se(mess)ter 2

Se(mess)ter two is upon us.  I went to Ikea with Caitlin and Sophie and got a new plant.  It’s an aloe vera plant which I have named Poe.  Poe the Aloe.  Everyone, please say Aloe to Poe.

Pls say aloe to Poe. #newplantbaby #watchhimthrive

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Quickly, I’m taking three courses again this semester: Archaeological Theory, Archaeological Illustration, and The Crusades and Medieval Society.

I had a seminar for Archaeological Illustration today and I’m really excited.  The course teaches you how create both digital and hand drawn section drawings, artefact drawings, or more artistic renderings, etc.  There are two major projects so I’m pretty keen to get out my art supplies and ~be creative.~ I’ve also been doing some reading for the course already and there are some really interesting points about archaeological representation and how the past is shaped by how we view/study it in the present which I’m pretty ~inspired~ by.

Tomorrow I’ve got a seminar for Crusades and Medieval Society which will be looking at how the views of the Crusades have changed over time.  Again looking at the ideas of how people viewed them then and how we as historians view them today.  Out of all the history courses I have taken up to date, I’ve got to say that I’ve been the most excited for this one.

Wednesday and Thursday are EUMC related activities (avalanche and safety talk on Wednesday and Pub Climbing on Thursday).  Friday morning I’ve got a bright and early 9am a la Theoretical Archaeology which I have been dutifully in attendance and participating in all year long (mother and father are you proud of me yet?? pls.  it’s been 84 years)

Then this weekend, it’s off to Cairngorms for some snow and mountains!  I’ll post pictures, don’t fret Jean.

But anyway, things I have been doing lately include cleaning my room and then being reburied in the mess, reading some books, and swapping the placement of my wardrobe and dresser all myself by crying, pushing it along the carpet, and employing the furniture wobble dance… you know the one.  I’ve actually kept up to date on my daily calendar and I’ve found that three different alarm clocks placed in various locations around my room is the perfect solution to my habit of oversleeping.

I’ve also purchased myself a sleeping bag with arms and legs and a hot water bottle.  However, as a mere mortal, I, Kennedy Younger Dold, gave myself too much power over my own comfort.  To right this wrong, and instead of hiring a mercenary, the universe came for me directly.  One night, I naively (and snuggly) fell asleep in my sleeping bag with arms and legs with my hot water bottle and amongst my two duvets and seven pillows.  Around three o’clock in the morning, I was awoken by the terrible feeling of being boiled alive.  I struggled, in the dark, to free myself from the clutches of my own vanity.  But, I, being a stupid girl, forgot that my hands were still inside the mittens attached to my sleeping bag with arms and legs.  So there I flailed until my eyes adjusted and I was freed from the inferno.  Other than that near death experience, I would rate this product 5 stars on amazon.co.uk.

 

things suck, but not entirely.

Prompted by another revolution around the sun… it’s the 2017 year in review.

Truthfully?  2017 felt like the prolonged hangover that was the entire bottle of vodka of 2016.  New year, probably not new me… but it can only go up from here.  It can’t get any worse, can it?

I’ve just got back from the Bothy.  I celebrated Hogmanay with my friends, the mountains, and fours days in my sleeping bag.  Ellie drove, plenty of shenanigans.

January

I began 2017 at the Bothy.  It was just a few days after my hero and pretty much the inspiration for my attitudes toward life, Carrie Fisher, passed away.  The following week, I traveled to London to meet up with Ellie, Caitlin, and Sophie.  Term started.  I also got a new president and the following day the US had its largest protest to date.  The Women’s March had 500,000 marchers in Washington DC, 4,600,000 in the rest of the US, and an additional 5,000,000 worldwide.  I also climbed some mountains.

Lads hit London. (Feat. Bong bong bong.)

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February 

I finalised plans for nine weeks of field work over the summer and my dad came to visit me.  We went to Bamburgh Castle were I ended up spending five weeks excavating an Anglo-Saxon industrial area.

March 

March is Women’s Month in the US and so I spammed people on Facebook with an inspirational woman everyday.  I also spent a lot of time reading and writing for courses.

happy sunday 🎇

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April 

I finished up second semester of second year.  Then I went down to Chester for the first of my excavations.  I spent two weeks working in a medieval kirkyard excavating, recording, and lifting a burial.  I returned to Edinburgh and turned twenty.  Then I began to revise for my exams.

©♓️📧⚡️🌱📧®

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graffiti? art¿ idk but i like it.

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May 

I revised for sometime.  I took my exams. I skipped down and went north.

hi mom! i forgot sun screen.

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June 

I travelled around with my friends across the UK on the annual EUMC road trip.  We went to the Lake District and then up to Iona.  The EUMC held its dinner meet on the island so after a week of travelling and climbing, we all cleaned up, ate a meal, and had a bonfire on the beach.  I began excavations at Bamburgh Castle the following week.

sound on.

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July 

Still at Bamburgh Castle.  I really loved it there and I learned a lot.  Mallory, a friend from home, came to stay with me for a week.  Then it was off to Italy for my last excavation of the summer.  I flew into Naples to study human remains from the Roman period at Aeclanum.

living the tent life day 32. #archaeology

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spooky haunts with the bestie from the westie.

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August 

It was back to America.  I flew into Florida to meet my family for vacation.  Then I helped my kid sister move into college in Iowa.

Update: local star trash found the droid she was looking for.

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September 

The start of third year.  I helped out with Freshers’ Events for the EUMC.

October 

I climbed some more mountains and revisited a Roman fort.  I was also very stressed.

Kennedy in granario est. #classicsismypassion #spqr5ever #iwalked20kmforthis

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November 

I was very stressed.  Wrote three essays in four weeks and went to Christmas dinner.

December 

I finished early in the month.  My mom came over to visit me.  Then it was back to America for Christmas.  My parent’s adopted another cat.  I saw Star Wars three times.  Then it was back to Scotland for New Years.  I cried at multiple airports.

So what did I learn from 2017? Things suck, but not entirely. 

Had I wished things had gone differently in the 2016 Election.  Everyday.  But, am I glad that the silver lining is that people are becoming active again in politics?  Everyday.  Am i hopeful for the 2018 by-elections?  Hecka.  Am I proud of Alabama in the monumental election of Doug Jones? Yea boiii.

As stressed as I get during the semester am I proud to be a student at a top world university? Duh.  It’s part of the contract.  As Britney would say, ‘You gotta work bitch.’

The summer excavations may have been cold and rainy and then hotter than the sun… but I was still excavating.  And I was loving it.

I may have missed a flight and cried in front of an American airlines employee… but I still made it.

Carrie Fisher might not be around anymore… but her performance in The Last Jedi was everything.

Things suck, but not entirely.  It’s really easy for me to forget that sometimes and only look at what’s gone wrong and not what’s gone right.  I worked a lot on that in 2017, trying to find positive things in what seemed like an awful year long hangover.

So, here’s 2018.

 

end of semester

Because I hate exams and, as exhibited previously, do not perform as well on them as I do on assessed work… I played the classic ‘what courses am I interested in that also don’t have exams.’  It worked out brilliantly.

So that’s the end of the semester for me.  I’m done early… just in time to catch up on my Christmas knitting and yarn shopping.  Sorry everyone, you’re all getting knitwear.  Yay!

I really enjoyed this semester.  My favourite course was Conflict Archeology because we got to study different aspects of conflict including human remains, battlefields, and military strategy.  We took a field trip to Edinburgh Castle and submitted a poster.  It was my first time making an academic poster so I didn’t really know what to expect.  What I didn’t expect was to cry at a uCreate computer in the Edinburgh Uni Library for three hours, but eh.  I ended up with a first on it so I was pretty chuffed.

B073641_ConflictArchaePosterFinal   (that’s the link if you want to check it out)

I also really enjoyed Archaeology in Practice because each week we had a lecture from a different type of archaeologist and it helped to think a lot about my future career and different jobs in archaeology.  My third course was History in Theory, and it was pretty dry not gonna lie.  I enjoyed a few of the lectures, but it was a required course.  I’ve learned I’m a much more practical than theoretical person.

Other great things that happened this semester including increasing the scope of my volunteering at NMS and also starting to help out at the Botanical Cottage at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh.  It’s all very official – I’ve even got a pass.  I’m just trying to widen my experience and see what all sorts of jobs are out there.  As an American, it’s already a narrowfield for me to work in the UK on a work visa… so I may have to get creative.

The EUMC had it’s Christmas Dinner the other week.  It was a great time with all my friends and we all got a chance to get dressed up.  Honestly, with mountaineers sometimes you don’t really recognise people out of muddy kit.

I would say that more exciting things have happened this semester, but truthfully it’s been about the normal level of frantic panic and reassuring ‘it’ll be finnnneeeee’ … maybe with just a higher intake of coffee.

First semester done.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today’s my first Thanksgiving completely away from my family.  Or to clarify: it’s year 3, so this isn’t *technically* my first Thanksgiving away… but it is without at least one member of my family.  My mom came over in first year and my dad and sister came over last year.

This year, they’re all back in Kansas and my sister has just returned home for the first time from University.  And me?  I’m writing this from a coffee shop.  But, just because I’m alone this Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that I’m lonely.

I actually find it pretty hard to be lonely in Edinburgh… and that’s not because there are probably more skeletal remains buried beneath the city than living inhabitants.  No, I find it hard to be lonely in Edinburgh because of the history and stories surrounding everything.  That, and of course, my friends… who are truly wonderful people and I probably don’t tell them that enough.

This weekend we went to the Bothy for the last EUMC meet of the year.  We cooked up a big meal aka about 40L of vegetable soup.  We started early on Saturday morning and served up around 8pm.  It was a few days early, but being at the Bothy, cooking, and drinking mulled wine in front of the fire felt a little bit like own little Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t related to anyone there, but it felt like a little family nonetheless.  (And, yeah, sure, maybe I’m a little sentimental… but being a long way from your family around this time of year makes anyone sentimental.)

mountains, soup, whisky, and bagpipes … fair bothy weekend¿?¿

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Happy Thanksgiving.

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I was grateful for this weekend.  I had been very stressed and I was grateful for that beautiful place in the mountains.  How the sun hit the snowy peaks and how the clear the river was.  I was grateful for the stars, and how you could see Orion overhead – the first constellation my dad ever taught me.  But, most importantly, I was grateful for the stories from the people milling about and the laughter they brought with them – for the singing and the dancing and the fireworks and even the bagpipes.

If living abroad has taught me anything, it’s that the world may seem pretty big… but it’s also pretty small as well.  The places and the people may be different but the feeling of the holidays remain the same.

Thanksgiving has been and will be a day for stopping and looking at the wonderful life around you.  It’s for realising that things aren’t as bad as they seem.  It’s about giving thanks for the places you’ve been and will go and the people you’ve met and will meet along the way.

screaming into the void

It’s been about a week since my last post and while, I’d admit nothing of spectacular note has happened, I’d figure I’d update you about my meager life existence.

Things have been busy here (duh).  I’m hurtling quickly down the path to Essay City.  Deadlines are coming up fast on the 1, 6, and 7.  After that it’s pretty consistent until I finish in early December.  No exams, just a dense compaction of shit.

Last week was the EUMC ceilidh (for my lovely American readers, a traditional Scottish event that is part line dancing, square dancing, and cage fight) and I somehow managed to come out of the ceilidh relatively unscathed.  Minor bruising and a few scraps but everyone made it back safe and sound with 40 chicken McNuggets in tow.

On Tuesday, my conflict archaeology course took a trip to Edinburgh Castle to look the military history of the castle.  I’m really enjoying the class and getting some ideas for my dissertation.  I hadn’t been to the castle since visiting it with my family back in 2015, so it was pretty cool to go back and see new things… obviously not new because the castle is hecka old but new to me because I’VE LEARNED THINGS!  A fantastinating concept that is… when you read and learn new things about history (or the world) your views, opinions, and knowledge become more refined.  Truly fascinating.

I’ve been working on an assignment for my Archaeology course as well as a short response to a piece about intersectional feminism for my History in Theory course.  I’ve got to get started on my field trip report about Edinburgh Castle as well as another short response for History in Theory.

There’s been strange but actually pretty interesting lectures this week.  I just came from one about ‘Animals in History’ and how/can we actually write histories of animals?  The lecturer was a medievalist and kept talking about medieval heraldry and bestiaries so that was a worth getting up at 7.45 on a Thursday for.  He also showed up photos of his dog.  Another lecture, had back on Tuesday went from Poststructuralism to 16c demonic possession real fast so that was funky fresh.  I’m just along for the ride tbh.

Um… what else?  I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim in the evenings to disassociate myself from the impending stress that I know November will bring.  You’re reading the work of the new Arch Mage of the College of Winterhold.

I’m just trying to life my best life, pls.

lakes lakes lakes

This weekend I traveled down to the Lakes District with the EUMC.  It’s my fourth time in Great Langdale, but, gosh, it’s always so pretty.  Even when it’s crap weather.

We left Edinburgh per usual on Friday night, arriving late and of course in the rain to the campsite.  I pitched my tent quickly… but of course everything got soaked anyway.  Saturday a group of us (Ellie, Tuva, myself, and some new members.  We were later joined by some veteran Yummicks as well.) walked to Pavey Ark for some good scrambling up Jack’s Rake.  The weather thankfully held out for us during the scramble which was nice.  For the laywoman, a scramble is more technical than a walk but does not require to be roped up like a pitching a climb.  Jack’s Rake was really fun with a few chimneys which required a little bit more climbing and some decent exposure down to the valley.

Here’s a photo of Pavey Ark, one of the Langdale Pikes.  I’ve drawn the green line to show our line of ascent.  This obviously it’s my photo (i stole it from wikipedia) because lol what is the sun?

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 10.21.37 AM.png

Here’s what it looked like for us.

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photo from Saturday's walk.

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Still nice tho.

After a long day, my feet were soaked and gross and wow am I glad I brought extra socks and talcum powder.  Tuva, Erling, and I cooked dinner at the campsite.  Then we all went to the pub.  We all love the pub.

Sunday morning was slower but just as exciting.  I took a larger group of newer members on a chilled valley walk to Ambleside to see the Roman Fort there.  I’d been there in first year, but knew the walk and it was pretty relaxing.  Wasn’t anything major but was a chance to see some of the smaller villages and valleys of the Lakes District.  It was 20km round trip, but was mostly flat and along well established trails so we kept good pace.

We stopped at the Roman fort just on the banks of Windermere, one of the larger lakes.  I showed my group the ruins of the Roman granary and we stopped for lunch.  I contained my feelings and didn’t cry this time lol.

Kennedy in granario est. #classicsismypassion #spqr5ever #iwalked20kmforthis

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We left the campsite on Sunday night a little after 6pm.  I got back to my flat around 10pm.  My feet are gross but it was a good weekend.

Yesterday, I had a volunteer meeting at the NMS and then later that night I watched the new episodes of Victoria and Outlander with Ellie, Caitlin, Sophie, and Urte.  I have never been more stressed in my entire life than I was during the last four minutes of this week’s episode of Outlander.  Then I came home and thought it was a good idea to stay up until 4.30 am to wait for the new Star Wars trailer because it was released America time.  Spoiler alert: it was completely a good idea.  I had a 9am lecture this morning and another two hour seminar coming up in a bit.

I’m v tired. l8r.

week one

Sorry for the radio silence, things have been a bit busy here over the past week.

Last week was my first week back at University.  The week before that had been Freshers’ Week and was full of plenty of events to keep me busy.

Since I’m on the committee for the EUMC again this year I helped out at the Fresher’s Sports Fair and then helped out on the Cobbler meet.  It’s my third time to the Cobbler, but things were a little bit different this year.  I’ve got new knee braces and walking poles.  I looked like an absolute Grandmother, but honestly for the first time in about six years my knees didn’t cause me any problems.  If you’re new to my life, I’ve got some genetic abnormalities in how my patellas articulate which has caused tendonitis in both knees and has led to a few cases of ‘snap-back’ dislocation.  Yay.  I’ve been wearing some form of knee brace since I was fourteen and been through therapy for them multiple times, and while it’s always caused problems I’ve really tried to not let it stop me from enjoying sports etc.  So, when I only experiencing the type-2 fun of ‘why am I walking long distances for fun’ and not the type-3 fun of ‘I would rather step in a bear trap than have to use my legs’ I was pretty ecstatic.

My classes started up on Tuesday with a 9 AM lecture for History in Theory.  It’s one of my required classes and while it’s probably going to be a bit dry, I think I’m going to enjoy it.  Our lectures are over a variety of topics from Marxist History to Gender Theory.  I also had a seminar for my Conflict Archaeology class.  I am really excited for this course and I was really glad that I got a space in it as it is normally way over subscripted. Especially exciting is that during the semester Douglas D. Scott is coming to give a guest lecture!  Scott was one of the leading Conflict Archaeologists who basically 1) invented the discipline as we know it today and 2) lead major works on the Battle of Little Bighorn which basically reinvented our understanding of the battle!

My skool is kweel. #year3

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Wednesday I had the day off and while I didn’t do much this week, I know in the coming weeks I’ll be glad to have a reading day!

Thursday I had another 9 AM lecture for History in Theory.  Thursday night was the first EUMC social of the year.  Gregor and I were marshals at one of the pubs on the crawl list and had invented a fantastic challenge of having participants eat cream crackers whilst downing a pint.  Since I had to get up early the next day for a 9-11 Archaeology seminar I planned on not staying out too terribly late. ‘Planned’ is the key word in that sentence.  And additionally, with Tuva home sick Gregor, Erling, and I had no adult supervision which learning from past experiences is never a good thing…

Friday morning I had a my Archaeology seminar about Community Archaeology at 9 AM. I made it.  I participated in the discussion.  I went home.

Saturday we celebrated Caitlin’s birthday (the fool’s real birthday was over the summer, but apparently our Facebook posts weren’t enough smh).  Saturday night I thrilled to find ‘Dirty Dancing’ had been added to Amazon Prime.

And today, I’ve spent the afternoon reading for my History in Theory lecture and then tomorrow I’ll read for my Conflict Archaeology course.  I’ll be starting in on my assignments soon as they are all due in a massive group at the end of November and I’m gonna die if I procrastinate.

amigas, cheetahs, friends for lyfe.

It’s always nice to see your friends – especially ones you haven’t seen in over a year.

This week, the down week between me getting back from Bamburgh and then jet setting it off to Italy to hang out with dead people (re: I’m taking an Osteology Course near Pompeii), I had one my best friends from American come and visit.

Mallory and I had suffered through *American High School* together so we’ve been through a lot.  She had been in Ireland this summer working at the Trinity College Library in Dublin.  She’s a pretty cool person doing European Studies with a focus on Museums at University right now.

She arrived late on the 22nd and I walked down to meet her at Waverly Station.  After that I spend the next week showing her around the lovely city of Edinburgh.  We went to lots of museums: The National Gallery, Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum.  And drank a metric shit ton of coffee.  One of our favourite activities is to sit at a coffee shop for prolonged periods of time and drink enough coffee to feel our hearts palpitating.  Great fun.

We also explored plenty of *creepy* graveyards and went to the cat cafe where Mallory harassed a hairless cat wearing a hoodie.

spooky haunts with the bestie from the westie.

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And brunch! We went for brunch on multiple days.  Brunch is one of our favourite activities.

Basically we’re already old ladies.  We actually discussed the ‘Are you a Twenty Something Grandmother’ Buzzfeed quiz where we had both scored over 80%.

We also went to the Royal Botanical Garden on a particular sunny day.  I’d never been before, having attempted multiple times but always getting lost and then somehow ending up in Leith with blistered feet… long story.  The garden stretches over 72 acres and features a variety of plants.  Some are very big.

I'm standing on my toes.

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On one of the rainy days we went to go see the new film Dunkirk.  Mal and I sat in the corner and cried for the entire duration of the film.  We are also both very frequent criers, especially if the topic includes anything historical.

But anyway, we had a great time.  Not to be sentimental, but living abroad has really made me understand that I make friendships with people in different ways now.  Since I don’t get to see many of my friends on a daily basis, I mostly communicate with them via social media or sometimes when I’m feeling really elderly I’ll send letters.

But, just because I don’t see a person as frequently as others doesn’t make that friendship any less important to me.  It’s actually really incredible when I do go online and get to see what cool things my amazing friends are up to all over the world.  It makes the world a much smaller and connected place and it just means that when I do get to finally see a friend it’s all the better. ❤

 

summer with the anglo-saxons

Hi all! It’s me.  Still alive and probably still a nuisance.  I just got back from my five week excavation at Bamburgh Castle along the Northumbrian coast.  I’m still super tired but the last five weeks have been amazing.  Here’s a quick run-down of the excavation from my excavation journal for the viewers at home.

12 June, 17.45 

First day at Bamburgh Castle excavation!  Arrived yesterday via train from Edinburgh.

Today we had a site tour, health and safety, and general info.  We are working in the outer ward of the castle with two trenches.  Trench 1 is located near St. Oswald’s Gate, the original 7c entrance to the castle.  Trench 3 is located closer to the inner ward of the castle in an area that has been identified as a manufacturing center with evidence of metalworking and animal processing.

We then took a tour of the Excavation offices located in the 19c windmill.  This is where most of the post excavation work is carried out.  We got a chance to see a multitude of finds from the project including bone artifacts and metals like iron, lead, and even gold.

We began to clean Trench 3 after removing the tarps and sandbags.  Cleaning a Trench means that you remove the top few millimeters of wash-in soils to reveals the colour changes of the archaeology below.

Trench 3 showed evidence of a structure with two cobbled paths.  The current level of excavation is around the 7/8c.  There is a large amount of animal bone as well as evidence of metalworking.  As stated, the current assumption about the site is that it was the manufacturing portion of the castle, near the entrance, with finished goods then taken into the inner ward.

13 June, 17.53

Day 2 complete.  Continued to clean back Trench to reveal colors of the features.  Nearly finished with cleaning and will start excavation in few days.

During cleaning, I uncovered an iron nail!  It was catalogued as a small find and given a number for the records.

A lot of animal bone has continued to come up so the site continues to support the ideas of a production center.

Excited to begin trench excavation.

14 June, 19.55

Finished cleaning trench today.  Took photographs of pre-excavation levels.  Will begin proper excavation tomorrow.

I was cleaning the ‘Roman’ area of the trench.  So-called because of the samian ware found in a hole in 2011.  This bedrock on this side of the trench is located higher up but is equal stratigraphically with the other side of the trench.  However, because Roman finds have been coming up on this portion of the trench, work in this area will stop until the Roman level is reached on the other side of the trench as well.

We have the castle tour tomorrow, which should be good to see with our supervisors leading the way.

Overall, I am really enjoying the site and learning a lot.

June 15, 18.54

Worked on Trench 1 today!  The Trench is nearly complete with aims to close at the end of the season.  I finished cleaning a feature, planned, and took a photo.

Today we also had a tour of the castle.  We learned more about the site and the history of the castle.

June 17, 19.21

Yesterday I worked Finds.  I floated samples, sieved, and worked in the windmill for a bit.  The Windmill is where all the records are kept and finds are managed.

As for floatation, I am always so surprised at the material recovered.  Basically, floatation consisted of taking soil samples from the trench and stimulating them in a large tank with running water.  This causes lighter organic material like charcoal and even burnt seeds to float to the top and into a collection bag.  The skill is really useful for collecting data about past environments like what I was doing in Romania last summer.  It’s a really useful way of analysing the site… I just really hate having to go through the process.

Excavation on site will continue tomorrow as I help to plan more of Trench 1 before it closes.

*heavy breathing* took my day off from excavation down to Alnwick.

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As for today, I had the day off and went to Alnwick (pronounced An-Ick).  I went to Barter Books as the recommendation of my friend Sophie.  The bookshop is HUGE! and is located in the old Alnwick Railway Station.  They basically just covered over the Platforms with boards and put in tons and tons of bookshelves and filled then with thousands of used books.  *heavy breathing*   After going to the bookshop, I went to the castle.  The castle was incredibly opulent and the library inside was ridiculous, I could not believe some of the title they had! Leather bound copies of both the Chronicles of Froissart and Monstrelet aka the closest we have to eyewitness accounts of the Hundred Years War including the best account for the Battle of Agincourt!  Alnwick castle was also the filming location for the first Harry Potter movie and was used for exterior scenes of Hogwarts!  And it was the birthplace of Henry Percy aka Harry Hotspur who helped to put Henry IV on the throne and then later became rivals to the family and according the Shakespeare a direct rival to Henry V.

Causal castle crying.

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I work again tomorrow and Monday starts Week 2.

June 18, 18.04

Worked at the castle today putting a stair access into the trench by cutting back the turf and shoveling dirt.  This is because the ramp used as a second access point will soon be re-sucked back into the trench as Trench 8 (an old trench dug by Brian Hope-Taylor in the 1960s) will be reopened for re-evaluation.  The stairs will serve to allow access in. This a very important part in site planning and health and safety.

Additionally, after a long day of hard work in a surprisingly hot Northumbrian sun we ate ice cream and went for a swim on the beach.

19 June, 18.30

First day of Week 2!

Excavated a shell midden to start which proved to be a very complex feature with evidence of multiple dumping acts over a period of some time.  There were layers of shell beneath layers of sediments.

Next, I cleaned the feature in the corner and planned it.  Unsure as to just what the feature is as there are many different context boundaries and colour shifts.  It is intriguing that there is a near perfect darkened rectangle in the middle of the orange clay feature.  Possible burnt area?  Possible post hole?

June 20, 17.24

Worked a long day today.  Excavated the feature I planned yesterday.  Revealed to be a burning site, potentially in situ!!  As I found evidence of fire cracked stones.  Large stones were used as a means of boiling large vats of water quickly or could have been used to line a hearth.  However, the bone found in the area did not show evidence of burning. It was a more redish hue which could mean that it was boiled, connecting it to the fire cracked stones.

I collected two sample buckets of the burnt context for further analysis and then filled in context sheets, plan forms, and photos.

June 21, 18.24

Today I began a cross section of a possible feature.  I planned, leveled, and began to find the edges of the context.  This was in the afternoon.  In the morning, it finally rained and we went inside the Windmill and washed finds.

I am getting along great with everyone on site and am really enjoying the excavation.  I am a little tired though and probably a little bit more grumpy than usual.  But, it’s been 3.5 weeks camping for me now.  (1.5 on excavation and the two weeks before that going up to the Bothy and then the Road Trip).  My grumpiness could be linked to that or the kinks in my back.  I plan to take evening to read a little and go to sleep early.

Tonight we have a lecture about the Bowl Hole, the cemetery found outside the castle a few years back.  I am very excited for this lecture.

June 22, 17.39

Today I helped with the ramp building along Trench 8.

Trench 8 is to be re-evaluated once a safety ramp is constructed.  I shoveled dirt, belayed buckets out of the trench, etc.  No actual excavation today but setting up a proper area to work in is just as important as the actual work itself!  No one wants to become part of the archaeology!

And it was pretty fun to get some rope work in.  I used a hip belay to bring up buckets from the Trench.  Archaeology and mountaineering knowledge… am I Lara Croft yet?

24 June, 21.38

Yesterday I continued to clear out the backfill of Tench 8.  Again, T8 is the location where Hope-Taylor found the two swords and the axes in the 1960s.  We are reopening it to 1) Check the records are correct for publication and 2) Connect T8 to the cobbled path in T3 were last year a copper Anglo-Saxon bird plate was found.

We shoveled more buckets of backfill and will continue on Sunday when I work again.

Today I am off to Edinburgh to do my laundry and water my plants.

25 June, 19.46

Today we worked to plan a cross section of a pit by measuring out the grid, measuring rocks in the cross slab.  We did this by taking grid points aka eastings and northings.

Good day today with good work.  Easy Sunday.  I am excited to get back to work tomorrow.

week 2/5 complete on this lovely site with an equally lovely view.

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26 June, 18.25

Today I filled in context sheets for the tri-pit.  So called because this feature is a pain in the ass.  It was thought to be a single pit.  Until two more pits were found cut into an older pit in the center.  However the southern pit has been truncated by an early section excavated in the 1960s.

The feature was half-sectioned and I filled in sheets for the section completed.  It was very confusing attempting to establish a chronology for the feature because you first need to locate the cut lines in the half section of the wall.

After completing the paperwork, for the half section the other side of the pit was excavated.  Samples were taken of the first two pits.  Each pit had to be excavated separately as to keep the samples with the least amount of contamination.

Tomorrow it is due to rain and I will be working Finds.

living the tent life day 32. #archaeology

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28 June, 17.15

Yesterday it rained.

Today I finished excavation of the pit feature, previously called the tri-pit… now is the quad-pit. Today there was even evidence of a possible post hole burning with a perfect circle of charcoal appearing the new pit cut into the pit.

We realised that the multitudes of pits inter-cutting each other had made the feature look bigger than it actually was.  But, there was no way of telling the boundaries of the feature without excavation.

Lastly, the pit shows (maybe?) a relation to a know floor surface.  Was the floor surface cut into?

1 July, 11.59

Sorry haven’t recorded.  Thursday it rained.  So we worked finds in the morning and in the afternoon we took a trip to Lindisfarne.  We got to see the island, the priory, and walked along the beach.  It was a beautiful island and amazing to see the connections between Lindisfarne and Bamburgh.

Friday was another rainy day spent working on finds.  I sorted the environmental finds in the morning and finds washed in the afternoon.  All in all two good rainy days.

It’s been a little hectic lately with the living situation.  A group of us got majorly flooded out of our tents on Friday.  With our tents flooded all our kit got pretty soaked and the staff who had stayed at the campsite spent the day drying kit and making sure nothing was super wrecked.  It was awfully nice of them.  But, you can’t really return to a tent once it’s had nearly 2L of water poured out of it.  So I now find myself with the other students in an AirBNB here in Belford.

3 July

Yesterday I worked back in T8.  Continued to shovel backfill until the section edge reached 1.20m.  The legal working height for an open trench with small sides is 1.20m again health and safety.

Today I planned the stupid quad-pit and it still proved to a pain in the ass.  But the context is now closed.  Afterward I helped one of the staff members to locate a missing trench edge from an old plan that had unfortunately not been finished or included grid points.  By using the context register and old photos from 2002 we were able to locate the plan and then I started to remove the turf to uncover the edge.

6 July

Tuesday was the fourth of July spent in rainy Northumbria.  We worked in Trench 8 on the section plan until the rain puddled too much and we had to move to Finds.  I spend the afternoon working to track down missing samples from the Kaims which had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle a few years back.

Wednesday was sunny so we did a full clean of Trench 1.  So that it could be photographed.  T1 is again the trench by St. Oswald’s gate was thought to be complete until about 18 new features surfaced after the amount of rain we got last week. Wednesday afternoon I worked on Finds.

Today was the day!  We started the morning by going back to Lindisfarne to see the excavation being carried out there.  Looks like they found a new church!

That afternoon, I started to remove and sample the 9c pebbled surface.  The pebbled surface ran adjacent to the 9c metal working building in the SE corner of the trench.  I’m working on the area and today was excavation was recorded to later be used in some media uploads for the excavation.   The surface is between two rows of curb stones and consisted of many layers of stone deposit.  I have already found animal bone, teeth, and charcoal.  Basically, things people would have dropped or lost.  With it’s proximity to the metal workshop I am hoping to maybe find metal objects or coins.  The last part of the day I id’d a cut feature in the path which had been called a post hole.

I’m really proud to be able to work this pebbled path because it’s a really important part of the trench.

9 July

Friday I continued to clean away the surface.  We planned and photographed the area.  This included having to off sight plan by using a temporary bench mark.  We then used the tape measures to off sight the eastings and northings.

We did id a definite post hole on Friday and today I half-sectioned the post hole for sampling.  The post hole rests against one of the large curb stones and so the curb stone was probably used as a packing stone for the post.

While I was excavating the post hole my working partner half sectioned the path so that we could see the layers of stratigraphy.

After a bit time it became apparent we had entered a new layer as small pebble stones stopped and a layer of shell emerged followed back a layer of cobbles.  Next to the new layer of cobbles is what appears to be a sandstone area.

The curb stones on either side of the part are very deeply imbedded and will an absolute bitch to excavate out.

13 July

Monday, continued to work on pavement for half day and then moved to work on cleaning back trench edge on east side to reveal matching statifigaphy to missing plan.

Tuesday, worked finds.  I sorted between animal bone and human bone from old bone bags from the Bowl Hole.  Actually found a human finger mixed into the older bags.

Wednesday, worked on the cobbled path.  Removed layer of cobbles and sandstone to find that the cobbled path discovered last season underlays our area!  How big is this path?!  Also found another medieval hobnail!

Thursday, continued with cobbled path with planning and photography.

Today, last friday at the castle.  Very good season.  Today I was on Finds.  Worked through five bags of samples. I really enjoyed this season and as I weigh my options for next summer, I am really considering returning.

Last week of excavation here and I'm sad.

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In 793 there were Viking ships in this water. 😱😱

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The excavation was really incredible and the site was in a beautiful location with the sea crashing up onto the nearby beach.  I am so glad that I was able to excavate here and again, I am so glad that I chose to study archaeology.  It gives me a chance to get out into the field but also stay in and work with records and books.  It’s an incredible feeling waking up each morning and entering a castle to work.  There were times when I was excavating the pebble path that I thought just how many feet had trodden over the surface and that I was now amongst them.  I guess it’s just like the pull of mountaineering.  To be able to go places and see things that few people will ever get to see.

On Saturday, a group of reenactors came to the castle to stage mock fights.  They pitched tents in the outerward by our excavation.  I shut my eyes and listened to the clanging of metal swords and spears as I worked.  For a brief minute, as I uncover the Anglo-Saxon world I got to be a small part of it and was re-learning what we once knew.

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yummick road trip 2017

Hello friends it is I, your local hermit.  I just got back last night after a whirlwind tour of the UK.

sound on.

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It all started right after my last exam on May 23.  I finished my exam at 4.30 pm and then headed right north to the Bothy with a small crew to finish renovations and spend a few days there.  I’ve officially taken over as Bothy Secretary for the EUMC and the place looks fantastic.  The kitchen is now fitted, doors are hung, the fireplace is filled in, and we even got a fantastic day out on the hills for some sunny walking.  We walked the Five Sisters of Kintail, a ridge line with five peaks and three Munros.  I got terribly sunburned during the walk and basically both of my arms  have peeled off.  On May 26, it was back to Edinburgh.  I spend May 27 airing my kit and repacking.  It was a quick turnaround as we left again, early, on May 28 to head south.

hi mom! i forgot sun screen.

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Ali, Ellie, Tuva, Erling, and myself all crammed ourselves and our kit into Ali’s parent’s car and began our week long adventure across the UK.  We first headed south to the Lake District to avoid the bad weather up north in Scotland.  We may have had a mild SNAFU with the bouldering mat whilst driving the M-6.  For the first two days, we stayed at Ellie’s grandparent’s cottage in the Lake District.  The building was built in 1725! We spend one day climbing and the next day we went for a nice 17km stroll.

Then we packed up again and headed further south into the Lake District. We arrived in Great Langdale for a rainy afternoon.  We pitched our tents and I made sad sausages in the rain on my camping stove while Ellie held an umbrella over my head.  To wait out the rain we all headed to the pub.  Later that night, more Yummicks joined us at the camp site.  The next day we headed over to Shepard’s Crag for a day of climbing in the sun.  I got sunburned again.  I lead my first pitches in a right long while and it felt really good to be back out climbing.  The next day, Ali, Ellie, and I headed to the Langdale Boulders.  I saw the Neolithic rock art carved into the sides of the boulders and pitched my hammock and take a nap.  Tuva and Erling went climbing at the nearby Raven Crag.

The next day was a long haul drive from the Lakes up to Oban.  Oban is a port city on the west coast of Scotland.  We caught the ferry over to Mull from Obam.  Once on Mull, we put the party bops on and jammed out as we drove across the island to reach Fionnport.  We stayed the night at a campsite in Fionnport.  The sunset was incredible.

The next day, while many stayed on Mull for some climbing I packed up my things and caught the early ferry over to Iona.  Iona was the location for the Dinner Meet on Saturday night, a dinner of general shenanigans and debauchery.

However, Iona is also an island of significant historical importance.  In 563 AD Columba landed on the island with 12 monks and established one of the more important religious sites in Scotland.  The Abbey on Iona is famous throughout history.   And, a link to my upcoming excavation at Bamburgh Castle, when King Oswald was a boy he spent his exile in the kingdom of Dal Riata (modern day Argyll and parts of Ireland).  Iona was the religious center for Dal Riata.  When Oswald converted to Christianity, he would at some point visited Iona.  And later when Oswald returned to Northumberland and took back his rights as king of Bamburgh castle, he brought with him a new sense of Christian ideals.  It was Oswald who granted Aiden the land for Lindisfarne and strengthened the connection between secular kingdoms and the church.

So anyway, I spend the day on the island by myself.  I went for a run around the island to explore the sites.  It was fantastic.  The weather was amazing as I explored the Nunnery and the Abbey.  While I was listening to the audio guide at the Abbey, I heard what I thought was a crack of thunder.  At first I just thought it was part of the guide’s music but then I looked outside and saw that the sky had opened up and there was actually a small thunderstorm!  I waited in the 13c Benedictine cloisters for the storm to pass.

That afternoon, more yummicks made it to Iona and we headed down to the beach.  I jumped into the ocean and had a good swim around in the cold, but-not-too-cold water.

Iona was definitely an island where you could feel the sense of history.  It cloaked everything on the island with a sense of mysticism.  When I took the ferry over from Mull and caught site of the Abbey from the water, I could understand why for over 1000 years people have been coming to this island.

That evening, everyone finally took showers and we headed to the restaurant for the dinner meet.  It was a really nice time and I got a chance to see all my friends again before everyone leaves for the summer or in the case of a few for exchange the next year.  After dinner, we headed back to the campsite to change and then headed back down to the beach for a bonfire.  I roasted s’mores and then taught a lot of my friends how to make them as well.  I was shocked to find that the quintessential camping food was just an American thing.  We hung around the bonfire singing songs, telling stories, and drinking a lot of alcohol.  Lol, what did you expect?  You put 40+ twenty somethings on an island after a week of walking, climbing, and camping.  We finally got pushed out of the beach by an onset of rain around 3 AM.

The next day was a slow pack up and then ferry back to Fionnport.  From there we drove back around Mull to catch the ferry back to Oban.  The drive was long as we arrived back at the flat around 9.45 last night.

All in all it was a fantastic trip out with lovely people and a good start to a summer I know is going to be stellar.  The only downside is that it’s over and lost pretty much all the skin on my arms.

I woke up late this morning to air out my kit and write this post.  I’m just back in Edinburgh for a few days now.  I’ll be heading south soon again to start my five week excavation at Bamburgh Castle!