ideas for improvement and how Archon can add value in this.

Dr. Gert Jan van Wijngaarden led the panel discussion and had prepared a number of statements to start a debate. Not just for the sake of discussion, but in order to improve Archon’s offer of educational activities and support for students. The general opinion and ideas put forth by the audience will be discussed in the next meetings of the Archon Board and Steering Committee in January. Power to the Archon members!

The main takeaways

The Archon Day proved to be a valuable step towards change and improvement, starting with awareness. Here are the main takeaways of the Archon day:

  • Students should focus on publishing during their studies and could be helped by Archon by getting better acquainted with the actual publication process.
  • There is a need among our members to continue our conversation about the shortcomings of the traditional process of peer-reviewed publishing. Besides that, we need to come together and discuss the role of new media and its utility in research. To what extent could and should it be a substitute for peer-reviewed publishing in journals?
  • Universities need to take action to improve the synthesis of academic and development-led archaeology. It was suggested that RMA students could possibly write their thesis on projects from commercial archaeological companies. How Archon can be of added value in the synthesis between academic and development-led archaeology will be further discussed.

To achieve change we need to bring together junior and senior researchers, as well as those working outside of academia, to further discuss a range of matters. Archon can facilitate in this by organizing events, functioning as a platform for discussion and collaboration between commercial and academic archaeologist

“Archon Day was a good opportunity to meet with peers and colleagues from across the Netherlands and engage in conversation about relevant topics for early career researchers […] A lot of ‘food for thought’ was produced by the workshops and discussions we had that day.’ Daniel Salinas Córdova, RMA student, Leiden University.

Thank you!

All in all, we can say the Archon Day of 2018 was a success. Thanks to all those participating for making it such an energetic event. And of course we want to thank the panel of experts: Prof. Jan Paul Crielaard (VU), Inge van der Jagt (Specialist zooarchaeology at the RCE), Karsten Wentink (CEO Sidestone Press & researcher, LU), dr. Mans Schepers (assistant professor, and postdoctoral researcher RUG), Matthijs Catsman (Kleos Bulletin), Mirjam Elbers (Senior Acquisitions Editor Classical Studies at Brill) and dr. Gert Jan van Wijngaarden (associate professor, UvA) for the great discussion.