Play with Windows Media Player: 300k or 700k


Location: UK         Length: 15 min


In 2006, University of Bristol archaeologists launched an innovative project: “excavating” a 1991 Ford transit van, used by archaeologists and others. This is an exercise in methodology: to see what can be learnt about a commonplace but complex object through modern archaeological analysis. It explore archaeology's potential contribution to understanding society's use of such objects and examines the very nature of contemporary archaeology. See in this video how, amid science and method, a rusting transit van can conjure up both enchantment and melancholy.


Become a
Supporting Member!


Produced by Greg Bailey, University of Bristol, in 2006


Special note: For best sound results with this video, place your speakers far apart.



Web links:


Archaeologists ‘excavate’ old van (BBC News)

CHAT 2006: Some Highlights (Archaeolog: all things archaeological; from Metamedia, a collaboration at Stanford University)

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (British Archaeology)

Transit van excavated as a relic (Guardian Unlimited)

University of Bristol, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology