RIP David Bowie. You, Ziggy, and King Jareth (Especially Jareth for me.) will live on forever in our hearts.

Taking an off topic moment to acknowledge and mourn the passing of a true pop culture and just all around legend.  David Bowie passed away January 10th, after a battle with cancer. I am completely blindsided with this. I didn’t even know he had cancer to be honest. I hadn’t read up on him lately. He was so many things to so many people, but to me, personally, I will always remember him as King Jareth. And the world without King Jareth seems rather bleak to me. At least for awhile. The world lost a legend today, and the world is indeed in mourning.

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So long King Jareth, and know you will be missed dearly.

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Bogged Down By History: The Bog Bodies. (Not For The Faint Of Heart)

The topic of the bog bodies, (Bodies that have been found in various parts of Europe in, well, bogs.) has been a topic that has fascinated me for years. There is just something so haunting and out of this world about them, with the way they have been preserved being a rather large part of the interest. These bodies have been discovered while peat bogs are harvested in several places throughout Europe, especially Ireland, the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Great Britain.

The only photo in this post I can show above the cut! Image courtesy of whiskeytastings.com.

Peat bog harvest. The only photo in this post I can show above the cut!
Image courtesy of whiskeytastings.com.

Onward below the cut! (Because the bog bodies can admittedly look very disturbing and I know this isn’t a topic for everyone so below the cut it goes!)

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Spotlight On A Friend’s Blog: Yarn & Trowel

Yarn & Trowel, a blog/webstore/site is run by a good friend and fellow archaeologist of mine, Cheyenne. I’ve known her since January of 2013 and am so lucky to be friends with such a lovely, warm, hard working person. She’s currently selling her knitting creations to raise money for a field school in Ireland she is absolutely dying to go to (And deserves to go, believe me.), so if you’re looking for homemade, good quality knitted items, you should definitely get them from her. She is also planning on doing a blog on knitting and life as an archaeologist, and while I can’t say much now because she’s still launching the site, it is going to be an epic blog. I will also be putting a link to her site on my menu list above so you guys can check it out any time!

my hat(A Cheyenne original, made as a Christmas present to me last year. Super warm and comfy!)

A.I. (Artifact-ual Intelligence): Artifacts, Private/Public Land, And the Do Not Touch Rule.

Hello all! I’m sorry I’ve been  beyond awful at updating, but I’ve been rather busy. I’m on my way (Admittedly slowly.) to starting my bachelor’s degree in indigenous anthropology next fall and getting everything together has been …intense.

ANYWAY, today I wanted to talk about an issue that has been going one for ages and ages, is probably already talked to death, but is still a topic that never fails to rile me up and leave me silently seething; the taking of artifacts from either public or private land WITHOUT permission. (Yes, there is a difference. Yes it is a grey area, yes I will discuss that later on in the post.)

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I am working on a longer post, I swear. Things just keep getting in the way.

However, I would like some feedback. What would you guys like to see? What kind of stuff would you like to know about?

I Can Dig It: Essentials For Dig/Survey Bags.

Ahh dig/survey bags. Each one can be as unique as the person they belong to, but one thing is for sure; most of them have much of the same thing, along with the added things unique to the person who owns it.

In my own experience, my very first season at a dig (A student dig here in San Diego.) I used a suggested beginner’s carrier: a big bucket, the ones you can get at Home Depot. My next season out I graduated to a backpack, one that was lying around, a Sierra Club backpack, and donated my old bucket to the school’s supply of buckets. In between my second and third (And alas, last season with the school. 😦 ) I took a survey class that required our going out on a survey over two weekends, which called for a sturdier backpack more suited for long haul/outdoors things. I got a very nice canvas hiking backpack from a local sporting goods store. After that, it became my survey/dig bag. While spending hundreds of dollars isn’t necessary, the one I have was on sale, reduced to $40 from $90. The cheaper ones, like the ones organizations send out as gifts, work fine, but, and I’m saying this more to people who are reading this who might be just starting out/interested in starting in a career in archaeology/serious interest in it, it is worth it to get one of the more sturdy ones. Sporting goods stores are often times having sales, so finding a good one at a decent price shouldn’t be too difficult.

Onward to the spoils!

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Indiana Jones and the Glorified Garbage Collectors.

  The scientific study of material remains (as fossil relics, artifacts, and monuments) of past human life and activities.

Merriam Webster’s definition of “Archaeology”.

There is a long list of misconceptions that are associated with archaeology, one of the main ones being what it is that archaeologists actually do. Seeing as one of the main goals of my blog is to add to the list of other archaeologist bloggers who are trying to inform the public more on the world of archaeology, I figured that a sort of crash course in what archaeology is and what archaeologists do, is a good idea. (Although many other blogs have posts similar to this, I still want to write this out because it’s my turn.)

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Most Bizarre Things People Have Said To Me When Finding Out I’m An Archaeologist #1:

Oh that must be a nice cushy job, you don’t have to do much do you?” –

Said in the snootiest, rudest, most condescending tone I’ve ever heard.

I just stood there, smiling slightly and not responding, because how could I respond to that? (Without chewing the person out that is.) I couldn’t, because the situation was a bit important and me making the person mad would have been bad. But I mean, how, why would a person react like that? I suppose one reason is the ever present, underlying opinion that all archaeologists are snooty, elitist rich people who have no time for anyone else’s opinions or drudgery. A hold over from the early days of archaeology where a good portion of the people who were archaeologists actually were rich and a tiny bit elitest and snobby. And I’m not saying that there aren’t anymore archaeologists around that are that way, because there are. But the ratio of those people to the poorer, non elitist, non snobby ones (and ones with money who aren’t rude) is, more and more, becoming skewed in favor of the latter.

And the idea that we don’t do much, that we’re apparently lazy and hardly work at all, that is another thing that made me just so angry because it’s so far from the truth. Surveys, excavations, lab work, every little bit that makes up what archaeologists do, retreats so far from the lazy line that the line is something we can dig up 100 cm down. (In the heat, or rain, or both. Something I’ve experienced myself.) Excavations and surveys especially are laborious work that drains you by the end of the day. Lab work can be intense, with long long hours devoted to tests, identification, and data analysis/entry. Archaeologists are some of the most hard working people I know, and to have someone say they thought we were all lazy was too much.

If you’re going to be rude about something/be snooty about it, at least have the decency to do your research before you say anything because otherwise, you come out sounding like an ignorant dunce.