Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bristol Archaeology & Anthropology

I've just created the Bristol Archaeology & Anthropology Facebook page. We have private groups, but they are not really suitable for public consumption - too many shenigans - so now we have a delightful new welcoming page for new researchers, staff and students, full to the brim with recent news stories. I imagine it will evolve in response to how the Bristol gang use it.
But if you don't like the page, you'll never find out!
Everyone likes to be liked....

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Good News!

I am very very very lucky to have just been awarded the Read-Tuckwell Scholarship from the University of Bristol. Given that I am self-funding this makes a massive difference for me as I head into the last year of my studies. Hooray!
Department news post:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Witches and gnomes in Devon

The fella and I had a bit of holiday time this summer, so we decided to live it up in Devon for two days. Most people might consider the beach (we did, it was lovely), or a relaxing drink in local taverns (did that too). But, we also sought to find the most entertaining offerings of the area. A quick trawl through the internets revealed a plethora of enticing sites: the Barometer Museum (by appointment only, would need to be organised); Big Sheep; and a quarry complex named after one of humankind's finest inventions, Beer.

In the end, I wanted to check out the Museum of Witchcraft, as there could be some links to my study. The PhD radar never sleeps, and I knew I would find it interesting. Off we popped to gobsmackingly-scenic Boscastle. There was a display of Aleister Crowley (PhD tick) and then weird and wonderful collections that I was flabbergasted by. 
Everyone loves a spoon - Uri Geller
I understand that witchcraft appeals to many but incites fear in others - the museum makes a serious effort to warn visitors and to promote respect for the reception and interpretation of witchcraft. I was surprised with the diversity of objects on display, from the esoteric, to the macabre, and there were far more human remains than I envisioned (which poses some ethical questions in itself).

Click below for more photos.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

No news is good news

In the invigorating world of research, sometimes there is just very little to report. I've been reading, do you care? Probably not. I could jazz it up - I've been annihilating the appalling work of so-called academics in my quest for intellectual superiority. More interesting, but not completely true. I'm just researching all about the Hell-Fire Club of Sir Francis Dashwood and tumbling through the myths and truths about his life and everything relating to the infamous club he founded (alledgedly, it might have been someone else, but it was probably him, for this club, not the others - see - it's just swings and roundabouts with this lot of 18th century shenanigan-meisters). 
Me in the Hell-Fire Caves along with mannequins showing Dashwood and his friends #totallyprofessional
I have bee enjoying re-reading Francois Rabelais the 16th century satirical French rascal. He is hilarious and rude and crude and perceptive all at the same time. Plus, he is easy to read, unlike so much of what we researchers have to digest. I'm looking at how his imagining of the Abbey of Theleme relates to motifs used by Dashwood in his building programmes at Medmenham and West Wycombe.

Other news?
  • I'll be posting my Public Archaeology idea soon here: can get involved in the project by reading the posts and commenting - we want your ideas!
  • I'm working on the Academic Assignment Tutor Programme with the University and a local secondary student.
  • I saw Steven Seagal and his Blues Band in Clapham recently... you couldn't make it up!
  • There were some strange days in Devon that featured the Gnome Reserve, Watermouth Castle and the Museum of Witchcraft - more on that soon.

And, just for fun, another throw back thursday shout out to my by-all-accounts-awesome great-grandfather Cantwell who was the archaeologist in Limerick, Ireland (and raises my awe meter readings with all his publications in the Royal Irish Academy).

Archaeology Swag  Great Granddaddy pipe-smoking on site