ossamenta: Tanner from Medieval manuscript (Vitgarvare (Nürnberg 12brüderstiftung))
I've taken a few days off work to write the final chapter on the tanning essay. My main irritation point is that I'm writing this far from my usual discussion team - how I miss my uni days, where you could find loads of people to discuss ideas with (and go off on tangents far and wide :-) ). It's sadly no use working in archaeology if you're writing in a language none of your workmates can understand as you have to translate everything first... And asking non-archaeo Swedes is not of too much use either once you move away from "does this sentence work for you?".

I have a vague feeling that my supervisor likes archaeological theory more than I do.


At least once this is done, I only have to insert the figures, do the final check for language smoothness and spelling errors, and then I can send it off to the university.
ossamenta: Tanner from Medieval manuscript (Vitgarvare (Nürnberg 12brüderstiftung))
It's a lovely spring weekend outside, and I'd love to go out in the sunshine - perhaps cycling out in the countryside, or along the Thames or the Cherwell - and just enjoy the lovely day. But no. I'm inside, alternating between patching my work jeans and writing on the tanning essay. Yesterday I was in the library* until the bell rang, but at least I managed to get hold of some useful articles, as I realised I needed to add something on trade in hides during the Roman Iron Age**. On the island Öland, in the Baltic Sea, there are many Roman import goods from this period, and on several grave fields, women have hide working tools as grave goods. This combination has led to suggestions that they sold hides to Roman empire, probably for the army (shoes, tents, belts, sword sheaths, harnesses etc). I doubt we can find written sources indicating trade, as AFAIK the Romans classified people north of the limes border with their tribal names and not by location. And properly identifying a tribal name with a specific region ought to be rather impossible. This of course ignores the likelihood that the hides were sold through one or more traders on their way to the Roman border, thus obscuring any possibility to find the origin of the hides.


*: The Bodleian/Sackler library has a surprising amount of books on Scandinavian Prehistoric/Medieval archaeology. Obviously not everything I need, but I rarely need to contact my parents to ask them to photocopy something from a Swedish book.

**: In Scandinavia, we're still in the Iron Age when other regions of Europe are part of the Roman empire. We're not in the historical period/Middle Ages until c. AD1000.
ossamenta: Moominpappa sitting on a rock in the sea, writing on his typewriter (Muminpappa skriver)
I’ve been awfully busy the last few weeks. Not with my job, but with writing. No, I’m not attempting to be the next bestseller author, I’m trying to finish my degree…

When I wrote my undergraduate essay (C-uppsats) back in the distant past, Lund University were discussing an amalgamation of the two last terms of the archaeology course. Naturally, just as I had finished the third term, they decided to do it. To accomodate for those stuck inbetween the old system and the new one, two seats were reserved for old C-course students. I didn’t have much hope for being one of those, as there were quite a few of us in the old course. So I started to look around for universities that still did C- and D-courses, as opposed to the more popular CD-course. My choice stood between Stockholm and Visby. And since I had always wanted to go to Visby, it was an easy choice. Unfortunately, the months I spent in Visby - especially the summer - were very fun ones, resulting in a not quite finished D-essay (I did manage to do the other courses in time, though). By then, I had only a few weeks until moving to Southampton for my MA course in osteology, so I decided to put the essay aside for that year, and take it up afterwards.

View of Visby, Gotland Small street in Visby, Gotland
Visby - isn’t it a gorgeous town?

But things never turn out quite the way you want them too. By the time I had finished the MA course, I was so thoroughly sick of dissertation/essay writing that I just wanted to work for a few years. And lo and behold, the last years of the big infrastructure expansion in Malmö landed me with excavation work for two seasons, before the surprising job offer from Ireland arrived in the inbox. Needless to say, the D-essay was postponed even further.

And finally, last year, I kicked myself into ”get old stuff done and finished”-mode, and got in touch with the university. I’m having a fresh break, with a completely new essay: The identification of tanneries in an archaeological context. Since I’m doing it part-time, it couldn’t be done in the standard 10 weeks. Instead, I’ve been grasping time in the evenings and weekends trying to get it finished as soon as possible. I’ve taken three weeks study leave, so I can concentrate fully on the last bits. The plan is to have it done this term (i.e. until mid-january). I’m really sick of not having time to do other fun things. The sewing inspiration pile is daunting, and growing by each month (other people clean when the writing stress gets too hard to handle - I get into sewing/embroidery creativity mode). And I would like a better New Year’s Eve than half an hour’s break for fireworks watching…

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August 2017

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