Monday, June 3, 2013

Recent activity: from Mexico to Anglo-Saxons and a media bonanza

The last month has been a hectic jumble of archaeological wonderment, and I have yet again let my blog suffer as a result. But, it has all been for the greater good (of archaeology).

First up - a terrific trip around the Yucatan, Mexico

I discovered that I am very good at pointing at archaeology enthusiastically, while trying to hide from the sun. Chichén-Itzá was utterly amazing. The complex is dotted with stunning stepped pyramids, other religious buildings and detailed relief sculpture. Archaeologists are hard at work restoring the structures and no one is allowed climb the steps anymore. Trenches have also been opened, showing earlier occupation phases on the site - this work has been postponed until the drainage is sorted.
Exhibit A: Pointing at archaeology (extra 'points' as it includes both a pyramid and a trench)

Carving detail - snakes and skulls abound
I then travelled to Tulum, a tourists dream: aesthetically pleasing ruins set right on a pristine beach. I was particularly excited by the well-preserved frescos that have survived well.
Hiding from the sun at Tulum
Archaeology, it's a hard life.

Well preserved frescos. 
Tourist traps were a pain, but I employed the Irish language to bamboozle and avoid the screaming vendors - they can't trap you if they have no idea what you are saying.
Sombreros, everywhere.
Have you ever seen those daredevil lunatics jumping off mountains and what not? Well they jump into giant pools of water (once used to sacrifice enemies and the beautiful alike). We visited one of these deep water sinkholes and decided not to jump from 60 meters up. Showers are required before getting in so that they water remains as clean as possible. Blind freshwater fish tickle as you paddle out onto what feels like a film set.
Cenote swimming

The University of Bristol Berkeley Excavations

Mexico was snuck in between weeks working on the University of Bristol's summer school for gifted archaeology students (i.e. our students). The town of Berkeley welcomed us with open arms and supplied the masses with yummy sandwiches and teas. I was the co-ordinator of one of this year's pilot projects: Social Media. We tweeted, booked the face, and blogged our hearts out. And there is so much info that it will keep us going for months.
Site Supervisor and esteemed colleague, Emily Glass (left), and me, in our high vis glory at Berkeley

If you haven't seen it - check it out here: or or any of the other plethora we set up.

Back of the air

I've been covering on Win Scutt's slot of BBC 5 Live Up All Night for the last few weeks. It's a 15 minute slot dedicated to the latest archaeology news. Tonight is my final daliance, and goes on air at an insomniac friendly 3.35am. I console myself that it is international, so somebody will hear it and I'm not just talking to myself.
BBC 5Live Up All Night -

Le Research

Obviously, I am very very very studious at all times and have occassionally considered writing something else on my PhD.... well, yes, I have, I promise. In fact I have stuck a toe into the world of archaeological science and may have some illuminating methodology on the go soon.

Green Academy

The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) team, including us lovable interns, were invited to a classy HEA residential in Leeds to showcase the University of Bristol's intern brilliance to the new wave of Universities looking to get a handle on ESD in their formal curriculum.We were treated exceptionally well with great lodgings and the annual post-dinner quiz. No, Bristol didn't win this year either...

Me hiding at the back on the left, surrounded by the big wigs of ESD


It was my 30th birthday recently, so I went to the zoo to see the life sized milkable plastic cow. Logic.
The best thing about zoos are the plastic animals... what? Don't have a cow man....

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