Right Here! Right Now!
This source preferred by Timothy Darvill
Authors: Darvill, T.
Editors: Parker, J.
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Place of Publication: Newcastle upon Tyne
Archaeological sites in general, and prehistoric monuments in particular, form deeply embedded cultural icons within contemporary popular culture. Physically and intellectually they are right here in the present; they are being consumed in people’s everyday lives right now. Such cultural receptions can be seen in popular fiction, advertising, cartoons, television, films, and computer games. But one of the largest users of these images is to be found in popular music over the last 40 years or so. This is one of the world’s most pervasive industries, true global in its reach and cross-generational in its appeal. It is found not only in the music itself, but even more prevalently in the marketing, packaging, and promotion of singers, bands, albums, and merchandise. This paper focuses on three relevant themes. First the use of archaeological images to create and project the identity of particular artists and their work: Roots Quartet, XTC, The Rutles, World Party and others. Second, to look at the uses of artefacts and monuments in the packaging of material. And third, to look at three case studies of prehistoric monuments that have been very widely used as icons representing aspects of the ancient world: the Egyptian pyramids, rock art, and Stonehenge. It is concluded that while many of these things have been potent images for more than three decades their popularity has declined in recent years, perhaps through over-exploitation or as other media have replaced popular music as culturally challenging engagements.