Science wins!

I don’t have time for a much of a post because I’m actually in the lab right now, but I just wanted to say…we won! National Geographic has pulled Nazi Grave Diggers, and it will not be airing! If you signed petitions or wrote to National Geographic itself, even if you simply helped spread the word, thank you! You have helped stop a show which attempted to use human remains as entertainment and tried to pass off guess work and looting as science. Now, if you read the link below, you can see that the NatGeo Channel is hedging and “temporarily” pulling it indefinitely. So, if you haven’t written them I recommend that you do, so that we can keep this show off the air.

You can read the NY Times article here

And on a smaller scale  my boycott of National Geographic can now cease, because though I don’t have the channel, I really do enjoy their magazine.

National Geographic vs. Science

So I was going to write a post the other day recommending a great book, The Bone Woman, by forensic osteologist Clea Koff. Then last night happened. I became aware of the new National Geographic Channel television show Nazi Grave Diggers…

In a sentence: this show promotes and glorifies the looting of graves.

I want to preface saying this, that I don’t take issue with untrained individuals taking an interest in archaeology. In fact I love it when that happens. What I DO have a problem with is when people excavate without trained supervision under the name of science or adventure or history when in fact they are destroying history. That is what this show does and the “stars” of the show are no better than grave robbers, why? Because they ARE grave robbers.

I’ve been sitting at my desk all morning trying to work, but instead I’ve been sending emails to National Geographic and signing petitions ( has one and I urge you to sign it). I realize of course that National Geographic does create a lot of good, this however is not one of those instances and really they should be ashamed. Television reaches far more people than almost everything else, including their magazine, and it affects far more individuals than their student travel grants etc. Children watch this channel. Shouldn’t a child’s role model be an actual scientist rather than a looter?

So, speaking of actual scientists brings me to my original point. The Bone Woman, by Clea Koff. I’ve mentioned it briefly before on this blog, but I want to do so again as I’ve just reread it. Koff’s book details her exhumations of mass graves in Bosnia, Croatia, Rwanda and Kosovo. She’s a young forensic anthropologist and the book is extremely well written, combining science, global affairs and personal experience into one very informative and enjoyable read. So, if you are interested in archaeology or osteology I recommend turning off the National Geographic Channel and picking up a copy of The Bone Woman instead.

I Believe You Have My Stapler…


It has been a crazy busy month.

Including: trips (albeit for fun, but still busy), conferences, chapters to write, an article to write, analyses in the lab to complete, and so on. I’ve also officially registered for the SAA conference and have booked my flights, so April will contain some pre-field season shenanigans to be sure. Really looking forward to that.For now though it’s been all of the above regular office busyness. Also, the department has been under construction so things have been all moved around, which basically I use as an excuse to not come in, as everything is misplaced, but I’m trying to do better, which is one of the reasons I’ve been busy in the lab, one of the few places that’s not being worked on right now.

I’ve yet to get back out caving at all, but hopefully will be able to again before I leave for the States, and then for the field.

The field.

Cannot begin to explain how much I am looking forward to that. The jungle. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here, the program, England, and everything, and there is even a little part of me which will really mourn the fact that I won’t be here this summer. But oh man the field, and the jungle. I haven’t seen my best friend since August 1st (though he’ll be at the SAA so we’ll get a preview visit) and so many other great people will be working with me this year as well. And the jungle. Did I mention the jungle? It’s great.

Anyway, I’m hoping to work some more on this article tonight, and also get up early for the gym tomorrow (because — did I tell you?— the field season is coming up) so I guess I should get going. Just wanted to drop in and say hello though, as it’s been awhile, and also a brief break from the routine was necessary.


Wish it was Sunday (because that’s my fun-day)

I suppose I don’t have all that much to write today, except I feel like it’s been too long not to write (also blogging means procrastination, and we all love that).

Things have been good here. On the research front, I’m beginning to write more of my dissertation rather than just researching, though for each paragraph I write, I realize how much more research I actually need to do. But I’ve gotta say, having  something written –even if I’m going to rewrite over and over before I graduate — is pretty nice. I also bought a flight to Austin for the SAA in April, so I’m officially going. Still have to actually register for it, but that’s on tomorrow’s agenda. Also, a friend who works with me in Central America and who I didn’t think was going to be there, is going to the SAA. So thrilled, I can’t wait to see him. Until then though, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy: leaving town this coming weekend, another conference in about a month, my best friend from back home might be coming to visit in early April, and a half marathon around that time as well that I seriously need to start training for. Oh yeah, and also research and stuff…

Thursday night I got out of the city for a little while though. It was fantastic, I went caving with a friend and the caving club here, and it was so much fun. I’d been caving before, but I’ve never seen underground waterfalls until Thursday, and there were so many cool caverns and passages. Also fossils. Lots of fossils. When we emerged from the cave hours later the sun had long since set and because we were out in the countryside, the stars were amazingly clear and bright. It was a wonderful night.

This past weekend I took a break from studying — FOR THE WHOLE WEEKEND — and had a great time exploring more of the area around the city, including gardens which are just starting to bloom,  museums, and an Edwardian era cemetery. The weather was actually sunny and somewhat warm, though extremely windy, but I think that it jump-started everyone to act as though it really is Spring, because all the shops in my neighborhood have now set out their sunglasses and tanning and sun creams and meanwhile it’s back to cold and grey today.

Well, I guess that’s enough procrastinating for now…

Weekend Wrap Up

This week has been great. In terms of research, I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, and I’ve written a few more pages of my dissertation (which doesn’t sound like much, but for me, for this month, it is). I’ve also decided to head to the SAA (Society for American Archaeology) conference this year, won’t be presenting but it is a great networking tool, and I’ll be able to catch up with so many friends and colleagues and I’m really looking forward to going.

This upcoming week, I’ve got to continue research and writing, and also log some time in the lab which will be great, I’ve not been in the lab in over a month at this point.

Anyway, the real reason that I wanted to post today, is that an old student of mine wanted to find out about fiction books that deal with archaeology or osteology or even anthropology because she is flying to Greece next month and wants something for the flight (we wont even begin to get into how envious I am, haha)  and I didn’t really know what to suggest, I told her about Kathy Reichs forensic books, but that was the only series/author that I could think of off the top of my head, so I wanted to reach out and see if anyone reading this blog might have a suggestion which I can pass on to her??

Thanks guys!

Call of the Wild

Well guys, it’s happening.

The very first slight rumblings of summer are beginning.

I received a couple of emails from the site director in Central America late last week, in regards to how the field school will be running this summer. I’ve also been in contact with some of the other crew chiefs about arrival dates (which we have yet to be assigned officially, but hey, still exciting) and a few of us (not me because I have no money) have been looking at new field equipment, gear, etc. Also, talk of the yearly conference of the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) has also begun, and while I still don’t know if I’ll be able to attend or not, the fact that everyone seems to be making their plans for it now really feels like the field season is almost here. The SAA is always held in April, and that’s usually about a month or so before many field seasons begin, so it’s always full of field talk and fun!

I know this isn’t much, but after months of (basically) no word or talk of the field season these small things together are  beginning to make it seem like it’s getting closer. Also, after months of grey skies and cold rain (yeah, ok USA I know you’ve had it worse this winter) to actually feel like summer might not be that far off is kind of a miracle.

With that though, comes preparing both for the field and figuring stuff out here in the land of graduate school. I’ve been deep in research the past few months (ok, maybe not quiiiite as much as I should have, but hey I’m trying: I’ve been been busy with the conference, colds, and a busted ankle, though I guess that last one really isn’t an excuse) and I really need to get to work on my chapter to hand in at the end of the semester, if possible more than one chapter. While I have some of it written already, I’m going to try to knock out a ton of it this month alone, and see how far I can get…

Until next time!

Of conferences and jungles

Ok, it’s been a really long time since my last post. Things have been absolutely insanely busy. Holidays, studies, social life, everything. Busy. Which is why I haven’t written. Well that, and despite the fact that my life is consumed by archaeology I haven’t had much to write about on it (you know, when not reading and writing constantly about it while in my office). Honestly? I still don’t have much to say about it today, but I actually have some free time finally, so why not try?

I had a conference this month, and another one is coming up in the spring, so that was one of the reasons it has been so busy for me. I HATE presenting at conferences. But this one (after weeks of freaking out, a night of not sleeping and a morning horribly deprived of coffee so I wouldn’t be even more jittery than I already was) actually went fairly well I think. Basically, though terrified for 20 minutes (yes, all of this was in preparation for only 20 minutes of talking) it actually went pretty well. I was able to answer all of the questions which were asked, and even provide examples and further explain concepts, and when I went back to my seat, I actually thought that maybe — maybe — I didn’t totally suck. Which is a first for me at conferences, haha. In the spring I’ll be giving basically the same talk, and the stakes will be a lot lower, so I’m actually not that worried about it (though we’ll see how it goes in the weeks leading up to it) and this fall I’m likely traveling abroad for another one, though that one will be my favorite of the three because I’m only tagging along as moral support for some friends, and to explore a country I’ve never gone to before. However, more on that once travel plans are finalized.

Anyway, just wanted to drop in and say that I am actually still alive, just buried under mountains of academic articles and books. As an ending note:  I love living here, it is truly fantastic. But this is also the time of year when visions of the jungle and sunshine begin to drift through my head at a more and more frequent pace. I cannot wait for the field season, and so, while it rains outside, I’ll just be here, waiting for summer. And while I wait, I’ll try to update this blog more often than I have been.