hap newt year!

yikes, another year in the books and to be honest, 2018 was pretty amazing.

Here’s my Year in Review:

January

Traveled northward once again for Hogmanay at the EUMC Bothy.  Went skiing in the Cairngorm National Park and tripped over flat ground.  Ordered a sleeping bag with arms and legs.

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what a place to send 2017 to its fiery demise

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February 

Tuva and Erling invited me to Norway and abandoned me in a snow drift outside of a mountain hut while they went inside and ate cinnamon rolls.  Jokes aside, I got stuck all on my own.  The Beast from the East hit Edinburgh and the university was closed for a week amidst faculty strikes and bread rations.

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♑️⭕️🌾🔱🅰️✌️

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⛷⛷⛷

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March

March was essay season and I sort of stared into the void for most of it.

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y i k e s // pc @caitlin_mcgovern

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April 

The end of third year, a trip to Berlin to see Gregor and Sophie, my 21st birthday, and the last university exam I will ever take in my life. Get wrecked.

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🅱️3️⃣®👍📍♑️

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May

I take my Theoretical Archaeology exam and run/swim away to the Highlands.  The EUMC has its 75th Anniversary Dinner and then we kick off for the Road Trip.  We spend nearly a week on Skye with no rain and about a 100,000 midges.

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🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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Some scrambling.

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June

Dad visited, I went to London with Besty, worked on some dissertation stuff, started at Bamburgh as an Assistant Environmental Supervisor, and then back to Chester for more work in a medieval kirkyard.

August 

Flew back to America and meet the family for a well needed holiday.

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captured at the moment they said i could touch it.

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September 

Roseneath came to Kansas.  Gregor’s plane was never going to Chicago and he landed in Newark.  We meet a Bud Lite corporate rep who gave us 12 free pitchers.  Returned to Scotland for the start of fourth year.

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✌🏼❤️🌻

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October

Completed less work than I would have liked but went back to the Lake District one final time to see a Roman Fort.

November 

Built a model of an iron age Round House and cooked Thanksgiving for forty people. And went to the EUMC Bothy together for our last Bothy Trip.

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bothy trip year iv.

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December 

Had my last essays, EUMC Christmas Dinner, went to see Hoizer in concert, flew back to America early, spent Christmas with my cat, and flew back to Edinburgh with my sister.

I’m back in Edinburgh until term starts in the next few weeks.  Currently I’m finishing the second of my four essays for Early Medieval Sexualities, a presentation about my dissertation, and still writing and researching for the dissertation. My courses for this semester don’t change drastically.  Only ‘Architectural Archaeology’ was a semester, the rest are full year.

Edinburgh has a massive city wide party and instead of driving up north, this year the flat, some friends, and I stayed home.  My parents sent Crosby to Edinburgh for New Years here as well so my friends and I made sure she had a good time.  We watched the fireworks shoot off from the Castle in the Links and it was a pretty great start to New Years.

So hap newt years!

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✨ hap newt year ✨

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out from under the rock

Coming at you live from the carpeted floor at the Chicago O’Hare Airport… it’s Year 3. 

(apologies if there’s spelling errors, I’m typing on the WordPress App and there’s no spell check. Why tho.)

After one of the hottest and busiest summers to date, I took the last 3.5 weeks to relax with my family, spend time with my one true love (my cat Rory), and binge watch the hell out of Daredevil and The Defenders.  But, it’s time to crawl out from under the rock I’ve been hiding under and get back into the world.

This morning I caught a skipper flight from Kansas City to Chicago where I am waitng for my flight back to Scotland.  I’m getting back just in time to help out the EUMC with Freshers and turn in the last of my paperwork from my excavations so the University can give me my money back.  Yay. 

Coming up this week, I’ve got a meeting with my personal tutor and the Sports Fair on Wednesday.  Thursday is the Fresher’s Preview and then on Friday, I’m back out into the Highlands for the Freshers’ Day Trip to the Cobbler.  Being so busy with excavations this summer, I didn’t get that many quality mountian days in so I am excited to get back out.  

Courses this year look pretty great as well.  First semester, I have two required classes (History in Theory and Archaeology in Practice).  My third course for the semester is ‘Here Comes the War: Conflict Archaeology and Forensic Science.’  I’m actually really excited for this one as it’s going to look at battlefield archaeology, ethics, etc.  Second semester, I only have one required course (Theory Archaeology).  The other two are ‘Crusades and Medieval Society’ and ‘Archaeological Illustration.’  

And that’s enough with the logisitical stuff.  It goes without saying that I’m excited to go back.  Year 3 is the first of the final two honours years, so I will begin to start thinking about what I’m going to write my disseration on and I’ll continue to research Masters programs.  I’m really leaning toward writing my diseration about Museum work and getting a Masters in Museum Studies.  

I’ve been volunteering at the NMS for nearly two years now and I’ve really learned a lot about how musuems run and the variety of jobs in the museum sector.  I love working with artifacts and creating displays, but honestly, my favorite is teaching people and learn new things myself.  So far I’ve worked mostly with the NMS’s youth team to plan events and help out when local schools visit, but I’d like to get into the wider educational side of museum work as well. 

I really think musuems have a unique opportunity to engage with the general public in a different way than a university.  If anything, many people only get to university to study History or Archaeology because they were inspired by a museum or a teacher.  And also, I mean, hell, we’ve got to invest in today’s youth if we have any chance of fixing things.  I remember a few times, when I was younger, being written off or been talked down to by older professionals.  On the flip side, I’ve met amazing academics who took the time to explain things to me and answer my questions instead of just treating me like an annoying kid (and, I mean, I’m not denying that I wasn’t an annoying kid…) and it made all the difference.  Because, if you don’t engage with them, if you talk down to them, and if you treat them like they’re stupid… there goes your next generation of historians, archaeologists, teachers, politicians, inventors, writers, artists… you get the idea. 

Young people who are interested in History aren’t stupid and sometimes they actually know a lot more so, eh, I really hope that in some small way I can work to fix that through museum work.  And I’d love to continue to work with that at the NMS because I honestly really love it there and I think they’ve got a lot of great stuff coming up.  

But, that’s me off my soap box.  Thanks for reading. 

I’ll try to keep this blog updated over the semester with the (cool?) stuff I’m doing.  I’ve only got a bit of time left before I board my plane and I still have to download enough Daredevil comics to last 7.5 hours. 

an interview with a roman

It’s bright and early here in London!  Writing this currently from the Starbucks at Gatwick.  As per usual, with travel anxeity and increasing lines at airports I got here early.  I flew back from Naples yesterday and spent the night at the hotel here at Gatwick.  I wish I could have gone into London for the day, it’s super easy to catch the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station and the the Tube to anywhere in the city… but no time.  

Anyway, you’re used to the format now.  Here is the daily log from my third and final excavation for the summer. And apologies for lack of photos on this post, I’m writing off of my iPad on the WordPress app and I don’t know how to add photos.  If you want photos, there’s some on my Instagram.  (Right side of the blog) Also, there’s probably some spelling errors, because 1) I’m a terrible speller and 2) I’m typing on the app. 

Appoline Project (July 30-Aug 13) 

July 30

Day one of project.  Woke up at 2 this morning to catch flight to Naples.  Arrived at at 10.25 to Central Train Station.  Waited until 5 to be picked up and take to site house in Aeclanum, an hour outside of Naples.  Tomorrow will met at 8.10 for site tour and then begin class work!  Very exciting stuff. 

July 31 17.19 

Day One.  Lecture on Bioculture and Intro to Osteology.  Practicals included articulating a skeleton.  We did well and I learned hot to distinguish clavicals!  I ALWAYS mess it up.  Second practical was over defining terms and describing an image using anotomical terms.  I really enjoyed today.  We are working on site in Aeclanum, so as I am working I am able to look out at the site.  Aeclanum is a partially excavated city on the Appian Way which connected southern Italy to Rome during the hight of the Empire.  There is a Theatre, Bath Complex, and Forum on site.  

The site continued into the Medieval period as we saw a Baptismal Font for a church and the nave of a church as well.  And!  There is a beautiful mosiac in the Bath Complex.  

August 1 18.20   

This morning we had a lecture over sexual dimorphism and then a practical where we cleaned skeletons.  It was very hot today.  Returned for lunch and then had a lecture about ‘Race’ and if it can be used for osteological analysis.  I’m really enjoying how the course is combining ethical questions with the science.   I also just really like talking about ethics. 

Our practical today was over crania and identifying features to determine sex.  

I stated late to finish the cranium I was cleaning from before lunch.  It was really interesting because not only was it a complete skulls but it had the first six cervical vertebrae still articulated!  Basically they lifted the entire head and neck during excavation.  This is common practice and how I excavated at Poulton as it avoids damanging the remains in the field. 

The cranium belonged to a young female adolescent from the Roman period.  She had non-metirc traits which included a myopic suture.  A myopic suture is when your frontal bone does not fuse into one bone but remains two.  She was probably 16-18 based on dentition as her third molar had just emerged. 

Can’t know for sure, but it’s pretty amazing to be cleaning the remains of a girl who may have come to Aeclanum for the Theatre or the Baths.   Makes you really think about how people moved.  Thinking about writing about stable isotopes and migration for my disseration… 

August 2 

Today we had a lecture over ageing.  And practicals using inominents and craniums to age.

In the afternoon we had a lecture over bone growth and then a practical over juvenials.  We had to articualte a juvenial skeleton which included having to deal with epiphysial plates… and then age them according to plate fusion.  Kids are born in pieces and our bones fuse as we age. 

Our remains were from the Medieval period.  After arranging them we measured the long bones and compared them against ratios for age.  The ratios listed the remains as 9-10.  However, teeth which included the 3rd Molar in the vault but not yet erupted  and the proximal fusion of the plate on the right ulna put the age up to 14-16.  This is why multiple ageing techniques are important! 

August 3

Today was all about teeth!  Really fun stuff today!  Lecture in the morning over tooth formation and tooth pathology.  

This afternoon we had practicals on ageing based on teeth.  Did really well and was able to correctly age!  Did one adult 30-55 but probably closer to 30-40 and a child 6-8.  Was able to tell age based on wear patterns for adults and the eruption of teeth, or still rooted decidious teeth for the children. 

Today was also really, really hot so we spent the last part of the day cleaning. (Side note: the heat wave currently in Southern Europe is called Lucifer.  It is literally hotter than Hell here.)   I really enjoy cleaning as it helps to cement the knowledge of things from the textbook.  I also learn through handleling objects so being able to work with bone is a huge help.  

Tomorrow is pathology and trauma.  

I am really enjoying working with the collections and getting a chance to test what I had learned at Uni on a very practial scale.  However, I am constantly reminded of the humanitiy of what I am studying.  That these were and are still, first and foremost, human beings.  It is a fantastic chance to glimspe into the past… but I must never attempt to make up their lives… I also cannot forget that they had them as well.  It’s the connectiveness and disconnectivness that is critical.  You have to sense the humanity but not allow that to create falsehoods about your study. 

August 7 17.26 

Friday, was pathology day with lectures and then a pracitcal analzing a full set of remains for pathology.  

We judged the remains to be male with degenerative joint disease.  This had caused eburnation on the right side (the polishing of bone due to bone on bone contact in a joint.  It looked like the bone has been painted with clear nail polish.)  Friday afternoon we cleaned more bones.

Today was continued with pathology with a lecture in the morning.  Cleaning before lunch and then defining long bones and measuring for stature.  

Over the weekend we went to Margarita Di Savovia for the beach, swimming, and the Adractic Coast.  I saw Crotia across the water. 

August 10 13.11 

Tuesday, No lecture in the morning, so to site for more cleaning.  We returned in the afternoon for a lecture on diet. 

Wednesday, paleodiet lecture about nutrition and the adaptation of humans to farmning.  In the afternoond we had a debate over ethics and if human remains have ‘agency’ and also how/should we display human remains.  

This morning we had presentations over an artical on diet.  Ours looked at 3-5c CE Roman Catacombs. The remains had enriched ratios of dN15 and and about standard rations of dC13.  This is indicative of a diet consisting of a large amount of fish and C3 plants.  (These sort of tests are run by doing stable isotope analysis on bones to see what their chemical signature is.)  Basing on the age of the reamins and the nature of the burial, it was concluded that these were early Christians… who as expected would be eating fish. 

August 11 18.36 

Yesterday afternoon we analysed  a complete skeleton. 

Today we have a report on our findings.  Ours was probably male (40-50 yrs).  Signs of DJD on the Lumbar vertebrae and eburnation on right distal end of femar (medial condyle). 

Today was the last day.  I really enjoyed my time here.  We had a group dinner yesterday, and while I am sad to leaving I am excited to see my cat. 

I am really thinking about pursuing Osteo-Arch as a masters/future career.  However, I also really enjoy working in Museums and engaging with the public to help teach people about history.  Maybe I’ll think of a way of combining working in a msueum with currating remains?? 

— 

And that’s that.  My summer excavations are complete and while I am sad I am ready to sleep in a real bed for more than 3 nights!  Uni starts up in a month and along with it Third Year!  Haven’t gotten my courses yet, but if I played it right I won’t have any exams.  I explictly chose courses with 100% coursework. 

I’m flying to Orlando to meet up with my parents.  They’ve told me that they also brought along my mutant sister. 

Last thing I’ll say, after landing in London yesterday and checking the news. For fucks sake people.  Have we learned nothing from the past?  As an archaeologist, I’m also going to leave this here.  But, fucking hell, just be nice to people and treat each other with some goddamn respect.  I would say it’s childish, but that’s an insult to children who know better. 

With the highest tolerance I can muster, 

urs. Kennedy 

 

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.

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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.

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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. ❤

 

Hogmanay!

Hello all and happy New Year!  I hope you all spent the death of 2k16 in a suitable fashion (may it die and never return).  I returned to a nice sunny Edinburgh to find my bike had been stolen!

I just got back from the EUMC Bothy in Kintail.  As Bothy Apprentice (Padawan) I was tasked with planning the Hogmanay trip.  So, after a few month of raising the psyche, talking with drivers, and figuring out the logistics of the trip… we departed early on the morning of the 31st.

The Bothy is located pretty far north just about twenty minutes from Skye in a really beautiful location.  After about a four hour drive we pulled over in Pitlochry for lunch and any supplies we forgot back in Edinburgh.  I picked up four bags of bacon because I was stupid and forgot the most important piece of kit.  Then it was another hour and half to the Bothy.  We parked the cars outside of the National Trust huts and walked our kit up the 6km track.  It had rained heavy the day before, so everything was pretty flooded and muddy.  I decided to walk the track in my wellies which proved to be a pretty smart move.

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The car I rode up in, driven by my friend Shona, had decided to leave quite early that morning, around 8 AM, to give us enough time to get to the Bothy before sunset and get everything sorted for the rest of the people arriving.  We arrived at the Bothy around 3 PM. We all chose the best spots, started a fire, cracked out the drinks, and waited for the rest of our group.  I grabbed the single spot by the stairs which normally goes to the Bothy Sec, so I was able to spread my kit out for the next four days.  I also got to use the new sleeping bag I bought with the Cotswold gift card my parents got for me for Christmas, so thanks Mom and Dad!

About an hour or so later, more people began to arrive and after settling in joined us all downstairs in the living room next to the fire.  The Bothy is small, but not super small.  It’s got two decent sized rooms on the ground floor, a central stair, and two side rooms on the first floor.  With the fire going, the place gets quite warm.

Around 7ish, everyone started to cook dinner and continued to sit around and chat, drink, and listen to music.  The weather had gotten better since the afternoon and it had stopped raining.  By 10ish, the party had gotten into full swing with drinks, singing, music, and even some ceilidh dancing.

Tuva, Erling, and I brought out the mead we had been homebrewing in the flat closet and it was a great hit.  For those unaware, mead is a medieval beverage made from fermented honey.  It’s been documented throughout history from ancient Mesopotamia to Norse myths.  We followed a modified medieval recipe back in October, and set the mead to do its thing for the next three months (pictures below).  It turned out really well and we’ve got plans to increase our mead production for future Mountaineering events.

Just before midnight, we all traveled outside.  Tuva passed out the sparklers and we were ready to welcome the New Year.  Just before midnight, with one minute to spare, the last of our group arrived.  We lit the sparklers, sang Auld Lang Syne, and I cursed 2k16 to its rightful demise.  Then the group broke into a spontaneous outdoor ceilidh.

And, then things got a bit fuzzy.  Truthfully, I had been drinking pretty steadily all afternoon so it really hadn’t hit me until I started being spun really fast in the dark with everyone else’s head-torches spinning around me.  I was pretty confused but laughing and having a great time.

The stars so visible that night.  You could see the Milky Way and pick out the individual stars of the Pleiades.  I remember breaking out my GPS star app to check out which constellations were out.  But, I was probably also drunk and raving about how much I love space.

Everyone returned back into the Bothy after a while and the party carried on until 3 AM or so.  Quite tired, I fell asleep quickly.  The next morning I slept in pretty late until 11 AM.  Combining the jet-lag from the flight back from America just the day before and the long festivities the night before, I was quite tired.  I spend the rest of the day cooking up bacon, reading a book, and taking a hike up to the Waterfalls.  The weather was really amazing on New Years Day and I really enjoyed just taking the time to relax and enjoy being out at the Bothy.

It allowed me to refocus on this coming year and figure out what my plan of attack is going to be for the semester.  I’ve set goals to increase the number of firsts I get on papers and read even more for class.  I also want to get more into kickboxing and go out climbing a bit more.

The next day was rainier and the fog sat pretty low in the valley.  A group of us walked back down the track and drove to Eilean Donan Castle, just fifteen minutes down the A87.  The castle dated to the early 13c and had been part of the Lordship of the Isles, the seafaring kingdom of Western Scotland.  It continued to be a prominent place until it’s destruction in the 18c as it had been a place of Jacobite support.  The castle was rebuilt in the 20c.

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On the way to the castle we had spotted the ruins of an old kirk and a graveyard, so we stopped to check that out.  It was pretty neat with some cool old headstones dating to the 1870s.  The sign at the kirk said that the kirk itself could date two centuries earlier.

From there, we drove back toward the Bothy and stopped the Kintail Lodge for lunch.  The group of us sat around, ate hot food and played cards.  About four we headed back to park the car and then walked back up the track to the Bothy.  We sang some songs to pass the 6km.

The evening, was again spend around the fire with friends, food, drinks, and singing.  Before bed, I had gone out to the bathroom and nearly got attacked by a feral sheep so that was terrifying.

The next morning everyone packed up to go and we rolled out in cars around 2 PM.  I got back to Edinburgh later that night smelly from not showering in four days and covered in mud… but quite happy.  Everything went really well over the four days which I was really happy about, for the first big trip that I’ve planned and put together, I thought it went really well.

Today, I spent the day in the flat cleaning kit and organising the hall closet into a kit closet so everyone’s boots, sleeping bags, roll mats, and tents fit nicely inside.  I also sorted out some banking stuff.  Being an introvert, my social battery had been pretty drained from being around people constantly and I needed some time to myself to recharge.  This Sunday, I am super excited to be heading down to London to meet up with Ellie, Sophie, and Caitlin.  Ellie and Caitlin are from London and will be giving me the local tour.

So, that’s about all for now.  Term officially started back up on the 16th and I’ll be hitting the ground running with courses in Archaeology, Roman History, and Medieval History!