Spring seems to have sprung

I spent today in a field, which was nice!

Seriously- the sun was out but there was this low haze all day that kept it nice and cool and fresh feeling, the bumblebees have started to come out. We saw Buzzards circling on the the thermals and spent the day surveying the site of a Deserted Medieval Village.

It was just one day teaching some undergrads (and learning some new equipment for me too) but it reminded me why I’m doing the PhD and why I love Archaeology so much.

Sure there are horrible days in the cold and wet, but days like today make up for it.

Other critters and such seen:

Many many spiders
Daffodils, primroses and speedwell
cool bugs of many varieties- little beetles, larvae of ladybrids, shiny beetles, a tiny money spider on my bag at lunch
Seagulls of some kind (we were a way inland!)
a flock of what I can only assume were some kind of migratory water birds (egrets maybe?)
two horses, some donkeys and lots of baby sheep 🙂

Update on Neko

OK, so I promised to myself this blog would not become a ‘dear-diary-today-I-went-to-uni-and-I-read-some-books’ type blog….

(takes deep breath)

But I have promised several people an update on what is going on in my world right now and writing about it might help it become more clear. I guess I’ve been following all those interesting links from Cas and Leif’s blogs about time management, tools to help you write/ think, and taking note of what Graeme teaches his students about documenting your thought processes. I have also been agonising over what to say/how to say it, how open to be.. I figured that if I say what I would be happy to in an open discussion (say at a conference) and I only identify people by their web presence (in some cases this equates to a real name), then I can’t go too far wrong. If people can track back from me to other peoples sites then it’s up to them what they put on their sites, right? And anyways, my (very few) readers are mainly people that know me and who will see through any flimsy attempts to mask identities! This confusion translated into a real fear of posting, believe it or not. I am being brave.

Please add into this mix a really interesting seminar I attended all day yesterday about methodological adequacy; I thought it would be a boring thing about what bits of maths to include, what to leave out, but we actually had a really good day debating epistemology, the religion of science, Khun, Bourdieu, Heidegger, Descartes, ethno-methodology

Leif would have loved it- the rant about Epistemic Transparency that we both fiercely uphold was fitting into the heart of this guy’s message. It was nice (after 2 months of reading survey reports and trying to get my head around the formation of raised mires) to really work out the philosophical parts of my brain, and even nicer to discover that they still keep up!

I keep a paper diary (Leif, sorry, your ‘discovery’ of the wonderfulness of moleskines was not news to me!), as it can fit even in the tiniest of bags and no-one glares at you in the ‘queit’ carriage of the train if you sit and scribble in it. I wrote yesterday up with the following note to self;

1) step as far back as you can from your work once in a while, be as simple as possible

2) boundaries are dangerous (between ways of thinking) because each side will perceive you to be inadequately equipped

3) methods are the things we do, methodologies (methodolatries in the view of Mary Daly) are the epistemologies and philosophical underpinnings of those methods…

4) which means that methods can become ‘black boxes’ full of unwritten assumptions

What I (hope) my thesis will do is unpack some of those black boxes in archaeological geophysics and try to find new and different applications for the tools we have, or even come up with new tools (physical or strategic). I’m so excited!

See, writing this has helped me a great deal as I’m excited again. I spent all day very gloomy and a bit lonely (more of this below dear readers), trying to get my head around how Ground Penetrating Radar works. Physics and maths are not my strong point, so this was hard going and by lunchtime I’ll admit I was thinking I’d made a mistake…

So how am I and what am I up to?

In all honesty, I’m a bit fragile, but I’ll be OK, I always am. I’m not very good at being alone, or trying to get used to new places, and ’cause I’m away from the homestead all week at my new uni, at the moment I am frequently both. See, 3 months ago if I had a bad day like today, I’d be going home to my lovely not-spouse-creature, and even until then there would be someone else from my course about who could do tea and sympathy.

I don’t know anyone here well enough yet to go and cry at them! And not only is the not-spouse-creature in another city, he works in a bank call centre which means I can’t talk to or text him during the day due to their security rules.

So sometimes, I feel like a wet blanket, but I get over it when I think about how lucky I am to be here doing this for three years, and being funded to do it.

I spend my days reading a lot, trying to get used to all the ‘quirks’ (a gentle way of putting that all academics are very odd and difficult to work out how not to annoy) of my new department, worrying I’ve put my foot in it with just about everyone I meet and thinking about sphagnum moss! In the evenings I go home to a really nice welcoming house and Wills, the amazing moggy. I lurk about on-line, read some more and play computer games. I go home at weekends.

Weekends of late have not been fantastic. I go home frazzled, he is frazzled, we yell at each other. This makes us both more frazzled. We’re working on it, and we’ve gotten through much much worse. I’m really glad for my experiences in Italy this summer (I went for 2 months working for my old uni) as it gave me so much confidence and I learned a lot from it.

Other than that? I still play way too many role-playing-games, I’ve been invited to moderate for 6 months on Antiquist- go check it out if you are at all into archaeology or computing, so I’m really honoured by that…

(and there is a sneaky rumour that I did kinda well on my MSc, but I’m waiting for the external examiner and the final board before I go shouting about it in case I jinx it)

Neko out