Poulton Excavation

Hello all!  Today marked the end of the Poulton Research Project, the two week excavation of a medieval graveyard south of Chester.  The site is located five miles south of Chester in the middle of an agricultural field.  For your reading enjoyment (and because I’ve already written it) here’s my field journal.

April 9. 3.56 pm 

Took the train down from Edinburgh this morning.  Had a stop over in Crewe to change trains.  Read Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher while on the train.

Arrived in Chester.  Will be taking part on the Poulton Research Project for 2 weeks.  Staying at a lovely flat on the River Dee.  Just staying by myself, I really am going to enjoy the next two weeks.  And!  The place that the Parliamentary forces broke through the city walls during the English Civil War and a Roman Amphitheater are just around the corner from where I am staying!  I will pass them each morning as I walk to the bus stop!  I am going out now to sort lunch and buy groceries for the 2 weeks.  Very excited to be on this excavation – medieval skeletons! Need to be on site for 9 am tomorrow and then 9.40 form there.  On site until 4.30 pm each day.

April 10. 5.52 pm

First day of excavation complete.  Caught bus to the Straight Mile this morning.  Met at the milking parlour for debrief.  The site is on a very old landscape with finds from every period from Neolithic to Medieval.  A large Iron Age settlement is suspected in the region.  We saw the finished Iron Age trench (to be filled in next week).  It had 9 roundhouses.  Massive round-houses built over a period of 200 years.  They suspect it was some sort of tribal capitol.  The land during the Medieval period (12c-ish) was owned by a the Cistercian monks who build a large Abbey in the area.  The Abbey has still yet to be found.  The monks kept people off of the land, un-intentionally preserving the archaeology.  After 70 years, the Abbey was abandoned and the land laid bare due to increasing pressure from the Welsh border.  There was a series of Welsh/English conflicts in the 14c/15c.  In the early 15c, a Chapel (where I am excavating) was built by the Manley family.  The last time the Chapel appears in records was during the English Civil War of the 1640s where the Chapel was used as a look-out for invading Parliamentary forces as Chester had backed the Royalists.

The Chapel itself is built on the ground of a Roman building (possibly a shrine to a water-goddess).  After Roman occupation there are Saxon furrow marks in the soil.  A early medieval chapel was built on the site before the larger later one built by Lord Manley.  This is evidenced by the buttress on the inside of the Chapel tower.  A buttress was a feature used on the outside of a building to support the wall.

I am excavating in the southern graveyard.  There are six of us working in the graveyard.  We have been allocated into groups of two.  My partner and I excavated through the demolition layer which included charnel bone, teeth, slate roof tiles, sandstone, and building mortar from the Chapel.  We should expect to find an articulated skeleton by day three or four.  The side of the trench has the ball of a femur exposed so either this is a loose burial or a disarticulated bone.  Additionally, a geological anomaly created soil that was less acidic and in turn preserved bone much better than most sites around Britain.

The site is in a really amazing landscape with large potential as not many excavation have been undertaken in the area due to the boulder clay soil/idea that nothing was there.

April 11. 6.17 pm

Long day!  On site for 9.40 am.  Continued to take down demolition layer.  Still no sign of burial after a few false leads.  The femur head was just that.  I found a few other bits of bone but no stratified burial yet.  My partner discovered a bit of skull just before the end of the day.  Have been excavating quickly now to get down to lower levels but unsure.  We have however uncovered a piece of 10c Chester ware which backs up the Saxon connections to the site!

The site directors are very nice and I am learning a lot from them.  My knees are sore from today I stopped at Lush for some bath bombs and will take a nice soak after making dinner… I’m thinking salmon and veg.

April 12. 6.52 pm

We have a burial?  Or two?  Articulated vertebrae and ribs were found today!  The cranium found yesterday was actually a second cranium directly on top of our burial.  We have excavated down and are currently working to recover the rest of the burial by removing the deposition layer.

We have been assigned a context number for our burial now.  Context is an archaeology word for a ‘human action in time.’ A burial consists of 3 actions: grave digging, placement of the body, and backfill.  Our feature has three context numbers.

However, our feature has been a little strange.  It also has a spare C2 vertebrae and Maxilla (upper jaw).  Is there a second burial below?  Will be interesting to see if the burial is indeed a burial/double burial/ or a charnel pit.  Many questions.  The cranium is facing east, so that is a good sign pointing to an articulated Medieval Christian burial.

April 14. 7.34 am

Forgot to write yesterday.  Went out for drinks and a tour of Chester!  The city is super cool and was founded by the Romans as a fortress, you can still see the Roman grid system in the roads.  We met at a pub which was actually located in the old city crypts built in the 11c!

Anyway, excavation went well yesterday.  Our burial is very young, probably at least three but no more than four.  I exposed the vertebrae and we have recovered the right femur.  Still no sign of the right side which is a bit strange.  Haven’t been able to figure out how the second cranium fits in either because it is too close to the first and one would expect another stratified burial?

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April 15. 10.14 am

Just seated for breakfast on my day off.  Yesterday was a quick day on the site.  First, we gave short presentations about our burials and excavations thus far.  We have continued to clean down our burial.

Our skeleton is very young – probably three but no more than four years old.  There are two extra craniums alongside the burial.  I excavated the right side to reveal that the right arm (and so the left) have been crossed over the body.  However because the burial is so young, small, and fragile we have little hope of recovering finger and hand bones.  Likewise, while we have cleaned the ribs and second cranium (to be removed Monday as it shows no sign of stratification).  We have avoided cleaning the sacrum because a phD student from Durham is doing a study about parasites found in child burials.  Okay breakfast has arrived… will continue later.

Overall, the excavation is run very well and I believe I have truly learned much over the past week.

On Monday, we will be having an osteology course in the milking parlour at 10 am.  on Tuesday afternoon, we are getting to learn about medieval archery!  I have not expressed my massive interest in archery just yet – I fear it may make me look like a bigger geek that I already am!  Today I have the day off and will be exploring Chester for a good coffee house – somewhere to revise.

April 18. 8.24 am

Busy weekend off.  Glorious weather and exploring Chester.  On Saturday, I went to the the Grosvenor Museum and saw some of the material from Chester’s Roman fort.  Next to the Cathedral, the oldest part was built in the 11c!  On Sunday, I ate breakfast, went to the Jaunty Goat for revision and coffee and then took the bus out to see the Duke of Westminster’s Estate.  He had opened the gardens for the day to allow the plebeian riff-raff like myself a chance to see them.  The driveway was long (2 miles!) and no one stopped offer me a lift so I walked.

Monday was back on site but it was raining so we stayed inside to wash finds.  We had an osteology unit.  It was very cool and we got a chance to look at two different skeletons from the site.  I clearly had not gotten a first in osteology for no reason and I was able to successfully age and determine the sex of both skeletons!

It always amazes me what you can tell from a set of remains – nearly everything about a person… but really nothing about who they were…

10.18 pm

Cleaned up after muddy day on site and ready to sleep.  Today was a typical day will be photographing skeleton tomorrow morning.  Lifted 2nd cranium today but third (the one bisecting the right femur) is still a mystery.

Other groups: one intact standard burial near complete.  Another group started as a charnel pit(?) but turned into a child burial with potential of being a double inhumation!  However, while clearing, a cranium was found inside of a left pelvis!  Our supervisor was concerned that they had uncovered a baby in utero alongside the mother!  Thankfully, it turned out just to be two more charnel bones.  Whew.

Our skeleton is just as interesting however in its relation to cranium 3.  As it bisects the right femur, the only was it could have would be if it was placed in first there is a significant grave cut which truncates the child’s burial past mid-femur so there is a high probability that there is a second grave directly below ours. A mandible located close to the cranium 3 could belong to it… but no way to know.  Additionally massive amounts of post-mortem damage has affected our skeleton including bioturbation from the nearby hedge line and compression from years of walking over which has actually smashed the skull inward.

Additionally, an archery teacher came today to talk to us about the English longbowman because the site being on the Welsh border was an important one during the Border Wars of the late 13c!  The ones that Henry V was involved in during the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV.   They have actually found a burial on site which had a large bodkin inside of the sternum!

We got a chance to shoot the bow and although I hadn’t shot a bow in nearly a year… I guess it’s like riding a bike.  The archery teacher even complimented my technique.  Side tangent: I taught myself how to accurately shoot a traditional longbow and crossbow while researching a paper on the English longbowman during school to gain a better understanding of the medieval sources.

April 20. 8.25 am

Good day yesterday.  Photographed and took levels and measurements for the burial.  Used the dumpy level and took eastings and northings using the grid system.  Filled out context sheets and skeleton forms.  Now lifting the burial and should be complete by tomorrow!

8.34 pm 

Today I lifted the cranium of a small child.  Who ever they were, I would like to hope to think they were buried with love and care as they were wrapped in a shroud and lowered into the earth over 600 years ago.

We finalised our burial today, filled out more forms, will plan the cut of the grave tomorrow. I have truly enjoyed this excavation and it has given me huge insights into medieval osteoarchaeology!  The teaching has been very professional and well explained.  And the constant supply of coffee and biscuits is always a plus.  I have learned a lot and have been very inspired to continue my study of osteology.

This excavation has really given me more reason to further my study.  Excavating a skeleton has given a sense of gravitas to what I study.  As I lifted the cranium from the ground, I thought of the people who placed the body of the child into the ground.  I know we will never know for sure, but I would like to think that this child’s parents loved them as much as my own parents love me.  I am thankful to have been able to excavate them a get a glimpse of who they were.  This adds in a better understanding of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.

However, I know that we cannot lose sight of the humanity of the field.  We have been given a unique chance to know our ancestors on an intimate level and I feel I have a better understanding of what sort of relationship that needs to be.  The site was very clear about respect for remains on day one.  For instance we are not to name the skeletons or take photos to be posted online (which is why there are not many photos in this post).  We always have to remember that these were once people who already had a name and a life.  We will never know their true name and so will only assign a number.

It’s a funny thing really.  We know nearly everything about a person by studying their remains, their age, sex, height, pathology, healed injuries, even DNA can give us eye color, hair color, facial features… we can recreate their faces and see the past with our own eyes.  But, who were they?  What was their favourite color, food, animal?  Who was their best friend?  How did they spend their days?  That’s the rub. We know everything and nothing about them.  It’s exceedingly frustrating but rewarding all the same.

I shook when I raised the cranium, but I knew that I had to be steady.  This child deserves to have their life retold and studied, but also respected.  Science has a no many ways of helping us to know that past – without studying human remains our history will become lost to us for a brief moment the people of the past have a chance to be relevant again.  However, we must always remember with what and with whom we deal.

April 21. 5.53 pm

Today was the last day of excavation.  We planned the grave cut and took levels and then spent the rest of the afternoon finds washing.  We cleaned a lot of the extra human remains that came from the fill of our grave including the second cranium and multiple extra mandibles.  I had a strange experience when I realised that I was brushing a medieval person’s teeth with a modern toothbrush but other than that it was a solid day in the field.

I’m a little sad to be finishing as I really enjoyed going out each day and working.  Field archaeology is probably my favourite aspect of my degree.  Sure it’s fun to sit around and read articles and debate theory but I always love a chance to lay on the ground in some contortionist position with my head stuck in the trench, dentist pick in one hand, and brush in the other.  Someone has to do the dirty work to collect the data sets for the academics!

I feel like you also get a closer connection to understanding the past as you truly get to experience the environment from which the artifacts come.

Anyway, I’m back to Edinburgh on Sunday and then my mom is actually coming to visit for the week because my birthday is on Friday and she’s that sort of mom.

It’s been grand.  Props to you for reading all of this.

 

 

 

semester 2 done, off on excavation…

Enjoy some folk jams as you read.  As of yesterday I am officially done with my lectures for the semester!  As of this afternoon, I am done with all my assignments!  I just submitted my last essay about Goat domestication in the Neolithic for Archaeology.

This week has been pretty decent.  On Wednesday I explored a bit around Edinburgh and found a really cool antique shop up in New Town.  It had a collection of stuff stored everywhere.  I ended up with a brass-ship bell with the handle shaped like Bamburgh Castle… much to the approval of my flatmates.  I also had a chat with the guy running the shop about a bunch of 16c cannonballs they just acquired.  I always went antiquing with my parents and being a human with a general interest in old shit I do really like finding antique shops with tons of stuff just everywhere.

Last night was the last EUMC social of the year: the Adventure Race.  It’s a race around Edinburgh with stops and challenges along the way.  The route this year ran from GBH (near Old College) up Calton Hill for drinking and marshmallow eating, then to St. Anthony’s Chapel (the 15c ruins in Holyrood Park) for swimming and more drinking, up to the summit of Arthur’s Seat for more drinking, then down Arthur’s Seat to the Meadows for drinking while slacklining, and finally finishing back at GBH.  Erling and I ran the race again this year… and we took third again.  At least you can say that we are consistent.  The last part of the race had us running through George Square.  I played ‘Eye of the Tiger’ aloud on my phone to the enjoyment(?) of everyone emerging from the library late on a Thursday night.

But, I am done for the semester… until exams.

This semester has gone really well.  I didn’t have as many written assignments as last semester so that was sort of refreshing.  Archaeology diversified a lot and I got a chance to work in the computer labs to create digital posters, charts, and site plans for assessment versus just writing another essay.

I am really pleased with my selection of courses and while I’m stressed for the exam (like always) I feel like I know the material and know what I need to revise.  My exams this year are on May 15 (Archaeology), 18 (Medieval Europe), and 23 (Roman World).  After my last lecture it’s off on the EUMC road-trip for climbing and camping wherever it is sunny.

On Sunday, I’m headed down to Chester to take part on the first of three excavations this summer!  I am so excited for this excavation as I will be excavating a medieval cemetery!  I’m also excited to be getting out for some fieldwork again… call it being from Kansas.  I’m currently doing a load of laundry of clothes that I will need for the excavation and then I’ll finish up packing tomorrow.  I’m also taking some books for revision and my laptop so I can work on the weekends as the excavation runs 9.40-4.30 Monday to Friday.

I’ll be posting updates about the excavation here on the blog, if you want to hear about the new old thing I’m currently crying over.

 

death monday is dead.

Today is the last Death Monday of second year.  Damn.

Hey, Uni?  Maybe slow down, please?

This morning I had an Archaeology lecture over Forensics and DNA which was really interesting.  It ran a little over and cut into my already limited lunch time… but eh, the lecture was cool so I didn’t mind.

For lunch, I grabbed a bowl of soup and went to eat in the Debating Hall in Teviot, it’s in the quieter part of the student union and I really like it because it looks like an old medieval Great Hall.  You know the type with the high wooden ceilings, mezzanine, and dark wood everything?  Yeah?  Yeah.

After lunch, I went to my last Medieval tutorial for the year.  It was over the Later Crusades after the fall of the Crusader states (circa 1291).  After, I had a Roman Empire lecture over the 3rd century AD and then I went to my last Archaeology lab for the semester.  The lab was over using data sets to create charts and stuff on the computer.

The weather has been stellar again and so yesterday I spent most of the day outside.  I went for a run in the meadows, meet up with some friends, and did some yoga.  My friends have commented that I have transcended my title of ‘Trash Child’ (I constantly trip over things, fall into bins or the gutter, and live in the Meadows in my hammock which one more than one occasion has been set up next to a bin.  I also lay on the floor for prolonged periods of time and whine.).  According to Ellie, I have become ‘Earth Child’ after my outdoor yoga sesh in the mud.  Truthfully, I still feel more like a ‘Trash Child’ but eh, I’ll take ’em where I can get ’em.

On wider notes, the Avengers have started filming again here in Edinburgh!  They’ve blocked off of much of the Royal Mile and yesterday night they blew up a truck in front of St. Giles!  I’ve walked by the set a few times and they have repainted a jewelry shop into a kebab shop and have massive rain buckets pouring water all over the street.  They only film late at night, so, no I haven’t seen any of the actors (and probably won’t). Although I could swear I saw one of the directors driving around Edinburgh last weekend!

This week is going to be spent finishing up my last two essays.  I’m nearly done with my Roman Empire essay and still have to write my archaeology report.  This weekend officially starts my Easter break and I will be heading south to excavate a Medieval graveyard and get a much needed two week break! More on that next week!!

My twentieth birthday is in 25 days so that’s terrifying.  I always thought that by the time I was twenty I would be a semi-functioning adult… but alas.

 

here comes the sun…

Welcome to Week 10.  One essay (over the Roman army) and write up report (over the domestication of the goat in the Near East circa 10,500 BP) left to go.

Last week was hellish.  I’m not going to sugar coat it.  I was super busy and the weather was pretty shit.  I missed my cat terribly, realised I would only be happy again if I had a cat, and contemplated what it would take to let my landlord allow me to get a cat.  Then I had a massive introvert crash.  Fun!

The highlight of last week was meeting with the supervisor for the Osteology masters program on Thursday morning.  I had emailed her asking about the course and we arranged to meet early on Thursday to discuss what I would need to do over the next two years.  The program sounds really fun and definitely something I could see myself doing… especially if I want to continue with osteology as US regulations are pretty strict on what analysis you can do with human remains.  She said that I was on the right track and to continue to take as many osteology classes I can and continue to seek out volunteer spots like I am doing at the NMS.

This weekend, however set a nice tone for the last two weeks of term.  The sun was out and the temperatures were creeping up toward 20C!  On Saturday morning I joined in at the Anti-Fascist march here in Edinburgh.  Long story short, an alt-right party had planned an ‘unofficial’ White Pride day in Edinburgh on Saturday and so a counter protest had been formed to make a clear statement that this city is one of love and tolerance.  Get ta fuck Nazis.  I also got to walk by the Avengers set down on Cockburn Street so that was pretty cool as well.

Afterward, I left to go work on my essay and presentation because, as everyone knows, the best way to combat the alt-right is through education and acknowledgement of fact!  Later that afternoon, after slugging coffee after coffee, I met up Ellie, Sophie, and Urte and hung around outside all afternoon.  I really hope the weather stays as nice as it’s been for a while.  I’ve been wearing my Birkenstocks on a daily basis if that gives you any indication about how nice and sunny it’s been!

On Sunday, the weather was nice again. I had work to do, so I took the books I needed and set up my hammock along Middle Meadow Walk.  I read about Roman forts in Britain, gave a mock presentation, and drank a few G&Ts.  Sunday was also Mother’s Day here in the UK so I tagged my mom in a nice meme on Facebook.

Today, I had an archaeology lecture over animal domestication, a medieval history tutorial over Joan of Arc, no Roman lecture because of a scheduling error (I went and got coffee instead), and lastly my archaeology seminar where I presented my findings about goats!  I could finally use my farm child knowledge of growing up with goats for the power of good!  The presentation went really well, and I’m always keen to talk about osteology.  Since one of the osteology classes isn’t being offered next year (professor on research leave) I am really considering taking the course on the analysis of animal remains.

Just this week and next and then the semester is done! But, before I head to Chester next Sunday for a two week excavation, I need to finish my last essay and report.  It’s going to be hard to focus with the weather being this amazing…

Scot(t)land Soundtrack 26

Happy Birthday Dad!

Sorry I wished you Happy Birthday yesterday because I am negligent human.

For those unaware (aka most of you), my dad’s a pretty cool dude.  My mom worked full time when I was growing up, so my dad was the one who basically raised me.  He’s the one who taught me how to read and how to, most importantly, play Age of Empires.  He also introduced me to how totally awesome history can be.  How?  Well, instead of normal books you would think to read to a small child who can’t even tie their shoes yet, my dad read me whatever he was reading at the moment… which was usually some gigantic book about some niche topic during the American Civil War.

Dad’s keen on understanding the ‘realities’ of history.  It’s never enough to just read something in a book.  To really get into the mindset of what life was like in the past, Dad always says you have to experience it.  When I became interested in Medieval History, he taught me how to use a longbow, crossbow, and a few different types of swords.  Like I said, cool dude… if a bit mental.

I wish I was kidding.  But no.  There are photos in a few albums back home of my dad reading a Medieval History textbook to me when I am barely two months old and of me aged twelve fiddling with a longbow in the frontyard.  You could make the argument that my chosen path of study was more nurture than nature.

Dad also taught me the value of service and loyalty.  I guess a thirty-six year military career would instil certain values in a person.  Even now, I really try to live up to the standards my dad set.  It’s a challenge, but I think I’m doing okay.

Anyway.  Happy Birthday Dad you’re really old now!! Remember to drink your prune juice!

Week 8 + Scotland Soundtrack 26

Busy week ahead… as always.

Yesterday I had my Medieval History tutorial over the English Revolt of 1381, Lecture about Roman Frontiers, and my Archaeology Lab over using GPS to create site plans.  This morning I had a lecture over Popular Religion in the 14/15c.  Funky fresh times talking about converted Pagan rituals!

Last Friday was a long night.  I volunteered at the NMS for the Museum Late.  The NMS hosts night time events which correspond to the current special exhibit.  They serve drinks, have live music, and performances that go along with the theme.  The exhibit right now is ‘Monkey Business’ about different type of monkeys and apes.  I’ve been through it a few times with my museum membership and it’s really cool.  (Although I am looking forward to the next exhibit about Bonny Prince Charlies and the Jacobites!!) But anyway, I was staffing the arts and crafts station for the evening.  It was actually quite fun, I was stationed in the Grand Gallery so I was able to listen to the live music and watch the acrobats!

Saturday and Sunday I was absolutely exhausted. I took the rest of the weekend to relax, work on readings, and read books for actual enjoyment.  I’m currently re-reading Pride and Prejudice.

I have three assignments left to complete for the semester so things are starting to finally settle down a bit.  However, I still have my big essay for Roman History so that’s still looming.  Ugh.

Some cooler news, I’ve got a meeting lined up next week to discuss a Masters in Human Osteoarchaeology so that’s exciting.  I know it might seem early, but I started looking at Universities when I was a sophomore in High School, so about this time four years ago…. ouch.  Got to love those extensive five year plans!

The rest of the week looks decent ahead and I’m going to really try to get out somewhere this weekend.  Haven’t decided where yet, but may just take a train north and see where I end up.

Scotland Soundtrack XXV

Hello everyone!  All my coursework for Medieval Europe is submitted.  My essay is turned in!  I’m happy with it.  I wish I had 1,000 more words to delve into more stuff because I really do enjoy the topic but oh well.

Now I can enjoy the rest of the semester… sort of.  Coming up, I have two more Practical assignments (working with Abode Illustrator and using GIS to create digital maps of sites) and one presentation/short report about the ‘Domestication of the Goat’ for Archaeology.  For Roman World, I have one essay.  I’ve decided to do the question about Roman Military camps and what that tells us about the organization of the Roman Army. YAY! The semester is closing down, but I can’t get unfocused.

Yesterday was my Grandma’s birthday so Happy Birthday again Grandma!

Also yesterday, since my archaeology lab for the week was canceled and I didn’t have NMS volunteering, I had the afternoon off.  Incredible!  To relax after submitting my essay, I went for a run because the weather was #stellar and then in the evening I went to hot yoga.  I’ve been attending yoga classes for a while now, they’re really been helping with my anatomically incorrect knees.  However, this was my first time attending a hot yoga class so I was a little nervous about it to be honest… but it was actually really nice.  I was disgustingly sweaty, probably should have brought a bigger towel, but it was a good flashback to a Kansas spring day, albeit being close to 20 degrees cooler.  The class was set at 89F (32c) and Kansas summers can get up to 110F (43C).

Today, I’m working on some tutorial work for Roman World and planning out the rest of my semester (we only have four weeks left… WHAT!?). In case you’re interested, here’s a whirlwind tour:

Term finishes on April 7, and then I’m off to Chester for the first of three excavations this summer.  I get back to Edinburgh just before my 20th birthday.  Exam dates came out yesterday.  I have exams on May 15, 18, and 23.  Exam revision is going to consume my life for the following weeks, but once those are done it’s off on the Mountaineering Roadtrip to wherever the weather is nice.  The Dinner Meet this year is on Iona (You know the 6c monastery established by St. Columba… later home to Oswald, the King of Bamburgh Castle!).  After the dinner meet, it’s a mad dash back to Edinburgh to get packed for five weeks at Bamburgh.  Then a week back in Edinburgh to get packed for both my excavation in Italy and my trip back to the Dis-United States of America.  Back in America, the family and I are going on vacation and I can finally relax.  It’s going to be a busy summer, but I can’t say that I’m not doing the things I love.

Reminder! March is International Women’s Month so don’t forget to be/thank/appreciate/acknowledge the amazing ladies in your life!

Scotland Soundtrack XXIV

It’s another weekend in Edinburgh.

I’m nearly done with my essay for Medieval Europe about National Identities in the Hundred Years War.  This morning I got up early to go to yoga class at 9 am. I slept in until 3.30 pm yesterday (introvert crash), didn’t leave the flat, watched Pride and Prejudice (again), and had porridge for dinner… so I figured I should be productive today.  Here’s a playlist that hopefully inspires productivity and also Ed Sheeran’s new album came out yesterday and I honestly forgot what I was listening to before.

Today wise, I need to mail an old pair of glasses away to get the lens reglazed with my prescription.  They’re an old pair I nicked from my mom while I am was home over Christmas because I liked the frames.

I’ll probably (read: definitely) stop for coffee today.  Hopes are to get my essay done today and submit it by tomorrow because I do not trust technology.

Oh! And March is International Women’s Month so don’t forget to be/thank/appreciate/acknowledge the amazing ladies in your life (Love you Momby! <3).

innovative castle week

Hey all! Welcome to the blog that apparently I forgot I had. (Sorry Mom).

Anyway.  This week was Innovative Learning Week… or Festival of Creative Learning… or Innovative Skiing Week… Long story short, the university shuts down for a whole week to give us students a reading week and the staff a week to breathe.  Last year, the university offered a whole bunch of cool classes, if you remember I took a class in osteology and got #inspired. This year because the university realized that not everyone is a huge fucking nerd like myself and does normal things on a week off, like go skiing instead of wanting to learn about bones, they cut back on most of the extra classes offered and just gave us a week off.

Week off? Cue parental visit.  So mom booked a flight out a few weeks back… and then promptly lost her passport two days before she was supposed to fly out.  #notsmart.  Many long phone calls to the airline later, my dad boarded a flight to escape from the dystopian anti-First Amendment America we now face.  This is one of the few times I am glad that Alexander Hamilton is dead so that he doesn’t have to face this blatant disregard to his baby, the US Constitution.

Dad landed Sunday and stayed until his flight early yesterday morning.  It was really nice being able to see him considering my parental visits are often far and few in between.   Usually, I get to see my family about twice a year.

I spent the week showing my dad around new parts of Edinburgh that I’ve found since living here.  He took me to the supermarket and bought me a bunch of food.  It was great!  On Tuesday we took a train down to Berwick-Upon-Tweed and then a bus to Bamburgh to visit Bamburgh Castle.  In case you’re new, Bamburgh Castle is the long held Anglo-Saxon stronghold of the north.  King Oswald was the first major inhabitant, who, after returning from exile on Iona, drove out the Saxons.  Oswald had a huge bromance with Aiden, a local abbott.  He gave Aiden the nearby island on which Aiden built a huge monastery – Lindisfarne.  In 793 AD, Lindisfarne was the first site of the Viking incursions into Britain.  Erling will proudly inform you that those first vikings were in fact Norwegian.  I’ll be excavating for five weeks at Bamburgh this summer as one of my three excavations this summer!

Dad, while still very keen on the history… I mean who wouldn’t be?! was also excited that the castle was the fictional home to Utread, the protagonist from Bernard Cornwell’s Last Kingdom books.

Here’s photo from the day out.

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Here’s photos of the excavation:

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And here’s photos of the most metal desk I have ever seen in my entire life.  It’s made of wood from Hadrian’s bridge across the Tyne at Newcastle.  I have never wanted anything more than how much I want this desk.  I’m not even kidding about how much I want this desk.  This thing is so metal and I am so jealous that I do not own this.  If anyone reading this knows how I can own this desk hit me up I will gladly sell non-vital organs for it (jokes… but seriously).   

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Castles are fucking cool kids, stay in school!

On Thursday, Dad and I went to Holyrood Architectural Salvage to look at all the cool pieces moved from Edinburgh during renovations.  There were so many cool fireplaces doors.  If it’s not clear already, Dad and I really like looking at old stuff.

Anyway.  It was great to see my dad again and talk about medieval history in person versus talking about it over the phone for 2.5 hours.  I’m working on my Medieval History essay at the moment.  It’s over the Hundred Years War and I may or may not be more than rightfully excited about it.  Class starts back up on Monday with ‘Death Monday.’

yay.

Scotland Soundtrack XXIII

Hello friends.  I’ve had a long week and I am very tired.

Just an update on life, I had two assignments this week.  My Medieval Europe presentation on ‘Death Monday’ and today I handed in my short report for my Roman Empire class. (‘Death Monday’ is so called because of my Archaeology Lecture at 11, Medieval Europe Tutorial at 1, Roman Empire lecture at 2, Archaeology lab from 3-5, volunteering at the NMS from 5-6, and usually a EUMC committee meeting around 7.30.)

The report I handed in today was a source crit about a cross-section image of the Colosseum.  I’m pretty happy with my submission.

The weather here in Edinburgh has been all over the place all week.  It’s been rainy and relatively cold, but today was actually sunny and sort of warm.  I’m done with classes for the next week so I’m excited for some down time.  Next week is a university wide break in classes so while Mom’s here I won’t have to work too much.

Anyway, here’s some jams I’ve been listening to this past week.