Journal of Contemporary Archaeology https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA <p>The&nbsp;<em>Journal of Contemporary Archaeology</em>&nbsp;is the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to explore archaeology’s specific contribution to understanding the present and recent past. It is concerned both with archaeologies of the contemporary world, defined temporally as belonging to the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as well as with reflections on the socio-political implications of doing archaeology in the contemporary world.</p> en-US Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 2051-3429 <p>© Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> <p>For information regarding our Open Access policy, <a title="Open access policy." href="Full%20details of our conditions related to copyright can be found by clicking here.">click here</a>.</p> Inspecting the Foundation of <i>Mystery House</i> https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17513 <p style="font-weight: 400;">Computer games are recent artifacts that have had, and continue to have, enormous cultural impact. In this interdisciplinary collaboration between computer science and archaeology, we closely examine one such artifact: the 1980 Apple II game&nbsp;<em>Mystery House</em>, the first graphical adventure. We focus on implementation rather than gameplay, treating the game as a digital artifact. What can we learn about the game and its development process through reverse engineering and analysis of the code, data, and game image? Our exploration includes a technical critique of the code, examining the heretofore uncritical legacy of Ken Williams as a programmer. As game development is a human activity, we place it in a theoretical framework from archaeology, to show how a field used to analyze physical artifacts might adapt to shed new light on digital games.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Open Access Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives: CC BY-NC-ND</strong></p> John Aycock Katie Biittner Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 183 205 10.1558/jca.36745 American Afterlives https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17515 <p>In the United States, death practices have been undergoing a rapid transformation in the last 20 years. Moves towards creative, individualized observances are accompanied by new material practices. I deploy ethnographic examples of three entrepreneurs who make objects from cremated human remains. The entities discussed here cannot be comfortably called either human or non-human. They are both. And they are designed to facilitate on ongoing relationship with the dead. These new entities are not exactly commodities, although they may be produced through similar means. Embraced primarily by agnostics, they are not exactly religious relics, although they contain preserved parts of the human body. They come closest to being a personal fetish, or a radically material type of ghost.</p> Shannon Lee Dawdy Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 206 223 10.1558/jca.36898 Detecting Modern Conflicts https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17516 <p>The paper examines the applicability of a metal detector survey and distribution analysis of mostly metal objects at four post-World War II mass execution sites in Ko?evski Rog, Slovenia. All locations were surveyed with the intent to gather the material&nbsp; evidence, reconstruct the events and identify areas of different activities. With the distribution analysis, we&nbsp; were able to reconstruct pathways leading through forest to the execution sites; places of untying, undressing and restricting of the victims; and places of shooting. Locations with discarded and sometimes burned clothing, equipment and personal belongings were also found, containing various metal and non-metal objects. Metal detector survey and distribution analysis of objects proved to be an excellent tool for researching, interpreting and reconstructing poorly documented events, such as World War II and post-war extrajudicial mass executions.</p> Uroš Košir Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 224 244 10.1558/jca.38828 New light on an old problem https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17517 <div>This paper uses new data from archaeological excavations to explore the effectiveness of the “Radburn” layout used in many post-war social housing estates in the UK, the name referring to a design modelled on Radburn in New Jersey in the United States. Their design aimed to provide healthy living environments for less-affluent families by fronting homes onto communal pedestrianized “greens”, enabling people to circulate and children to “play out” safely near their homes. However, many Radburn estates are now socially deprived and explanations for this have included suggestions that the Radburn plan was inappropriate to the wants and needs of resident families. Analysis of 20 small archaeological excavations carried out in 2016 by residents of a Radburn-type council estate in Lincolnshire recovered lost aspects of its heritage, including a large number of child-related items from sites on the communal greens. This suggests that the greens were indeed used as intended for children’s play, undermining suggestions that inappropriate design was a significant factor in the decline of estates such as this.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Open Access Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives: CC BY-NC-ND</strong></div> Carenza Lewis Ian Waites Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 245 273 10.1558/jca.39686 Beyond the Ruins of Embobut https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17518 <p>The Embobut Forest, western Kenya, can be described as an entanglement of ruins.&nbsp;These ruins are the materialisation of a series of contested ecological debates and political&nbsp;decisions pivoting on the questions of conservation and community rights to land that&nbsp;have resulted in the violent dislocation of local Sengwer and Marakwet communities. In&nbsp;the first instance, this paper aims to contextualise these debates by offering an analytic&nbsp;focus on the process of ruination in order to offer a more nuanced narrative of landscape&nbsp;modification and changing human lives over the past century. Subsequently, I look beyond&nbsp;processes of ruination and towards notions of transformation, in an attempt expound&nbsp;how Embobut has not become a static world of passive ruins but rather is constantly&nbsp;changing as novel forms of dwelling and new ecological relationships continue to unfold&nbsp;in a manner not envisaged by conservation policy.</p> Sam Lunn-Rockliffe Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 274 296 10.1558/jca.38591 Gamma-Ray Spectrometry as a Tool for Exploring Archaeological Nuclear Facilities https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17519 <p>Since its first demonstration in the early 2000s, the exploration of gamma-ray spectrometry (GRS) applications as a geophysical tool in archaeology remains nascent. While intentional neutron activation, which requires a gamma-ray analysis, has seen increasing use as a geoforensics technique in archaeology, little or no research has been published concerning the possibility of GRS as an industrial archaeological tool for use in exploring nuclear sites or facilities where neutron activation and surface contamination may have already occurred. Consequently, the use of GRS as a geophysical tool for the archaeological investigation of abandoned or decommissioned nuclear facilities is proposed, demonstrated, and discussed using a case study from the Nevada Test Site Nuclear Rocket Development Station.</p> Ben W. McGee Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 297 321 10.1558/jca.36566 Archaeology, Heritage and Performance in the Perth Popular Music Scene https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCA/article/view/17520 <p>The city of Perth, Western Australia, has a long-running local popular music scene. Music is performed live in pubs and clubs, but it is often only a secondary reason for the running of these venues – consequently, the physical heritage of this music scene is often forgotten, with little memorialisation of the places and people involved in it. Archaeological investigation of one of these longer-running venues – the Fly By Night Club, a music venue from 1986 to 2015 – recovered a range of material culture that largely provides evidence of social encounters within the audience rather than of the many performers who have played at the Fly. The material evidence challenges the notion of modern music as capitalist commodity, including the idea of audiences as passive entities that exist in a subordinate position to performers, who occupy a privileged position within the paradigm of live music. Instead, the audience is shown to have considerable agency in the way it enhances its own enjoyment of live music, and to be an active participant in the social process of live musical performance.</p> Sean Winter B'geella Romano Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-03-16 2020-03-16 6 2 322 346 10.1558/jca.36005