I have to disagree. The labels we attach to the monument in a record ie what we think it is or want to call it, whether house, burial, bridge, castle or ditch is the 'Interpretation' not the monument itself. The monument itself is, was and, to my mind, always will be a 'thing'.
If my four year old asked me what we were doing at the weekend and I said we were going to visit some interpretations he would be slightly confused, whereas my wife would probably try to slap some sense into me and tell me to stop talking rubbish.
Conversely If I said we were going to visit something (ie some 'thing') Fred would more than likely be excited and ask what we were going to visit, the answer to which, given his current fascination, would inevitably be a castle!
I think the recent email traffic on this discussion list has also shown that the use of the term 'Event' in the archaeological sense is restrictive.
I would rather see types of event - historical events, activities (ie archaeological investigations etc.).
In fact in the NMR AMIE database 'Activities' is the name of the table in the database used to record 'Events' (in the investigative sense).
The OED (bless it!) gives the primary definition of an event as 'Something that happens; an occurrence, an incident.'
In this respect both Schliemann's excavations and the Great Fire are events. And I would also argue that Schliemann's excavation is also an historical event!
What do we think the general public would understand by Events in the Monument - Event - Archive model? I would argue that they would expect to see historical events rather than investigations carried out on a site.
As more and more information from HERs and the NMR is made available over online we have to ensure that it's public-friendly and as such we have to speak in a language that they understand otherwise we'll be constantly pointing users to our FAQ or glossary pages to explain the jargon.
Also if, as you say Neil, monuments are not things but merely interpretations then why so we persist in talking about the Monument - Event - Archive model and not the Interpretation - Event - Archive model?
As for Themes we use this in 'Viewfinder' to group photographs which depict similar things eg. Childhood, Crime and Punishment, Bomb Damage, People (active) and People (posed).
So again let the gods of confusion reign!
Data Standards Supervisor
National Monuments Record Centre
+44 (0)1793 414824
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From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Neil Campling
Sent: 19 July 2006 08:38
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Rejoinder - Great Balls of Fire
We are in the middle of a major campaign called "History Matters". Why
then don't we know our own history? I refer everybody to the notes made
of the ALGAO SMR Sub-committee Event -Monument Seminar held on 13
October 1998. All of what we have been discussing was set out at that
seminar, and the majority of curators have been working on that basis
Phil asks "If monuments are not 'things' then what are they?". As I
said in my previous e-mails, they are "interpretations". Simon asks "I
cannot see why it cannot be an event albeit an historical one, how would
you classify the excavations of Troy by Schliemann?" In my previous
e-mail, I noted the confusion between recording events and historical
events. Under the Monument - Event - Source schema, an Event is defined
as "a single episode, i.e. using a single investigative technique of
data collection, over a discrete area of land". Schliemann's excavation
at Troy would thus be an Event (or series of Events). The Great Fire of
London would not be so under this definition.
The 1998 seminar identified that it would not be possible to interpret
some information to produce a Monument, or that it might be hard to put
some data derived from Events into a coherent, i.e. Monument, form. But
this is exactly what Ed was talking about in his e-mail when he said he
wanted to "explore *new* concepts that MIDAS Heritage (the 2nd edition
title) will extend into, beyond the EMA model". I think Theme is a good
starting point for this new category / concept for data or information
that does not fit easily into the EMA model.
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