It is day two of our socially distanced Archaeology of Pandemic project, and we split into three groups. Group One started researching the historical narrative of COVID-19, the most significant respiratory virus since the 1918 influenza pandemic, by establishing a timeline of UK-related events. The study combined World Health Organization key events from the first identification of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, its arrival in the UK ,and the following responses of the Government. We are now linking these to COVID-19-related material culture. Looking at non-pharmaceutical interventions of suppression and mitigation from Imperial College London’s COVID-19 response team, we have begun tying key events and data of death/case rates to material culture. This includes the demand for PPE, building of temporary hospitals, and changes in use of objects and buildings.
Groups Two and Three have developed heritage asset recording forms that work in conjunction with padlet boards. We are recording objects and buildings in line with Historic England’s guidelines annotating the four values of heritage: Evidential, Historic, Communal and Aesthetic. These can be anything that is viewed as significant in the material response during the imposed lockdown in the UK. The use of social media platforms like Twitter are helpful as they form dated threads, such as the ‘#DragonsHeartHospital’ from Cardiff. Via Padlet we are mapping objects, events, physical and digital sites that have been important or have changed meaning and use during the lockdown from the 28th March to the 1st June.
We have all been working from our homes while communicating via Slack, Google Docs and padlets, and we are using digital recourses to gather data and information as a base for our project. Today, in our daily 4pm meeting on Zoom, we discussed the different heritage interpretations of the ‘Shetland scrubs’ initiative and the communal, historical and aesthetic value of the manufacturing of facemarks. We also discussed the use of fieldwork for looking at ways buildings, such as retail and grocery shops, have been modified for social distancing to minimise the transmission of COVID-19.
You can follow our progress visiting our padlet map
Second year Archaeology and Anthropology student