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So Doug’s Archaeology Page is asking archaeology bloggers monthly questions and thus here is my answer. This month the question is why blogging? Why did you start a blog? Why are you still blogging? Doug, author of the blog Doug’s Archaeology, will be hosting a blogging carnival on the subject of archaeology and blogging in the lead-up to next year’s Society for American Archaeology (SAA) conference.
Why did I start blogging about Archaeology?
I started this blog at the end of 2011 as a way to escape the monotony of PhD writing and as a means of productive procrastination. It started as a way to simply continue my love of research into ancient history and archaeology while the rest of my life was dedicated to one subject but it developed significantly over time.
Also simply I love archaeology!
Why did I continue to blog about archaeology?
As I continued my PhD and my archaeological digs and started to teach students at my university and in the field, I realised just how much university doesn’t actually teach you about archaeology; and just how little people know about the subject even if they have watched every available episode of Time Team. The significance of archaeology, the tools, the enthusiasm behind it, the practice versus the theory, the hard work and dedication, the thrill and exhaustion.
There is a highly romanticised view of archaeology that I see in the eyes of students even on the first day of a dig which can lead to a lot of disappointment for them. We are not Indiana Jones, nor are we perfectionists with tiny tools. Blogging became a way of giving people who were interested a non romaticised view and show them that despite the lack of whips and Nazis it can be just as exciting for different reasons.
Academia has also revealed that there is unfortunately a rather snobbish air in the industry. All to often I see academics and students hold their knowledge to their chests and hiss at anyone who comes near it, there is that sense of competition which is seen far too often. Fortunately my professors are not like that but I certainly understand why students are terrified of asking questions some times.
The reason I wanted to go into academia was to spread knowledge, not just engage in my own interests but develop the interests of others, to teach and encourage students to learn and question, analyse and compare. While one can do that through universities, there are all those people outside the institutions and departments who do have an interest in this field but do not have the resources to develop it. So I continue this blog also for them to give them the resources and dispel some of the myths, to move away from the dramatised rubbish now often on TV.
Over the past year and a half of blogging I have also met and developed friendships with a number of interesting and excellent people. Networking in archaeology has never been so effective. It has been wonderful to hear their stories, help them and for them to help me.
So I blog for myself: To continue my interest, as productive procrastination
I blog for students: To answer questions that they are scared to or haven’t thought to ask
I blog for the wider audience: To spread the knowledge and give them resources
I hope I have been able to do some of these things and always appreciate your comments and feedback.
Hello lovely followers, I am very busy at the moment and unfortunately haven’t been giving you the attention you deserve. I am moving to America, starting a new job, finishing a PhD and moving into a new house. So in case you don’t hear from me in a while here are some wonderful documentaries for you to watch, some of my favourites.
Incredible Human Journey
Dr Alice Roberts travels the globe to discover the incredible story of how humans left Africa to colonise the world — overcoming hostile terrain, extreme weather and other species of human. She pieces together precious fragments of bone, stone and new DNA evidence and discovers how this journey changed these African ancestors into the people of today.
Around the World in 80 Faiths
Very interesting and educational series. Around the World in 80 Faiths is a British television series which was first broadcast by the BBC on 2 January 2009. The series is presented by the Anglican vicar, Pete Owen-Jones, who is researching the various faiths from around the world.
The Bible’s Buried Secrets [BBC]
Stavrakopoulou visits key archaeological excavations where ground-breaking finds are being unearthed, and examines evidence for and against the Biblical account of King David. She explores the former land of the Philistines, home of the giant Goliath, and ruins in the north of Israel and in old Jerusalem itself purporting to be remains of David’s empire.
B B C “Η πόλη κάτω από τα κύματα: Παυλοπέτρι” - Pavlopetri – The City Beneath the Waves
The underwater city of Pavlopetri, a city that thrived for 2,000 years during the time that saw the birth of Western civilisation, lies less than five metres below the surface and is littered with thousands of fragments, the remains of stone buildings and a complex of city streets.
The Minoans: Ancient Civilization of Crete - Bettany Hughes (2004)
Bettany Hughes visits Crete to recount the story one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever made.
The Minotaur’s Island – Bettany Hughes (2003)
Best known for the myth of the Minotaur — a monstrous half-man, half-bull imprisoned in Daedalus’s labyrinth — Crete gave birth to Europe’s first civilization nearly 5,000 years ago, more than two millennia before Homer composed The Iliad. Then it collapsed in fire and violence.
Delphi • The Bellybutton of the Ancient World • © BBC (full documentary)
Very professional and interesting BBC production on the rise and fall of Delphi as the centre of the Greek world.
Titanic: The Survivors’ Story (1997)
In this series, Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earth, exploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years.
National Geographic Video - Mass Decapitations
Mass Decapitations in Southern England
What violent event caused this many beheadings?
The Christ Files - Dr John Dickson
Historian Dr John Dickson sets out to discover what we can know for certain about the life of one of history’s best known and most influential figures. In a captivating journey across the globe, Dr Dickson examines ancient documents and consults the world’s most respected historians and scholars. Beginning with the Gnostic Gospels, he criss-crosses continents on a search back through time for the historical sources that reveal the real Jesus— a search for The Christ Files.
As my frequent readers know, I often contribute to archaeological digs around the world and for the past two years I have been digging and translating at the site of Antiochia ad Cragum in Southern Turkey. And now things have been officially published, I can show you some of the cool things we found this year at the site
For my previous writing on the site on Graecomuse see below:
First I am pleased to say we uncovered the second half of the mosaic at the bath complex which is huge! Restoration will begin shortly in more detail.
In the pool in the middle of the bath house mosaic was found a head of a statue of Aphrodite
And a brand new mosaic! This one located to the South of the bath complex at a possible other temple side. This mosaic dates to older than the previously found one and contains much smaller tesserae in beautiful designs.
- Aphrodite Statue Head Discovered in Turkey (eu.greekreporter.com)
- Head of Goddess Aphrodite Statue Unearthed in Turkey (livescience.com)
- Aphrodite Head Unearthed in Southern Turkey (news.softpedia.com)
- Late Roman mosaic at Antiochia ad Cragum (adrianmurdoch.typepad.com)
- Aphrodite statue unearthed in Turkey (rarl0.wordpress.com)
- Head of Goddess Aphrodite Statue Unearthed in Turkey (aworldchaos.wordpress.com)
- Head of Goddess Aphrodite Statue Unearthed in Turkey (endtimeheadlines.wordpress.com)
- Head of Aphrodite from Antiochia ad Cragnum (rogueclassicism.com)
- UNL archaeologists uncover statue head in Turkey (journalstar.com)
And so ends week 3 of the excavations at Antiochia ad Cragum. It has been quite a week, a major find that I can’t even tell you about yet, yes I know I am a tease. Numerous trenches have been dug, blocks recorded and snakes killed. We even uncovered another inscription which is clearly out of situ because it is in a wall but upside down. The inscription looks like it dates from the mid to late first century AD from the letter forms so it could be an interesting find when I get round to giving it more attention. But first we have more trenches to finish!
The trenches at the bottom of the temple hill have been closed due to bed rock, bed rock and more bedrock. Thus we moved up towards the bathhouse mosaic and opened a number of trenches hoping to find something between the mosaic and the temple hill. No luck… less than 20cm down we hit bedrock again and earned ourselves the nicknames of the bedrock queens. If people think that archaeology is all amazing finds or at least finds, well it is, we find amazing amounts of dirt, stones and bedrock. With that we moved to open another trench onto of the temple but haven’t got far with it yet. So far I have found a modern 80′s cassette tape and more dirt.
Elsewhere on site the Turks have continued to uncover the mosaic and have almost finished uncovering the length of it close to the bathhouse wall. In the next week we will be working on cleaning it so look out for photos in the news and on facebook. The Clark University team have also completed work on the blocks in the block field up by the main temple complex on site and have now moved down to work with us in the agora. They have opened a trench to the North of the temple and are currently learning that archaeology involves roots and spikey branches, and hitting rocks with mattocks which sends vibrations right up your arms, a horrible feeling. You can’t be a wimp if you want to do archaeology. On the bright side though they seem to be enjoying doing something different and their enthusiasm is spurring the others on who have by now got a little fed up of countless days of making mud pies. Also by the mosaic a block with face has become visible which could be the pediment over the entrance to part of the building.
Outside the site the students have had the opportunity to visit the site of Lamos which I wrote about last year. Check out previous blog entries.
Some of us though opted to take the day in Alanya instead yesterday. The city of Alanya is an interesting one, a mix of modern tourist sights and archaeology and history. Alanya is based on the ancient city of Coracesium (in the Latin) from the Luvian word Korakassa meaning ‘protruding city’. The archaeology includes a large multiple period fortress and castle. The fortress contains 140 towers and is situated on a point that protrudes from the middle of the city. The end of the point also contains a small Byzantine church and buildings on the cliff furthest out. The Castle complex includes a number of huge cisterns and a well, barracks and another Byzantine church. The Castle also boasts the best view I have ever seen in Turkey. Amazing!
And thus we continue. Will hopefully be able to tell you more of what we have found soon. Have also discovered that Nutella goes brilliantly with pretzels…
Dig long and prosper!
Today brings us to the end of week two of the dig season. How that happened so quickly I do not know but it is a bit scary. While the first week was fairly cruisey, this week has reiterates something I relearn every time I go on an archaeological dig: It’s not all fun and games. Though eight members of the dig crew going to the hospital within three days is a bit excessive.
As I have mentioned, the process of digging does not relate to the romanticised view that many people hold. We do not brush tiny rocks and use tiny tools to make detailed beyond detailed recordings, we do not dig up gold, silver and bronze treasure and we do not dig dinosaurs! This week we have faced deadly killers plants, stomach bugs, spiders, turtles, scraps and bruises, sun burn a plenty and as I type there is minor surgery going on on a foot wound at the end of the table… Welcome to the reality of archaeology.
In relation to the dig itself, apart from a number of team members being relocated to the sickbed for a day or two, we have generally made excellent progress. The agora area has seen two trenches completed and photographed which is both good and a bit annoying. The reason why they were so quickly finished was due to a complete lack of mostly anything. The central trench went straight down to bedrock so that was the end of that. We think that there was originally more there but it was likely washed away due to the trench’s location in a natural floodway. The second trench to the East at the edge of the walkway had a similar outcome.
On the possible temple though we are seeing more features. Stones are turning up that are parallel in size and positioning to previously found features on the main temple of the site. This is exciting because there could be more features underneath. The mosaic is also coming along nicely with a huge amount uncovered. Hopefully this will lead to further conservation and eventually tourists being able to come visit the site to see it in all its glory. Up in other areas of the site the Turkish contingent are clearing more from around the shop area with plans to re-erect some of the fallen columns at some point so that visitors in later years can imagine what the colonnaded street would have looked like.
The wonderful thing about field school is it allows students to visit nearby archaeological sites here in Turkey and to see what completed and associated sites looked like. Tomorrow we are going to Side near Alanya. I went there last year and you can read more about the site if you search for Side in this site’s archives or go the Archaeology Travel Blog option in the menu bar. But last weekend the students went to Selinus, which you can also search, which is an awesome site with an amazing view. Unfortunately it involves a huge and deadly climb up steps. Deadly due to the spikey evil plants of death, hence half the hospitalisations this week. But they will survive, part of archaeology adventures.
- Archaeology Blog: The Empire Strikes Back (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Archaeology Blog: Back in the Trenches (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Antiochia ad Cragum: Archaeology Blog 2013 (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Work to begin on new dig at Richard III site (24dash.com)
- The Versatile Blogger Award (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Life in the Trenches: Week 1 at the Dig (saverome.wordpress.com)
This entry was posted in Archaeology and tagged Alanya, Antiochia ad Cragum, Archaeology, excavations, Field Schools and Fieldwork Opportunities, main temple, Social Sciences, tiny tools, Turkey, Turkish language.