Sunshine and frustrations

Groningen 365 10a

Originally uploaded by girlwithtrowel.

I woke up full of beans today- a day to myself working on my own projects (Fridays is my 0.2 not working day!) and having some money to get a bike and other things arranged. No such luck. The payment from uni I was expecting isn’t going to arrive until Monday which has left me a bit eeek! about what to do with myself all weekend. I had planned to go to Amsterdam (partly to hunt for a copy of Wise Mans Fear which hasn’t made it to Groningen yet), but that is going to have to wait until next weekend now. I have accomplished some important things today; I have a phone contract so message me for my Dutch number. I have also arranged the internet for home but it’ll take 3 weeks at least to arrive and be set up. However, because I am sneaky, I have a new phone that can double as a 3G modem and an unlimited (but throttled after 1.5GB in a month) data plan so as soon as the sim card fully activates I should be able to get online at home. Hurrah for the Netherlands being a very well connected country in terms of telecoms. Not sure the connection will be good enough to video skype, but voice calls might just about work.

So, I promised to say a bit more about the project. My role is to try to figure out two things. First of all the taphonomy of the site development post deposition- how do the sites come to be in there present state? What problems does this pose? The sites are at present only known from intensive fieldwalking so we don’t have structures or anything (yet)- just scatters of pottery. This gives another problem- the overall aim is to reconstruct, as best as possible, the settlement pattern in the rural landscape and to try to understand a bit about the agricultural practices and everyday life of the Protohistoric people of the region. If so far we only have sites known from fieldwalking there is a large recovery bias as sites are only seen once ploughing brings pottery to the modern surface. So, my other job is to try to develop a methodology for site prospection using geophysics, geochemistry and geoarchaeology. This is complicated by the presence of both ancient and modern agricultural terracing. We hope that my prospection method will be applicable in similar Mediterranean environments and might help other researchers who want to move away from considering the ‘spectacular’- sacred sites, necropoli and into the landscape and everyday lives of people in the Bronze and pre-classical Iron Ages.

I have a research outline now agreed yesterday that I need to get written up, and a plan to publish 3 papers during my time here as well as author a contribution to any synthetic publication of the project, so this seems to have been very much the right move to make. I am going to Mainz the week after next to join in a course on geoarchaeology and geophysics and I’ll present my PhD research to the other students, which is exciting, then I am back for 2 weeks, then in the field so perhaps I don’t have to worry about keeping busy 🙂

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