Wednesday, 11 October 2017

What's new in October

Sitting on a train back from London to Newcastle so I thought I would make wise use of 4 hours and get round to a much needed blog update. But what to update about? You can tell by the uninspired blog title it's going to be a random mix of stuff. There is a lot going on at the moment (both academic and general life), some of which is super exciting but I have to wait to talk about until it is finished. I've just about recovered from the whirlwind that was the DIG2017 conference, just in time to get started on the edited volume that goes with it. The conference was a great success, and we were lucky enough to get funding to cover the recording and publishing of the talks (speakers permitting), the majority of which are now online (unfortunately I can't actually watch them on my train journey as Youtube streaming is blocked...). This is going to make a great research teaching tool - we have presentations of papers available to view, and also updated written papers appearing. Hopefully the speakers will find it a useful tool as well.
Aside from that, the semester just started and along with it the onslaught of teaching and admin related duties. The new first year students are settling in and having their first personal tutor meetings, and I am trying my hardest to balance being approachable yet taken seriously. I dyed my hair purple (on a temporary basis) which may not have helped in that regard, but hey ho. It's also fun to challenge assumptions?
All the research projects are going well, and we've grown a great team of geoarchaeologists at Newcastle. John Blong has taken the lead with the NERC lab work and data is starting to come in. Eline van Asperen has transformed the Wolfson Lab into a highly efficient multi user space and processed a huge backlog of phytolith samples. Helen Mackay has processed a bunch of poop samples from Durrington Walls, and has gone through all the Wellcome experimental burning from fieldwork in Turkey this year. And Alicia Sawyer had a successful summer of fieldwork and is back in the lab ready to go on a whole load of micromorphology and turf samples for her PhD.
And of course the reason I was in London today - a Royal Archaeological Institute meeting, where I updated the council on the progress of the next volume of the Archaeological Journal. I think I've found my feet as editor, and have been really pleased with the range of papers we've been getting. I need to write a proper blog post about the experience of editing, and try and encourage more science based submissions...