Project Description

The Archaeology of Cinema: Survey of David Lean’s Aqaba

  • Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October 2019, 10:00 to 17:00

  • To reserve a place on one or both days, please email Betty Fooks

    Reference: Archaeology of Cinema

The Archaeology of Cinema: Survey of David Lean’s Aqaba
The Archaeology of Cinema is a new approach to the study of cinema as an art form. We are exploring locations and sets to record the places where films were shot, including any material traces that remain. We are then interpreting these through an ‘art critical’ lens, treating the locations and sets as ‘art installations’ which are captured by the film-makers to create an ‘art work’ in the form of a moving image. We are interested in both the constructed form and the multi-layered meanings represented in the image.

David Lean’s production team created the set for Aqaba in on a narrow beach (Playa del Agorocibo) at the mouth of a small valley (Rio Alias) immediately north of the small coastal town of Carboneras in Almeria. Though ‘Aqaba’ appears only briefly in long shot, its construction – comprising 300 fake buildings – employed 300 Spanish workers for several months. Many physical traces of the set remain in-situ and can be recognised in film footage, stills, and production photos. Many physical traces of the associated film-making infrastructure can also be seen. 

Cinema archaeologists Neil Faulkner and Gary Rossin will be leading a survey of the site in October this year. The aim will be to create as full a record as possible of all traces of both set and infrastructure. The survey will be wholly non-invasive – i.e. will involve no disturbance of any kind to the remains – being restricted to observations, notes, measurements, plans, and photos.

To join the survey, you should be able and willing to work full days (one or both), starting at 10.00am and finishing at 5.00pm, with half hour breaks morning and afternoon, and an hour for lunch. This is to enable work to be efficiently organised and adequate training/instruction to be given. We need to create work teams that know what they are doing and have sufficient time to carry out their respective tasks.

Volunteers should organise their own transport, accommodation, food, and drink, and they should come appropriately equipped, with clothes that do not matter, good boots, sun hats, sun cream, water, etc. Sticks are recommended as much of the ground is rough. We will provide all essential equipment for carrying out the survey.

We will be pioneers in two senses: the Archaeology of Cinema is a new approach to cinema as art, and this will be the first time that Arts Society volunteers have became active participants in archaeological fieldwork. We hope to develop an ongoing programme of fieldwork, archive research, publication, and outreach (lecturers, displays, tours, etc)

Those who choose to stay over, perhaps at the El Dorado in Carboneras, where Neil and Gary will be staying, may wish to gather for dinner together on Wednesday 23 October.

To enquire about or book please send an email to Betty Fooks copying   Reference:  Archaeology of Cinema

  • Members have priority