Why I blog Archaeology

Woooo a blog post!

I’ve often felt a bit woeful about the fact that I never have time/inspiration to blog. Well, here comes an excellent opportunity for me to enter into a bit of structured, regular blogging. If it works well, I might have to make myself a routine to stick to.

I should probably say what I am blabbering about. I decided to take part in the Blogging Archaeology carnival, hosted over at well known archaeology blog, Doug’s Archaeology. For more information, and to save my little typey fingers, you should click the first link to find out more. Suffice it to say that Doug will post a series of topics/questions every month on the lead up to SAA 2014 and archaeology bloggers all around the world will contribute their ideas and opinions. 

So, November’s questions and their answers are as follows:

Why did you start blogging?

I think some people might know that I started this blog just before I applied to do my Digital Heritage Master’s at the University of York. It’s original purpose was to act as a receptacle for all my thinkity thoughts about a novel I planned to write at the time. I often bemoan the lack of popular, good (I know it sounds silly, but the combination seems rare to me) fiction set in prehistory. 

The obvious answer is to provide the world with some myself. I had a set of characters and even some painstakingly created illustrations in ink and coloured pencils, but then I started the MSc and any spare time I had was taken up by working to pay the bills. It’s still something I think about lots, and I did start to write a PhD proposal last January in which I (rather childishly) pronounced that I would write a wonderfully researched novel in place of the traditionally structured thesis. Hur hur hurr, I should be so lucky.

Since then, however, my blog has morphed into a repository for my thoughts on current issues in archaeology (see the post that prompted this year’s #FreeArchaeology discussions) and the content and progression of my own education. 

Why are you still blogging?

There are two answers to this question.

The first is that I have always been rather excellent at talking about myself. I’ve always been even better at talking about stuff that gets to me. I guess I just love to rant. Archaeology does that – gets to me, I mean. I have this weird relationship with it where it drives me absolutely bonkers because I know exactly what it is and how it works and how it should be done… but at the same time, I have not the foggiest idea what archaeology is, why I am interested in it, which specific bit of it I am interested in, or whether or not I should even be bothering with it in the first place. Blogging helps me to think about all those things; to line them up in my head and compartmentalise them. For all the moaning I do in various essays about how archaeologists over-compartmentalise the archaeological record, their methods and their theories, I can’t help but do it myself. It’s this innate human reaction to anything that can be seen as ‘problematic’ (i.e. something that needs solving or resolving) and I suppose I use blogging, at least partially, to deal with my problematic relationship with archaeology.

The second much more sensible, and equally valid answer to the question ‘why are you still blogging?’ is that there is nothing quite like it for networking. I use it as a professional tool. It is what got me into the academic twitterverse, and it’s what got my thoughts and my work out there. Without it I wouldn’t know, or know of, the vast majority of the online archaeology/cultural heritage community. And they are all so great. There are great things being said on the personal blogs of wonderful, dedicated academics and professionals, and I feel honoured to be seen as a part of that. I hope that I can continue to be a part of the community by tweeting and blogging.

And eventually, I hope I’ll find out what it is in archaeology that really interests me, get funding for a PhD. Then blogging and tweeting will totally be classed as doing work. How awesome would that be?