5.1.5 Discussion of Question 1 responses

Question 1 was designed to relate to all of the objectives, though primarily to the level of translation of the performance of discipline in the past. As can be seen from Type A responses, the character attributed to a single individual varied considerably: to some participants Jonat is genuinely religiously invested; others simply dutiful; still others, primarily socially conscientious. Despite the inclusion of only one short story with few characters, the variety of interpretations of those characters expressed a very broad spectrum of perspectives. The perspectives attributed to these characters by participants, in fact, reflected many of the experiences of discipline evident from kirk session records and other historical sources but not included intentionally in the story (cf. Todd 2002; Arnold 2005; Graham 1996).

Type B responses validated the second reading of the short story as part of the process, demonstrating a deeper physical engagement with both the embodied past, and with non-physical elements such as perceptions of time, than would be achieved normally through a traditional article. These elements of the responses indicate successful translation of external elements of the performance of translation, demonstrating that participants experienced high levels of engagement with the interpretative process and the application of both intellectual and embodied knowledge to the story.

However, it is the Type C and Type D answers that provide the most conclusive evidence of audience participation and the achievement of objectives 2 and 3, demonstrating that participants became sensorially, personally and/or emotionally invested in the story, in addition to intellectually engaged. A sense of a truly participant audience came out in statements such as 'Overall, I feel uncomfortable about this representation of an approach to God. My own image of God is much more tolerant/liberal' and 'There is a sense in which I imagined scenes in the reformed church as in black and white and the previous church in colour'. Many early modern Scots may have shared these sentiments and experiences.

When elaborating on Question 1 responses in interview, participants took these elements much further. One participant talked for ten minutes about how much he hated the sackcloth, saying that he 'could hardly look at it', that it was 'intimidating', and that even as a non-religious archaeologist he 'would never touch it and definitely wouldn't wear it...even just the thought of it makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up... [pause] I feel kind of sick at the thought'. Another spoke extensively of herself, stating 'I'm not a feminist at all, but if someone told me I couldn't play cards or dice, or sing and dance, I would tell them to go and take a jump!', going on to say 'I couldn't help imagining myself in that situation...what would you do? I don't know what I would do'. Another participant said 'It made me ashamed to be a man...the way men have treated women over the centuries is appalling'. Two further participants preferred to discuss their relationship with archaeology: 'It was challenging, in a way that archaeology generally isn't, because normally we distance ourselves — we study a dead anthropological other. This was like real people, ordinary people, not an other, but an us. That made it disturbing, and excellent'; 'Is archaeology usually like this? I don't know, it's not what I study, but you couldn't do anything like this in my field. It's [referring to his own field] so conservative. I wonder if I can make my research more like this. It makes the past so immediate and intimate'.


© Internet Archaeology/Author(s)
University of York legal statements | Terms and Conditions | File last updated: Fri May 20 2011