Greenham in British Archaeology

I have been remiss. The last issue of BritArch went live on the web last weekend and I’ve yet to post a link to it.

You can access the text of John Schofield’s’ article here (but no pictures due to copyright stuff). It’s all about the project I was involved with at the Greenham Common womens’ peace camps for my MSc thesis (and even has a discussion of the results of said thesis!).

Work on Greenham continues, for me; one article is already written about our theoretical practice and I’m working on another method/results paper at the moment, both with two academics I have enormous respect for. I’m trying not to let it eat into PhD time and have to keep reminding myself that publication is GOOD, even if it’s on earlier research 🙂

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I’ve not blogged for a while. It’s all been a bit busy in Neko land, with an epic journey through the snow to Liverpool (more on that later), but that’s not why I haven’t been writing.

No, dear readers, the blame for this lies with Cas.

You see, in January she was infected with a meme that involved writing a few things about a friend, one of which was a question you’ve always wanted to ask them.

She asked me if I could live in any dwelling on earth, what would it be like? My immediate response was that it was an amazing question as I’ve been imagining, drawing, mapping and weaving my home in my mind for years. She excitedly identified with this… but I’ve been thinking about it ever since and about a month ago made up my mind it would form my next blog post. The thing is, I can’t decide. There are so many potential homes I have considered over the years… I’ve been trying for the last four weeks or so to pin it down to just one place, something that could hold all of them, but it just doesn’t work like that.

So instead, I’ll tell you about my favourites.

When I was very small I wanted to live in a tree house. Not just any tree house though, something like Lothlorien, or the Ewok village, or even the tree top refuge in ‘The Prince of Thieves’ (yes, I know it’s not that great a movie but I loved it when I was 12, OK?). I think that was more about the idea of a settlement, a private network of dwellings, secure up in the trees. I used to make up tribes, cultures, imaginary groups of people and how they’d live and function together. Not just the pretty bits, like what the homes would look like, but the real stuff, like how you’d get water up there for everyone, what sort of crop/ animal economy you could support. I also thought a lot about transhumance– following the best resources around, moving with your herds, but having a home base. Some of my favourites ‘races’ in fantasy and SciFi live this sort of lifestyle…

And it was in contemplating this part of my answer to Cas’s question that I realised how long this archaeology thing has been in my blood- ever since I was little when I’ve visited somewhere ‘historic’ I’ve imagined the everyday people there, what their lives where like, what tools and skills they used to live.

As I grew older and started thinking realistically about the home I would one day want. I know it needs to feel old, it needs to have history (or at least reference it). I imagine a warmer version of Theodens’ hall, an early medieval space with a large communal area, and more private zones separate from it. It needn’t be a ‘great hall’ on the outside; This idea could work as some sort of Hobbit house (which I also love the idea of). I imagine it as textile and texture rich. Woodsmoke would permeate the building and it feels very warm, in my mind.

This idea feeds into the small cottage lurking somewhere in the settled down, chickens and sheep dogs part of my mind. In the idea of textiles, rich colours, and warm wood. My cottage would be a glorious mismatch, with many difference pieces of furniture, none of them matching and some of them hundreds of years apart in age.

I would also love somewhere clean and minimalist. Not necessarily modern though. Japanese perhaps, with tatatmi matting and sliding doors. I know that part of me wants somewhere quiet and peaceful to retreat to once in a while.

Then there is the awesome house me and Rob thought of one sunny afternoon drinking cider outside the pub over the road from my current place. We would need to win the lottery, but if we did we envisaged a gargantuan mansion, built in a horseshoe with a communal ground floor (replete with indoor go-cart track to get around it, games rooms, kitchens, cinema room, trampoline room, library, ball pit and a swimming pool in the open centre), with a series of self contained luxurious houses up above for all our friends, so we could live together and apart. We would have our own larping/ paintballing arena in the woods in the grounds and life would be sweet.

I’ll write all about CAA during the week: I’m at home in Southampton an extra night tonight to make up for being away at the weekend. It’s sparked off some useful ideas that I think (hope!) will take my final thesis up a notch or two…

Neko out for now….