Monday, November 23, 2009

Slightly off-topic: Archaeology Magazine reader likes and dislikes

Archaeology Magazine (Mark Rose)

Archeaology Magazine covers topics from all other the globe (including Egypt) and recently asked its readers for feedback about its content. A summary of some of the responses is quite fascinating. Here's a short extract:

There were calls for more coverage of different countries and regions, such as Canada, Eastern Europe, and Africa. We’ll tabulate those and compare the results to the world map in Eric Powell’s office. Eric, our deputy editor, tracks the geographic distribution of articles by hammering colored pins into his map using the plaster cast of a mammoth tooth—a primitive but effective method. Thanks for your help in spotting the holes in our coverage. We’ll try to address them.

A number of individuals called for more underwater stories, while the cheer “More Medieval!” was raised by some. We received detailed suggestions on the Caucuses and Hawaii. How archaeologists work—excavation procedures and scientific techniques—and bios of leading archaeologists were also mentioned.

There were objections to particular subjects. “I was disgusted by the ‘hippie’ dig. WHY did you do it at all?” “Pop occultism—much, much less. The world ends in 2012? Well, let’s hope the stories about it end first.” “More on discoveries and ongoing digs etc. Less of the legal fights over possession of stolen artifacts.”

Some people made general comments about the articles: “More depth in articles.” “Less ‘mysterious,’ more facts and explanations.” “Deeper explanation of implication of finds.” “More shorter articles. I would rather read ten 2-page articles than two 8-page articles.” Bumping up the illustrations—maps and diagrams—had several boosters. Criticisms included articles split up by ads and articles that start in the beginning of the magazine then “jump” to the back.

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