Five Questions

My friend Cas, over at Brightmeadow, played a game with a fellow blogger in the US… slightly long story, but basically roro agreed to answer, on her blog, five questions posed by a friend… the game being that people could then volunteer to have roro write 5 questions for them…. which is where Cas came in… and then I volunteered for Cas to ask me some, which I duly answer here:

1. It’s a given that Cas (and Bright Meadow) are the best thing since bread came sliced. But what is the second best thing on the Internet?

This is such a tough question for a geeky girl like me. There are so many great things about ‘teh internets’… there are amazing sites full of cool maps that someone has hunted down and put out there for map-geeks like me, there are repositories of shiny gleaming knowledge and words, there is data, if you know how to hunt it down, that save projects and inspire ideas. There are silly sites that cheer me up on a bad day. There are endless ways to amuse myself and in turn amuse others. I love wikipedia– I know it has its flaws, but as a place to start finding out about something, or just to go and have something interesting to read on my lunchbreak, it rules. Communities building worlds, like Second Life, or knowledge like antiquist fascinate me.

Then there are the games, from the simple, non interactive little flash games moose is always finding us, to MMORPGs like City of Villains (there is nothing like playing the bad guys!) and, a recent obsession, the very cute and very French Dofus.

The best second best thing? (And in some ways my downfall) Contact. Email. Blog comments. IM services. Forums. Wikis. The ability to connect with other humans, however ephemerally, is really important to me at the moment. Hence the blog. Even if I’m just talking to cyberspace, I’m here. Type therefore I am. But this is also my downfall- in these days of instant communication, I now get impatient for email to arrive, whereas email once made me frustrated with post. The constant contact gets addictive… and anything this impersonal make emotion and subtlety difficult at best…

2. Which archaeologist would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with?

Indiana Jones (ahem). Phil Harding. For very practical reasons- all that experimental archaeology he does is bound to have imbued him with some Ray-Mears like survival techniques, thus bettering our chances of building a boat and escaping. The man is an expert flint knapper, and also a great archaeologist. I reckon he’d have some really good stories to tell as well. He is quite famous though, so it is a bit of a cop out.

If I had to pick one I had actually met? Professor David Hinton, ’cause he is a consummate gentleman and I wouldn’t have to worry about him going crazy and eating me. He really knows his stuff as well, and I could listen to him talk for hours and hours, just soaking up the knowledge and passion he has. He also has a wicked sense of humour, and like Phil, I suspect he has some great stories to tell.

Or, the godhead :). We could be scared of the spiders together…

3 – Pirates or Ninjas?

WOW, this is a tough one for a geeky gamer like me 🙂

Pirates- rum, swashbuckling, canons, doubloons, jennies, treasure, curses, camaraderie, great slang and swearing possibilities, devil-may-care attitude, and funky clothes (especially for the girlies!). Banter, fencing and witty repartee!

Ninjas- deadly, cool, honourable, dark magic, secret pacts. Really cool kung fu moves and shiny shiny swords. Being Japanese (cool points just for that one!). Being lithe, quick, supernatural. Getting to be the femme fatale….

At the moment the Ninja’s win. It’s the dark magic, forbidden knowledge and ties of honour that have me. So many possibilities for cool stories….

But I’ve not seen Pirates Three yet, so ask me again after I go get my Johnny Depp fix 😉

4 – (Ever so slightly morbid I know but – ) What do you want the last words you utter on your deathbed to be?

‘I love you’ . If I’m aware that I’m going, I sincerely want to be able to say that one last time to all the people who deserve it, in case I hadn’t told them enough.

5 – Five people from your life who you most want to get around a table together?

(They all already know each other, bar one- I hope this wasn’t cheating!)

H- currently in Greece. I don’t see her as much as should or want to.

Jess- best friend from school. We live a long way apart now but when we see each other it s like we never left off.

My Dad. I love him so much, and I don’t get to spend enough time talking with him now. He is the greatest at social events, and best of all, Jess and H know him well and a) won’t take any c@~p from him, and b) give as good as they get, which makes for great discussions when we (very rarely) are all in the same place at the same time.

Cas- I want her to meet my Dad, and Jess and H as they would get on fantastically, and I know she would join in all the fun and discussion with vim and gusto!

The not-spouse-creature- He gets on well with Jess and H, needs to get to know my Dad better (even though we have been together almost 9 years) and would be a good ‘bridge’ for Cas, since he has met her. I don’t get to sit and have proper time set aside with him just to talk and have fun at the moment, so while it may seem a cop out he is a worthy inclusion…

I reckon between us we would have a pretty interesting discussion…. I challenge anyone not to when around my Dad!

Please have fun following all the links above- I’ve tried to include some interesting and fun sites for you to explore.

If you want to join in, volunteer in the comments. This means I will think up five questions just for you, but you have to answer them honestly, and on your own blog. If you don’t have a blog, you could guest post here!

To see other peoples questions and answers, follow the links at the top to the right page on Cas’s blog- links have been added in the comments! Have fun!

Oh, and if you were worried, the meeting went fine, awaiting comments back on all those words (!) but apparently the length was fine! Just got to start being brave and arranging meetings with important people to get the fieldwork rolling…

I think I wrote too much…

Word Count for my initial review:


(but at least 2k of that is references, titles etc, and about 3k is the appendices, which don’t count)

However, it is supposed to be about 5,000.

Meeting is today, so I’ll write a proper post tonight (if i survive the meeting- they always fill me with dread, which is silly).


I have just added a feedburner link for those who prefer to keep up that way and don’t want to have to keep checking back for updates….

Can you tell I’m procrastinating?

I wrote over 1,000 words yesterday, so a half hour play about isn’t too naughty…

I shall do at least another 2k today…

watch this space…


Welsh Wales

OK, in my defence….

there isn’t one really. About a fortnight ago I promised to write up some conferences and tell you all my thrilling adventures. Sorry, hasn’t happened and isn’t likely to for a while; I’m snowed under with PhD stuff at the moment. 😦

Good snowed under- last week I was in Wales being put up by Geoff Wainwright (!) (I wonder how many of you are bad enough archaeology geeks to get how cool that is!), working on one of his projects (looking at the quarry site and associated landscape of the bluestones from Stonehenge) that will also be one of my case studies…

We got good data ( I think- processing is needed), and it was good to be back in the field but the weather was evil and the company so good I didn’t have time to do the writing I promised in my previous post. I also have a big milestone coming up on the PhD- my initial review, where my research design for the whole PhD goes before the school committee and gets approved (or not!) so I might not have anything much to say for a while….

At least not any great, link-rich content for you all to have fun with- I’ll try to keep you posted though.

I updated my Flickr pics- follow the links- you can see what I got up to in Wales and also some earlier photo’s from an experimental iron smelt I was lucky enough to attend and assist with.

‘Till the work is done,

Neko out…

Places, the sea and short stories

I know, I keep promising write ups of conferences and then taking forever to get round to them….

Well since Cas has mentioned me as an inspirational factor this week, I suppose I had better blog something inspirational!

I will write up the two conferences I have been to, but first I wanted to share something happening at the Brighton Festival. As part of the festival 41 short stories by writer and journalist William Shaw have been posted up (on buildings, benches, buses) where those stories took place. You can read all the stories on the webpage above and they’re really good. He collected them form people, went and interviewed people out and about in the city. This interested me for two reasons… firstly it is like real-world ‘geotagging’, it is a way of sharing a meaningful geography, a persons sense of place and emotional ties, but in the real world… But instead of putting the story/image/history online and sharing the geographical location of it, the location is given the information/art/story…

There is a good virtual example of this here from Liverpool by Liverpool is their pilot city- have a click about on the map- it combines ancient and classiscal history with personal narratives and oral history.

Secondly it interested me because Radio 4 interviewed him, and he shared some interesting ideas about the nature of the zone between the sea and the land(you can listen to the interview again here (find Friday May 4th, it is about 5 minutes in)) . For him, it is an odd place, a nowhere place, an in-between place where all kinds of crazy things have permission to happen. According to Shaw, this is why you get so many interesting stories from Brighton at 2am!


This idea sparked off with some of the things Sarah-J was talking about in her presentation at our internal conference about the consumption and production of salt in Iron Age and Roman Britain (go with me on this one, they are linked!)… about the periphery, liminal places, water and religion, salt and purity. I’ve thought about the sea and its’ role in the landscape as a peripheral zone, and about water and its’ transformative role. This feeds into my own research about the exploitation of bogs and wetlands in prehistory…It’s not something that is easy to put into written word without subjecting you to an essay, but if you want to chat, lots of you know how to reach me- or engage me in the comments!

I will write up the Landscapes conference, and the ConSci internal conference I was at on Friday, but I’m off to Wales (to Carn Meini, where the bluestones at Stonehenge were quarried from!) to start fieldwork tomorrow. I shall take Clarissa and write whilst up there, and post them once I’m near a wireless connection next!

Finally, if you go to this flickr set you can also see pictures from an amazing experimental iron smelt I attended the week before last. We produced a bloom of iron from the ore! I had so much fun and learned loads- the details are all in the notes on the photos, enjoy!