Saturday, May 02, 2009

200th post?!? How about I tell you a little more about myself?

Good grief! 200 posts? The posts will slow down a bit, now that the sun is out, I have fun and friendly roommates and I have to read my entire dissertation for "conversational english" and remove it (poo on that). But I am dedicated to trying to keep people informed about my life, since one blog post is SO much easier than writing 10 emails and there seem to be some other people out there who are interested/entertained by what I'm doing, so although the posts may slow up a bit, I'll keep blogging. I'll even try to blog while I'm out digging this summer.

But for today's special 200th post, I figured I'd give you a treat. A little taste of what I do and why I am the Archaeogoddess. (These pictures were not taken by me. When I'm out in the field I can check with the director and get permission to use better photos that I will try to take for blogging purposes.)

We live on a kibbutz in some swanky air-conditioned cabins with hot and cold water, cable-tv, and did I mention the air-conditioning? The dig director has lived in tents and other crappy accommodations when she was a volunteer archaeologist and decided she would never do that to her volunteers or staff. Bless her!

Alas, because it's a kibbutz, we aren't getting fine cuisine. In fact, many jokes were made about our starchy dinners. Lunch was hot with meat... dinner.... well, we were glad we had gin to wash it down.

We get up at about 4 am, Monday through Friday (we work the American week, rather than the Israeli), tumbling out to the site before 5. This photo  of our site was probably taken around our "fruit" break, 10:45ish. We go in at about 12:30, because it gets to be too hot.

Believe it or not, we spend a lot of time "cleaning" the dirt. We sweep the sides of the square and we sweep the ground. Then we pick axe the dirt and scrape it flat with our back-breaking hoes and sweep it again!  Look at the dust.  Imagine for a minute what happens to the poor archaeologists who work in areas without daily showers.

After lunch, we wash the ceramic finds that have been soaking overnight. We have to soak them or the soil would never come off.

Then, after all of this work, four weeks of excavation, a bulldozer comes and fills in the squares you have "finished." This is very depressing and usually none of us wants to go to watch. We sit on the porches of our cabins and drink instead. When you work in a muslim country, where drinking alcohol is prohibited, the atmosphere can get particularly morose. Of course, filling in the excavated squares means that you no longer have to walk around four open pits to get to the soil dump, but it's hard to not remember the hours of work put into digging those holes in the first place!

And just in case you weren't jealous enough of my life, a final picture:*  

* The Archaeogoddess appears in this photograph - can you find her?


  1. AWESOME. Oh and I think you are the lady on the stairs, with her back to the camera.

  2. I loved these pictures. Thats one of the fantastic things with Phds- fieldwork!

  3. I love this!!!! Tell us more!!! :o)

  4. Anonymous9:02 PM

    Short dark hair, reading the lonely plnet-esque book.

  5. Green shirt...the purse that my dog peed on (thank goodness it's machine washable, right?).

  6. Digging in the dirt, eating bad food, living in a tent..why do I still want your life? All I do is wear pretty clothes, go to these events, drink champagne and once in a while i throw around words like "branding".
    I think it was in the 'exodus' that i first read about a kibbutz, and I so wanna visit one is not live in one.

  7. I'm the one wearing the green shirt with the machine washable purse (although it was blood, not pee, thank god, I much prefer blood to pee - Laura's rats bit the dog because she licks their wire cage, silly girl). I'm reading the Oxford Archaeological Guide to the Holy Land, my bible. Way to go Jennie!

  8. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Hehe, blood better than pee? But much more difficult to get out no?

    Anyhoo, am in Århus from this Friday to Sunday. Just sayin'. Hoping to have coffee with whomever is around and has time!

  9. Yes! Tell us more!

    No I can't find her... I have to go back....

  10. Goodness, my brain is a sieve. I just need to have you following me around and take the place of my faulty memory...

  11. As someone who subscribes to archeology magazines for fun, I find your work fascinating. I love reading about archeology and anthropology.

    I can't wait to hear more...

  12. So you live in Denmark and then go to Israel in the summer? Is that right? Do you also work in other countries? Belize would be a great place for you, especially Lamanai Mayan ruins as apparently the majority of temples haven't been excavated. I wonder why? Money?

  13. @ GW: Yup, live in Denmark, summers in the Near East. I study Romans and dig mainly in the Near East (Israel and Jordan). I wouldn't be much good in Central or South America, although I have also studied Mayan archaeology, but a long time ago.

  14. Wow - what a fantastic life! Do tell us even more... pretty please!

  15. That last comment was from me!

    Oh, and congrats on the 200th post!


Keep it clean, don't be mean....