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Professor Howard Williams speaking at the TAG conference

The 40th Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference took place on the main Parkgate Road Campus, where over 180 institutions and organisations were represented.

TAG Deva covered a range of theoretical topics, ideas, and debates, showcasing the breadth and diversity of current archaeological theory. It also aimed to encapsulate the distinctive prehistory and history of Chester and its region.

Topics for discussion included the changing nature of archaeology; how to ‘be’ an archaeologist (in terms of being a leader, educator, manager, researcher, policy maker, entrepreneur and more); using comics and cartoons to bring history and archaeology to life; fighting for funding to display archaeological finds; combining music with heritage; the experiences of LGBTQ archaeologists; and archaeology as a catalyst for societal change.

The keynote lecture was given by Professor Cornelius Holtorf (UNESCO Professor of Heritage Futures at Linneaus University, Sweden). In his presentation, he discussed emerging trends of applying archaeology to new causes in society, including sustainable development and social cohesion. He also linked his speech with the United Nations’ ambitious agenda 2030 and its global goals.

Co-organiser Dr Caroline Pudney, from the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester, said: “We have had fantastic feedback about our TAG Deva conference. Thank you to all the many sponsors, the University of Chester staff, the student volunteers who participated, and the session organisers.

“The range and rigour of the academic content set a very high standard, with many of the exceptional papers by undergraduates, postgraduates and early career researchers as well as those from the commercial and heritage sectors and academia.”

Professor Howard Williams, who also organised the conference, added: “This event really put archaeology at Chester on the map, with delegates from the US and Canada, Argentina, Scandinavia and mainland Europe, as well as Ireland and the UK.

“Our thanks also go to our Head of Department, Professor Meggen Gondek, for supporting this venture.”

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