Semester 2 Week 2

Just a quick update about me getting my life together in Scotland but not taking myself too seriously.

As I’ve discussed, I am actively looking for an archaeological dig for the summer.  Preferably I’d like to stay in Scotland and work on Roman (100 BCE – 300 CE) to Early Medieval sites (400- ~1000 AD).  That would be the ideal, I knew it wasn’t likely to find a dig that fit exactly that but at least something close.

During my Scottish Studies course, the lecturer mentioned that she had been on a few excavation teams in Scotland that worked with Iron Age, Roman, and Early Medieval sites.  Curious, I asked her after class if those digs were still active.  She said a few were and asked that I email her so that she could send me the links.  I did and this morning I got links to three really amazing looking digs in Scotland for the summer.  I am so excited about all of these opportunities!  I emailed the site directors to get more information, and then from there will decide which dig would be the best fit… but I should know by mid-February where I am going!

Other news about me finally getting my life together includes finding a flat for next year.  I will be moving in with a few friends from the EUMC (mountaineering club) to a flat about five minutes away from the University!  We will all be EUMC members and the flat has plenty of room for gear storage!   Thank goodness!  My current room is packed full with my books and gear!

The room I will be moving into even has floor to ceiling bookshelves!  Being a history student, I have so many books and it’s only my first year.  I think my Scottish library may easily surpass my library back home by the time I graduate.

Classes are going swell.  Archaeology is moving into ancient Egypt and then to Greece and Rome!  Celtic Civ is still fantastic and will be moving into the Early Medieval Period soon.  Scottish Studies just moved into the Roman occupation of Scotland.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading already, but the reading is on things that I actually want to read so that’s a plus.

I am feeling more confident about my studies.  I’ve broken down the First barrier, and while I know that it was only one paper and I still need to continue to push my research and writing, I can’t help but still feel proud about achieving that mark.  To celebrate my Dad sent me a Lego Star Wars set, which is totally awesome and sums up my approach to University.

Work hard but not take yourself too seriously.

Which as a side tangent on a post about getting my life together is a good thing to remember.  I am beyond focused on my studies, but history and especially archaeology can become rather dull if you forget that what you are studying is, first and foremost, the story of people.

And people do stupid shit (like invading Russia in the winter… I’M LOOKING AT YOU NAPOLEON).  People make weird shit that for some reason gets preserved and found 1000, 2000 years later (Like, the Celts literally buried human skulls face down in a freaky mass grave under their houses??).  And people more certainly aren’t perfect… even my darling Henry V.  (Side, side tangent, just found some materials that showed evidence Henry, had he not died of dysentery in 1422, planned to invade into the Middle East… whaaattt.  Like were 8 Crusades not enough for y’all??! Calm down.)

Sometimes, studying history can mean people take an elitist approach to the subject but I try to avoid that.  I believe that history should be accessible to everyone.  What’s the point of research if it can only be understood by a few?  History should be a fun subject that engages, educates, but more importantly doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.  At times it is glamorous, but the majority of the time it’s like life now – ordinary times with sporadic moments of awesomeness.

And, I feel like sometimes people forget that.  They forget about the human aspect to history and because of that take it too seriously.  It always helps me by remembering people’s ages.  Henry V was 25 at the time of the Battle of Agincourt.  Joan of Arc was 17 when she was burned at the stake.  And, I know that people in different times had different social pressures and expectations but just putting their ages in perspective helps to put their lives in perspective.

And that’s how the University approaches it, which is awesome.  The lecturers are all engaged in their subjects but aren’t bogged down in ‘pretentious history.’ Because let’s face it ‘pretentious history’ is not only exhausting, but not representative of how real people lived.  And, after all history is about figuring out about the people before us.  Stupid shit and all.

So moral of the story, I’m sorting out my life but remembering not to take myself too seriously both in life and in my studies.  And honestly, personally I’d hate for 300 years down the road for archaeologists to come across this blog try to paint it as some ‘pretentious historical account’ of 21c life.

Okay, end side tangent.

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