Grants and Funding

Natural England Day of Archaeology 2016

I am an historic environment lead adviser for Natural England. Natural England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs . We look after the natural environment including nature conservation (particularly SSSIs) and landscape – including cultural landscapes and the historic environment. We also work closely with the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission. I’m based in Yorkshire where I work with rural archaeological sites, traditional buildings and historic landscapes.

This year has been an interesting one for me as much of my work is involved with agri-environment schemes and this work has been affected by the Brexit vote. Some decisions have been delayed but we are all working hard to make up lost time and help our farmers with this year’s grant applications which are due in for September. Natural England have also moved to a new delivery model where we have categorised our work into ‘business as usual’ and ‘priority focus areas’ – in these focus areas we will allocate added staff time to things like partnership working to achieve common objectives by working together with other organisations in the public and private sector. In Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire we have 9 focus areas and I work within 5 of these; Yorkshire Dales & Nidderdale, Humber, South Pennines, Dearne Valley, and Humberhead Levels while my colleague deals with archaeology in the other areas.

Natural England focus Areas

Today I am working from our head office in York (although I am usually based in Leeds with one day per week of home working and usually another out on various farms or nature reserves). I’ve got paperwork and email to catch up on as this has been a very busy week.

At my desk, with headset ready to dish out some heritage advice

Some of this work relates to the Dearne Valley where there is a Heritage Lottery Funded Landscape Partnership. On Tuesday I went to a meeting at Elsecar Heritage Centre with the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership and their new archaeological consultants. As part of Natural England’s in-kind contribution to the project I helped to write the brief and assess tenders. This first meeting with the successful consultants, ArcHeritage, was to plan a series of events to involve the community within the Dearne Valley more closely with their heritage and inspire them to protect it. As the Dearne river valley has interesting mosaic habitats of wetland, woodland, farmland and restored coal tips it is an important wildlife refuge. It also has an amazing amount of archaeology, not just industrial – as you can see here in the Dearne Valley Heritage Audit.

Due to its habitat interest Natural England staff work a lot with farmers here, showing them how to manage their land sustainably, while my contribution is to help them manage their archaeological sites. Today I’m checking the sites that the consultants thought would be suitable for access and outreach activities to see if there are any clashes with our grant schemes, or if there are sensitive species which might mean that we need to alter our plans. So far I haven’t found any major clashes! I’m confident that we can work together as a team to make the project work for nature, for the historic environment and for the local people but I can see from my maps that there are a few things which might have to be tweaked. I’ve contributed to a real reduction to heritage at risk in Yorkshire along with the farmers who manage the land and it’s something I really do feel proud about.

The other big event this week was the reopening of Plumpton Rocks parkland. This Grade II* parkland was placed on the heritage at risk register in 2012 then in 2013 it applied for an agri-environment scheme. Along with the owner, Historic England and the Country Houses Foundation, Natural England have helped to grant aid a restoration including lake desilting, planting of new wood pasture (the planting plan being taken from historic OS mapping) and tackling of invasive species such as rhododendron and Himalayan balsam. While Natural England restored the landscape our partners have focused on the structural elements including the dam. It has been one of the trickiest restoration projects of my life (I usually have 6 or 7 medium to large restoration projects per year to deal with but this is a big one!) as there are lots of designations both for the historic structures and for the natural environment, all of which needed to be taken into consideration before we made any changes. I have been on the project steering group for the last 3 years so it was a big privilege for me to attend the reopening after so long making things happen behind the scenes. It’s very unusual for us to be greeted by Betty’s fat rascals and a glass of (non-alcoholic!) bubbly – and it’ll all have to be reported on the central gifts register to ensure that I’m not being inappropriately influenced – but the owner really wanted to show his appreciation despite the rainy weather!

Country Houses Foundation cutting the ribbon at Plumpton Rocks parkland while the owner looks on
The work there will help local people see the parkland in its former glory, and I was simply busting with excitement to see how the press and local people would feel at the transformation. It was a little disappointing to have rain on such as special day although we braved the weather to walk around the lake and point out the transformation wrought by desilting, tree planting and felling and structural restoration. There are a few bits of restoration work still to complete but to see a neglected site transformed and teach owners how to care for their land long term is one of the best parts of my job. Today I’m writing up the experiences from this project so that other colleagues can learn from it as a case study and other sites will be able to benefit from my experiences. I’m also sending information about the press articles that are being written on the site to our communications officer and highlighting any tweets that we might want to retweet. Soon I will move on to another project but I do always feel a special connection to the places that I’ve been able to help.

Kat Hopwood-Lewis, BSc (Hons), MA, MCIfA

DIGTECH – APN – PCS – Codifi: The Adventure Continues

coda_logo_gray_800x8002015: #260 The Journey Continues

2014: More Companies, More Changes

2013: DayofArch2013 – Continuing Changes

2012: Day of Archaeology 2012

2011: Part 1 and Part 2

Thanks again to the organizers for putting this on year after year!

It seems like I’m always starting new companies and doing different things when the Day of Archaeology comes around. I think it’s important to keep things fresh and interesting. Before I talk about my day it’s become somewhat of a tradition with my posts to give an update of what I’m doing with my businesses. So, here it goes.


For my 2015 post I mentioned working on a couple of big projects. The one I was on at the time wrapped up in February of this year. I employed nine people over the course of the project, paid out over $250,000 in pay and per diem, surveyed 30,000 acres, recorded 165 sites, and over 2,000 isolated finds. It was quite the project and quite the year. Since then, I’ve focused on a few other things in this list. On the Day of Archaeology this year, however, I was preparing for four small projects that I’m doing in Elko, Nevada next week.

I’m not saying I won’t do any more projects this year, but, I’m not trying very hard.

Archaeology Podcast Network

The APN has had AN AMAZING YEAR since last year’s Day of Archaeology. We’ve added new shows and over 11,000 new monthly subscribers! That brings us to 21,000 monthly subscribers as of July! All that means more work for the few of us that are running it, though. If I wasn’t so passionate about public archaeology I’d consider taking a break for a bit. EVERY SINGLE DAY there is APN stuff to do. I love it, though, so I’ll keep going. A little funding wouldn’t hurt, though!

Professional Certifications for Scientists

This new venture started at about the time of last year’s Day of Archaeology. I brought the idea to four of my employees at the time because I thought I’d finally found a group of people that could really help this take off. I was right!

We officially launched in April and we’ve got a number of videos and resources up on the website. We also have a job posting site that isn’t getting much use yet, but, it will. Just need to spend more time promoting it.

Pivot Environmental

Also this year, I became a 1/3 owner in a new joint venture called Pivot Environmental. It’s intended to be a full-service environmental firm like the big ones out there. However, it’s owned by specialists – a biologist, an environmental planner, and me, the archaeologist. Between the three of us we figure we can get more projects than by ourselves. Still laying the ground work, but, it’s promising.

Non – Archaeological Stuff

Civil Air Patrol

To add to my stress load, I accepted the position of Squadron Commander for the Reno Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. We have about 36 adult members and over 40 cadets that range in age from 12 to 21. The CAP has three missions – Cadet Programs, Aerospace Education, and Emergency Services. I particularly enjoy the last one. Getting the call and mobilizing an aircrew and base staff for a live search and rescue makes me feel like I’m doing something that is bigger than me and give back to my community. I recommend it for everyone!

Reno Freethinkers

Finally, for the past three years I’ve been on the executive board of the Reno Freethinkers. We’re a secular organization that attempts to bring science and rational thought to Northern Nevada. I haven’t been able to do much this year, but, we have some interesting things planned for the coming months. Always busy.

Codifi – The Big One

Codifi is my primary focus right now. It’s a company centered around project management software for environmental projects. We’re focusing on archaeology early on, but, the architecture can be adjusted for any environmental project. We believe that archaeologists shouldn’t do office work and that fieldwork can be more efficient. Codifi can reduce office work and help you record archaeological sites in a way that was not possible until now. Check out the website and check back often for some amazing updates coming in the next couple months. I traveling to Italy for the month of August to continue development with my partner that is there now. We’re going to crush it!

My ACTUAL Day of Archaeology

A couple weeks ago we had a DJI Inspire Pro drone shipped for some work we want to do. I’ve been testing it in a variety of conditions. On today’s DOA I went to the house of some friends of mine. They are an archaeological couple that has worked in Nevada for over 40 years! They have some amazing stories!

Well, on that day I helped them get some images of their property. They have been making some landscaping improvements and have tried to reduce fire fuel in critical areas. I used the Autopilot App to create transects across their property and let the drone fly the flight pattern. It automatically took pictures on an interval that gave the shots enough overlap to stitch together. Also took some amazing video.

That’s pretty much it. If anyone wants to donate time or money to the APN or PCS PLEASE DO! They are both organization that I think are important for the field and help make us all better scientists and citizens.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!!

Archaeologist as a war historian – writing a history

About a year ago I wrote about my situation as a conflict archaeologist:

Year 2016 is a bad one for archaeologists in Finland. I have applied for several jobs without success. For example there were total of 21 applicants for one two week job as basic diggers and the chosen ones had worked as assistant researchers for years in the same archaeological unit.

I wasn’t depressed, though, because during year 2015 I managed to get few funds to start writing a book about a Finnish communication unit during Continuation War (1941 – 1944). Trouble was that none was willing to pay the whole sum I applied for, but from few sources I managed to get enough to get started. Currently I’m finishing the script. First rule of writing: no matter how much time you think you need to finish the script, it’s never enough! It always takes more time than you thought it would.

History of a military unit, as written by an archaeologist

The unit I´m writing about is Viestipataljoona 33 (short form VP 33), which could be translated as Field Communications Battalion 33. Unit differs from basic infantry or artillery units in several ways. This makes the job much more difficult. Field Communication units used a variety of equipment, most of which says nothing to even most enthusiastic war historians. Very little has been written about Finnish Army’s communications during the war, so the book will be a pioneer work of one sort.


Inside a radio car, which was captured from Russians. I have no idea what I'm looking at. Some sort of radio equipment?

Inside a radio car, which was captured from Russians. I have no idea what I’m looking at. Some sort of radio equipment, of course, but what exactly? Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.


To further make the task more difficult, I am writing the book during time, when most of the war veterans have passed away or are usually too old and fragile to give any info by interviewing them. I have to rely mostly on archive material, war diaries and correspondence. This is as much a opportunity as a challenge. Because I have to write mostly using material that was created during the war I get a pretty good picture of the intentions of the members of the battalion. If I use material which is made after the war I get a lot of hindsight and of course even fabricated memories.

An archaeologist writing about a history of military unit? Does that even work? I believe that as an archaeologist I don´t write about war history in a better or worse way than war historians. Archaeologists write differently. Archaeologists pay attention to different things than war historians. Usually the war historians make maps that show blue, red, black and white arrows that go zigzag in the map against different set of lines in certain time frame. Individuals brought to readers are often those, who showed bravery and valor in combat and their deeds are explained in detail. That is of course important and interesting, but I’m more interested in how the soldiers lived. As an archaeologist I pay great detail into how the men tried to improve their living conditions, what sort of tasks were they interested in doing and what sort of labor was hated or even neglected. How did the soldiers react to changes? How did they respond to propaganda? How did the feelings towards war change during the long Continuation war?



A Finnish volunteer member of Lotta Svärd, a lotta, is working with a switchboard. Nearly 20 to 25% of Finnish signal corps were women, Viestilottas (Communication Lotta’s). They were irreplaceaple and received credit as hard working, motivated and professional members of battalion. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.

As a unit, I’m interested in how the Field Communications Battalion 33 acted as an organization. Did it work? How were the men lead? Were there differences between the three companies and HQ in battalion? How was the battalion made better – or worse – during the war as an organization? Did the unit do something else besides building and maintaining communications? Was there sand in the machine?

For example the 2nd Companys (a phone company, which build phone lines) war diary shows, that during fighting in summer of 1941 the whole Company was suddenly put to alert because the Russians might succeed in their attack in front lines and the men might have to be put to counterattack. During the wait for new orders Commanding Officer wrote into the official diary of the unit “Company commander started smoking after half a year break.” One humorous line in otherwise serious and official material told everything about the stress the unit was under.

Another example about differences in the battalion was that First and Third Companies get their men from countryside. Second Company got its men from Turku, a city. This made big divides in the unit since the farmers got holidays more frequently and they were usually prolonged because the men were needed during times the fields had to be ploughed and the grain sowed, and finally in the end of summer they got holidays for harvesting. This meant that the town residents got holidays less frequently and they were for shorter times. This had great impact on morale.

Most important things that I study in detail which other than archaeologists might ignore are the material conditions under which the men lived. I have especially studied trench art and I have a pretty good picture, what was manufactured and when and why during the war in this battalion. There were interesting changes during the war and of course there are the pieces of trench art that were made of forbidden materials like aluminium, which was direly needed in war industry. This kind of trench art was done in secret.


A wooden casket, made in 1942 or 1943 as trench art. The casket is rather big and on top of it there are two cancing bear figures.

A wooden casket, made in 1942 or 1943 as trench art. The casket is rather large. The caskets figures might contain a visual joke: the lid of the casket is round like a hill and on top of it two bears are posing or dancing. The object was made in the conquered city of Karhumäki, which literally means “bear hill” which explains the looks of this beautifully carved object. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.

I’m also interested in the ways men fulfilled basic needs of a human being: food, light, warmth, cover. In almost primitive conditions, especially during winter it was no easy task to get these things and they definitively weren’t taken for granted. Some times over 80% of the men were used for months to chop firewood. Out of four platoons in a company maybe only one platoon could be used for working with building and maintaining phone lines.


The most important building in every Finnish unit: a sauna. Men showed ingenuity and effort to make proper saunas. Thanks to these facilities, Finnish army didn't suffer from typhus because the heat in sauna killed the lice. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.

The most important building in every Finnish unit: a sauna. Men showed ingenuity and effort to make proper saunas. Thanks to these facilities, Finnish army didn’t suffer from typhus because the heat in sauna killed the lice. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.



Chopping wood in Karhumäki. Demand for wood as source of fuel for warming tents and houses and to keep power plants running was constant. Members of Field Battalion 33 are chopping wood in Karhumäki (in Russia) during 1942. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.


Food also showed another interesting divide in the battalion: the farmers got often packages which included food. According to one letter  such a package was lost in train and arrived after 2½ months. The food stuff was mostly spoiled, but pretty good frying grease was made out of a ham – after several layers of mold were cut off from top of it. The cities were of course at the mercy of rationing, but they could send one good that was actually unofficial currency: tobacco. With it the town residents could trade food, play cards etc.

I’m also interested in innovations, new ideas and inventions that were made in the unit. I try to write down meticulously about the new communication equipment the battalion received. Unit gave constant feedback about the equipment they were using: some was judged as unnecessary, some was badly designed. There were several mentions of inventions, but unfortunately they weren’t described in detail. For example there are few notes about new ways to bring phone lines into switchboards and alarming systems installed into switchboards, but sadly no instructions of how they were actually made were written down. Bummer!

New and old technology. Farrier, the blacksmith in charge of horses, is using a wheelstone powered by diesel engine. Al equipment had to be very mobile, because the men had to move freguently. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.

New and old technology. Farrier of the battalion, the blacksmith in charge of making and putting shoes for horses, is using a forge which also uses a diesel engine. All equipment had to be very mobile, because the men had to move frequently. Picture: Liedon Museon arkisto, Archive of Museum of Lieto, Finland.

Of course when it comes to basic needs you might ask “WHAT ABOUT SEX?” Well, sexuality and sex weren’t of course written down in detail during 1940’s but a human being is a human being, so of course the question of sexual needs existed. When interviewing one veteran I asked him, what were the usual topics in everyday discussion. “Pussy and it’s endurance” the man replied. This is of course the unofficial documentation of the subject. One of the army’s field magazine wanted feedback from the army and the Battalion Commander and officer in charge of moral replied in official feedback “In every single magazine there should be pictures of pretty girls!!!” So there you have it. I haven’t found anything interesting for queer archaeologists, in case readers are wondering.

Material culture, living conditions, consumption, innovations, inventions… all these are basic archaeological questions when trying to understand past cultures. As an archaeologist I find myself asking myself time after time: what sort of material remains could I find, if I dug in places mentioned in war diaries, personal diaries and letters and so on? How would I interpret it? What sort of remains could a power plant made out of ancient locomobile leave behind after it’s evacuation? How would I interpet the effects of intensive recycling of all sorts of material? I managed to find the locations of the garbage yards near the unit, when they stayed in the conquered city of Karhumäki, but digging them (they are in Russia) is out of question. What sort of tale would those garbage yards tell about Field Communications Battalion 33?

Riku Kauhanen

Conflict archaeologist

Master of Arts (Archaeology, University of Turku, Finland 2012 and folkloristics, University of Turku, Finland 2014)

Photos are from the collections of Museum of Lieto, Finland.

Colour, flax and Bronze Age textiles – all inspiring stuff!

Small ball of spun plant fibre. Copyright Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), photo Dave Webb

Small ball of spun plant fibre. Copyright Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), photo Dave Webb

I’m Susanna Harris and I’m a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. Today has been a race through my to-do list. It’s been full of talented people and amazing artefacts. Archaeology is a wonderful world to work in.

In at 8.15 after my swim and straight to the lab to sort textile samples from the Must Farm Bronze Age settlement. Gert sets up the stereomicroscope and I choose my samples. I’ve been looking forward to this all week and I love it.

At my desk, Archaeology, University of Glasgow. Photo: Pablo Llopis

At my desk, Archaeology, University of Glasgow. Photo: Pablo Llopis

I go back to my office to prepare an order for microscope stubs with Agar Scientific, only to find it’s the last day of the financial year so I accelerate it through with my brilliant administrator Kelly.

Next I’m reading through a colleague’s grant application on historic dyes analysis – it’s inspiring and I am lost in the world of dye and colour.  Dropping by Tessa’s office, I meet Pablo Llopis, a photographer who agrees to take a photo for this post :-). He sees a book I’m reading on vision and we end up discussing colour theory – there’s a theme developing here. All thought provoking ideas for my research on clothing and perception.

Vision and colour theory. Photo: Susanna Harris

Vision and colour theory. Photo: Susanna Harris

I check my emails. Among a flurry of requests for next semester’s teaching, the editor of BBC History Magazine is looking for a feature on Must Farm and wants a fresh angle on the textiles. We chat on the phone and I email him some ideas.

I notice the time and remember I need to order some freshly pulled flax plants as I want to set up an experiment with my undergraduate students. I call the farm and catch Simon cutting oil-seed rape. He’ll sort the flax and post it.

Green flax plants. Photo: Susanna Harris

Green flax plants. Photo: Susanna Harris

I drop by the head of department’s office to ask him if there is a nearby lawn where I can leave my flax to ret (a rotting process to help extract the fibres). He suggests the wildlife garden. I follow his directions and check it out – it will be perfect if estates and buildings give me permission.

The last thing I need to do today is finish writing an abstract for a conference in Berlin on Neolithic and Bronze Age textile fibres. I’m off to make a cup of tea and settle down at the computer to write it.

Here are some of my papers on prehistoric textiles:

And links to Bronze Age textiles from Must Farm:

This one with video of me talking about the finds and site:



Pokemon, philosophy and coffee

Every time I do a post for Day of Archaeology, I look back over what I wrote previously and marvel at how quickly a year has gone by, and how much things can change in that time. This year is no different, and I will start by saying how lucky I am to be writing this as an archaeologist now employed permanently by a great university, in my hometown of Newcastle. Last year I was back in Newcastle having taken a non-archaeology job, and was preparing for a life outside academia (not really through choice, but lack of other options, given that getting a full time, secure job as an archaeologist is difficult). This contrasted with the posts I wrote for 2012 (Stonehenge!), 2013 (Early humans in caves!), 2014 (Crusades! Fossil poo!), which were much more the sort of thing I guess people expect from archaeologists. Lab work and white coats, fancy microscopes, fieldwork, and all the excitement that goes with that.  So what about today? Having put things on hold temporarily in 2015, in 2016 I am back to working on material from Stonehenge, and the early humans in caves is going to be a major focus for the next 3 years as I recently got a large NERC grant to fund it (the pilot work I told everyone about in Day of Archaeology 2013 contributed to this). I have been dealing with all of the admin that goes with it – planning project meetings, writing adverts to hire staff etc. But the main thing I have been doing specifically today is trying to finish a paper I have been working on for most of the year. It is a paper that I would never have been able to write without the security of my current job, and the time that is needed to read, read, read and reflect. Whilst many would call me an archaeological scientist, the paper I am working on today is a very heavy on theory. Part of what I am talking/reading about is that there shouldn’t be such a distinction between the two. To those outside of archaeology, I think there is very little understanding that what we do is largely about interpretation rather than indisputable facts, though of course we strive to be as accurate as we can be. Many of us start out counting things and measuring things, only to realise that the most difficult part of archaeology is not the science at all, but making sense of all this stuff that we find in the ground and measure. There is a philosophy to this; hermeneutics is a word philosophers give to describe the theory and method of interpretation. So it’s very relevant to archaeology, which is pretty much all about interpretation! Unfortunately, a lot of it is not very easy to read. If you thought archaeology and science had a lot of jargon, philosophy is ten times worse! But thinking about how we think, and how we actually create the archaeological stories that we tell people is so important. So I’ll keep at it, whilst drinking a lot of coffee. So that’s what I’m doing, in Starbucks. In true multi-tasking style, given that the local Starbucks is right next to a pokestop, I also managed to catch a lot of Pokemon…



Raising Our Trowels to New Horizons

It’s summertime, and all over the world the trowels are blazin’ … for some of the TrowelBlazers team this year, however, the hard graft isn’t soil-shifting but grant-writing.

As a genuine grassroots collective which began in 2013 and has been growing ever since, we’ve started to throw out fresh shoots towards Big New Projects. Last year’s Fossil Hunter Lottie Doll was one such, and we have another that is going to launch in early 2017.

While our core activity of running the TrowelBlazers website still goes on, we’re also working on developing Raising Horizons, our collaboration with renowned photographer Leonora Saunders and Prospect Union. We’ve shared a bit of information about this already (via our blog), and since then lots more things have been coming together for this exciting project. (more…)

A day of archaeology, in the life of an early career academic.

photo 4

There is a method to the madness, and structure in the stratigraphy of notebooks!

Hello! I’m Dr. Ryan McNutt, a University Teacher (adjunct professor to American readers) in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. Today I’m going to talk a bit about a typical day in my work as an early career archaeologist within academia, and also tell you a bit about how I got here.

Anthropologizing Abroad—Or, an American in Glasgow

Like many archaeologists, and in fact, like many of my colleagues at Glasgow, I’ve had a varied journey to reach the desk I’m sat in front of today. My undergraduate was a B.Sc in Anthropology from Middle Tennessee State University, where the majority of my interest was in the prehistory and protohistory of the Mississippian civilizations of the American Southeast. Even within that, I was always interested in conflict within and between groups, and the archaeological and anthropological investigations of the effect of conflict on human behavior, and indeed, on the landscape.


Castalian Springs Field School 2006. My last field school prior to graduating.

After a few years doing commercial archaeology in the United States, this interest in conflict, coupled with my desire to return to postgraduate study, saw me pack up and move across the Atlantic to Glasgow to pursue an Mlitt, and latterly a PhD, focused on conflict and battlefield archaeology with Glasgow’s own (and the only one in the world!) Centre for Battlefield Archaeology.  My postgraduate study through the Centre was phenomenal, opening doors and providing some amazing opportunities for fieldwork in France, Poland, and on some of the most historically significant battlefields in Scotland, as well as participating in TV documentaries.


Who says that professors don’t work in the summer?

My day as an archaeologist and professor at East Carolina University: Conducting research for a National Science Foundation grant proposal, popping in to help a grad student with her MA thesis data collection in the lab, then a phone interview with an editor at Archaeology Magazine on some current research conducted with another MA student at Qasr Hallabat, followed by the gym and beers with colleagues. I am a bioarchaeologist, someone who studies human skeletal remains along with mortuary practices, and I co-direct a field project in Petra, Jordan. We are in the field every two years, and a lot of my time in the interim is spent planning for the next field season. A colleague of mine in Geography and I are putting together an NSF grant proposal application to develop a method for documenting spatial patterning of commingled human skeletal remains within the tombs that I am working on at Petra. I hope that it tells us a lot about how the remains got commingled in the first place – was it due to mortuary practices at the time?  Natural forces?  Tomb looting in later periods? – and about any interesting patterns based on age and sex of the bones. I get excited thinking about new techniques and how they can answer questions that have been nagging me and other archaeologists. I started the Petra project wanting to focus on disease and diet of the city’s residents, but in the end, partly due to the poor condition of the skeletal remains, the mortuary practices have been the most interesting and informative aspect. I think that is how research goes… you never can truly predict what you will find, and if your data are not conforming to your initial expectations, you need to be flexible.

Picture 1

Megan Perry, Associate Professor of Anthropology at East Carolina University and Co-Director of the Petra North Ridge Project


A Day with – Bosnian Archaeology Website

It’s not easy to be an Archaeologist in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I didn’t worry about that much when I was a student. It only hit me after graduation. Even with an M.A. degree my colleagues and I were not able to find any job in our field. This is not because there are a lot of archaeologists and competition is high, it’s because institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina are not doing their job well, museums are being closed, and government is not investing in Archaeology.

This is why 2 years ago a couple of my friends and I started a website dedicated to Archaeology. From the start our goal was to educate people on the importance of Archaeology and to popularize it. When we graduated from University we were told that nothing can be done in our field of work, and that we should think of doing something else. But we didn’t want to give up and we knew we have to try something.

That was how was born, a website that has the purpose to promote and share information about Archaeology of Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighboring countries. But our goal was not only to promote, we wanted to be heard how it is important to preserve our monuments, so we started to cooperate with other archaeologists, not only from Bosnia but from other countries as well. As time went by we also started translating articles to English and French language, we have become one of the leading Archaeology website in the region, we had a very successful Indiegogo campaign, Heritage Daily wrote about us, and we started a process of becoming an NGO. All of this and more has been done in an environment where we have been laughed at and told that nothing could be done to improve Archaeology of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However we proved differently and we are very eager to prove ourselves again and again.

As an Editor-in-Chief my job is very exciting but also very difficult. I have a lot of responsibilities every day, and I must be very creative at all times and think of new ideas that would upgrade the website and make it different from other similar sites. The most important thing is to hold meetings where me and other editors Ivana and Drago discuss and brainstorm ideas, and plan ahead. One of my tasks as an editor-in-chief is to read all the articles that are submitted, cross-check and approve or reject them. I also write articles and translate them. There are a lot of responsibilities but I really enjoy my job, although for the time being we are all working as volunteers without any financial support. However, we believe that it will be worth it, it actually is in my opinion already worth it because we are doing something we enjoy and at the same time we are trying to change the situation.

My job doesn’t only include work on a website because the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a bit complicated, that is why we are forming an NGO (Non-governmental organization). We want to devote ourselves to change an awful situation Archaeology is in right now. We will be able to do this through different projects and more collaborations with our colleagues. This is why these days I am working on a lot of different things as well, including paperwork and project planning. It may seem too much but I enjoy what I do and most of the time it’s a lot of fun. It’s especially motivating when we get support from all over the world, even from people who haven’t actually met us but they still believe in us because they follow our work. We plan a lot of projects in the future, including the ones that will help to protect endangered archaeology sites. Right now we are taking one step at a time hoping that our work will be worth it and that will celebrate many other Days of Archaeology.

For the purpose of one of our campaigns we filmed this short video which shows how much monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina are neglected.

You are welcome to check out, our facebook and twitter page @ArchaeonMo, also if you wish to join us send us an e-mail:

Best regards from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina and enjoy Day of Archaeology.