Sharing Excitement. Sharing Ideas. Sharing Community.
The University of Cambridge Archaeological Field Club (AFC) has been in existence since at least 1948. It started out as a society where students could get together to learn from some of the most prominent archeologists and anthropologists of their time and, as the name implies, conduct informal archeological surveys in and around Cambridge. Today it aims to foster a tight-knit community amongst archaeology students at the University of Cambridge and promote curiosity, knowledge, and intellectual enthusiasm in archaeology and biological anthropology amongst members of the university and beyond.
At Cambridge, there are four tracks within the Archaeology B.A. that one must choose to specialize in during their 2nd and 3rd years. These are archaeology, Egyptology, biological anthropology, and Assyriology (as symbolized in the society's crest). The AFC aims to strongly represent all of these fields and encourage learning across and beyond degree tracks.
Reflection on 2022-2023
This past year has been one of many changes for the AFC and a new era in its post COVID life and revitalization. For the first time since the pandemic began, the AFC Annual Garden Party was hosted. Students once again had the pleasure of coming together in the beautiful Magdalen College to enjoy food, drinks, games, and, of course, get updated on archaeology gossip and AFC lore from Prof. Stoddart. This year also saw the re-establishment of a regularly scheduled seminar series. Over the course of 12 different lectures, we had the pleasure of hearing from speakers hailing from 4 different continents speaking on topics ranging from archaeological theory to resurrecting the genomes of extinct species.
On the tech and communications end, we established a website with hundreds of monthly visits and obtained the domain name archaeology.uk.com. For the first time, the AFC also established an Instagram and Twitter as well as a YouTube channel which has drawn tens of thousands of views.
We also hope to have continued to strengthen the sense of community between those studying archaeology at Cambridge. When the senior committee first joined the society in the midst of the pandemic, the AFC did not exist beyond the realm of Zoom. Over the past year we have organized collaborations with the University of Cambridge Science Society (SciSoc), Cambridge University Biological Anthropology Society, the Cambridge Journal of Human Behaviour (CJHB), ASNC Society, and the University of Cambridge BioAnth Seminar Series.
We have benefitted through the promotion of our events by the Department of Archaeology, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (MAA), Haddon Library, the African Studies Library, as well as numerous people and organizations outside of the university, most especially World of Paleoanthropology and Prof. Chris Stringer.
With in-person events once again getting into full swing, we were able to have a night of crafting ancient board games, a debate over whether to rename the Haddon Library, a swap with the ASNC Society, an evening of making ceramics and "cave art," a dinner with pizza, puppies, and ancient board games at Prof. Simon Stoddart's house, and of course the AFC Annual Garden Party.
Ever innovating in archaeological fashion, we inaugurated the year with a new crest and now have a fresh line of stash, proudly featuring our crest on everything from baseball caps to duvet covers.
Through our Twitter account we have worked to promote the scholarship of members of the AFC as well as students and faculty in the University of Cambridge Department of Archaeology more generally. Via Twitter we also worked to bring more awareness to our members and alumni regarding job openings, internships, PhD positions, and other academic opportunities. Through our lectures and YouTube channel we aimed to engage with scholars, students, and the general public alike; spread knowledge from the fields of archaeology and anthropology to all who seek it; and continue our commitment of providing a platform for indigenous knowledge to be taken seriously.
While it has been a very fruitful year, there is always more we could have done. We wish the best to the new committee, hope that they will be able to expand upon what we have accomplished, achieve what we have left unfinished, and begin intitiatives we have not even considered.