Essay on Academic Narrative

1259 Words May 23rd, 2011 6 Pages
An Academic Narrative

Behind every work there is a story. Often, the story can better explain why a work looks the way it does than can any formal academic argument. The present work started as a Doctoral thesis. So here is its much abbreviated story.

Choosing the topic

I have been fascinated by what monuments mean to people ever since my Hamburg M.A. thesis of 1993, in which I investigated empirically the contemporaneous meanings of three selected megaliths and menhirs in Germany. Having come to Lampeter later the same year, I wrote a second M.A. thesis also about the various meanings of megaliths, but this time focussing on the theoretical background of Radical Constructivism and Reception Theory as well as on prehistoric and
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My research in the area was greatly helped by virtually all the local archaeologists, who patiently answered my questions and gave further suggestions. On several occasions, however, one senior archaeologist tried effectively to stop my research (I don't know why). This seemed at first to threaten the entire project, but as time went on, this person's activities proved to be less critical for my work than I had feared.

Finding material to work with

One of my biggest challenges from the start was to find enough relevant material evidence on which to build a larger argument. I was already confident after having looked at the regional literature in the library of the Institute of Archaeology in London, and undertaking an explorative visit to the sites and monuments record (Ortsaktenarchiv) of the Landesamt für Bodendenkmalpflege in Lübstorf, both early in 1995. I became entirely convinced of the feasibility of my project during an extended visit of the study area during the summer of 1995. After just over two weeks of concentrated work with the records, I provided the basis for my later analysis by documenting on specially designed forms, the evidence for later prehistoric receptions at almost 1200 megaliths. That summer, I also visited several libraries and photocopied many relevant texts, which were not otherwise available to me at Lampeter. During

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