Steampunk World's Fair 2015

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spwf archeology

This episode is a recording of the lecture from Steampunk World’s Fair. The panelists were Gail Carriger, Lex (L.V.X.), and Dr. Brad Hafford. The room quickly filled up with easily over 100 attendees in the audience. You don’t have to be a time traveler to attend one of these panels, but if you really need a seat, it certainly would help. This is the third podcast from the SPWF that’s posted; there’s been a lot of written coverage posted as well. You can get all the post links for the 2015 SPWF at my hub of coverage. There was so much for me to recap this year. I hope you enjoy all of it. Even if you were able to attend, there’s always a ton of events happening at once and you may have missed one of the lectures that I caught.

Download on iTunes, Stitcher or listen here.

spwf archeology


The Archaeology panelists opted not to use microphones. As an audience member, not only as a podcaster, I prefer if public speakers use microphones. The rooms like this popular session are jammed with people who chatter throughout and make hearing difficult. At 5:00 minute in, an IT tech came in to get the slide show working and his walkie talkie was on much louder than the speakers could talk. It was a brief issue, but the sort of thing to bear in mind for live events. The A/V setups should be checked before the panels and used. This recording experiences short bursts of irritating feedback. I tried to use Audacity’s noise removal and normalizing but it didn’t help. Around the 33:00 mark there’s even weird feedback from a mic no one was using.


The largest theme of the discussion is how the Victorian era explorers were more interested in digging and collecting artifacts, removing them from their native location, and not about preservation of the finds in their original countries. There was good debate about why that is done today and whether repatrionization is the best thing to do or not. Some originating countries don’t have the same interest in the preservation nor the means to house them. A current example is how the ISIS terrorists are destroying their geographical area’s objects, bodies, and art.

The practice of partage was explained by Dr. Hafford. It’s when agreements are made before excavations so that some of the antiquities stay with the country while a percentage amount is allowed to leave the country.

spwf archaeology


This group of panelists devoted the bulk of the time to answering questions from the audience. These questions lead to discussion how archeology influenced their writings and what brought them to the steampunk lifestyle. There was even speculation about what future archeologists would think of digging up artifacts from our time which includes reenactment sites of the past.

“People are magpies. We’re all magpies here.” ~ Lex

Carriger explained what regression technology is and the importance in history. It relates to how some cultures will reject technology that’s better than what they have, but have cultural clashes with where the technology originated.

“Part of what draws me into archeology is that people can’t tell me that I’m wrong.” ~ Dr. Hafford

Each panelist discussed the most memorable artifact they have found.

* My own interjection here in the notes is that when Carriger recommends the tumblr blog, Medieval POC (around the 43:00 mark), it’s not a word as she says “pock.” It stands for People of Color. That blog, one of my favorites on Twitter and Pinterest, is filled with historical information on people of color during times where they have been completely erased by white men’s history texts and entertainment. So, when you get into fantasy realms based on Medieval times and there are only white people yet there are dragons, you can point out the racism.



Penn Museum -

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