Clay Cobra

Databases and Materials

Back from library, 9 journals in hand. Spent far too much time trying to figure out how to link my Mac to the photocopier so that I can send scans from it back to myself. More and more I find that I do not like paper copies of articles. I much prefer digital versions that I can then edit using PDFExpert on my iPad. This allows me to export all my notes and highlights separately (with page numbers attached), and paste it them into Endnote.

More tedious emails to deal with, and must photocopy and submit those PhD forms!

Computers now all updated, so that this weekend and next week I can really get cracking finalising the data in my database. Then I can start playing with the numbers, looking for patterns and correlations. If I were better with spreadsheets, this would be more fun—as it stands I need to find someone who IS good at it to help. The goal is data-driven research, rather than strictly being hypothesis-driven. I don’t want to miss any possibly important patterns by focussing on pre-conceptions… more can be found on my usual blog The next few weeks will be really hectic—I have an apprentice to help map the findspots (there over 700 fragments to deal with) and input the data on the replicas we made.

grins, here is some artwork I made for a ‘research as art’ competition held here at Swansea University. It didn’t win, but I think it encapsulates what I am working on …

Demon Blasters and Fiery Goddesses: Ancient Egytian Clay Cobra figurines 

Demon Blasters and Fiery Goddesses: Ancient EgypPan Clay Cobra figurines

“Who am I? Broken now in pieces, a fragment of ancient Egyptian religion, ritual and magic.
Who shaped my serpent form from soft clay found at the banks of the Nile, so long ago? I was passed through and transformed by the element of fire…
I spit fire and flame, illuminating the darkness, a conflagration invoked against demons that trouble the night. Imbued with the power of the fiery goddess, the Egyptians worshipped me, in the Delta, across the Mediterranean Coast from Libya to Lebanon, they chose me to take on their travels. Today you wonder: Who made me? Who prayed to me? Whose fears did I soothe? How many demons did I destroy? How many lives did I touch? Who broke me? And why …”
These figurines provide clues to how the Ancient Egyptians coped with the vicissitudes of daily life, in many ways not so very different from ours.


Now, off to another university meeting—this one on e-learning.

Networking and more networking

Clay Cobra figurine originally from Amarna Egypt, now in the British Museum

I find that much of my time is spent writing emails, networking, and well, more emails. Today, I have had to write emails regarding an upcoming trip to Egypt to do GPR work with a colleague in glaciology. The emails had already gone out, but the relevant person is on holiday, so now have to be resent. Aaargh.  I’ve also had to write to a potter with whom I will be working. She is going to make replicas of the cobra figurines I am working on (let’s see if I can figure out how to attach an image– this one from a poster I made. I can’t figure out how to place it, so it’s somewhere below). She is going to make 40 of them and then colleagues from engineering will perform fracture experiments. These figurines have been said to have been ‘ritually’ broken. We’ll see if we can tell! Anyway, tight communication is required to make sure we are on the same page!

One of my students also dropped by to get advice from me. This is why I use my office to do admin and teaching related activities — research I save for when I am home, away from the inevitable interruptions and knocks on the door from people saying ‘can I see you for a minute?’.

I’ve also had the opportunity to ‘hang-out’ with three other archaeologists using Google-hangout. This was after taking a break to go to a retirement party for some colleagues. Toasting with wine is also part of the job *grins*. Anyway, it’s a great tool to see what other people are up to, share ideas, debate, etc. Ironically, I ended up chatting to someone who is also in the same town I am in, and I know his partner very well. Small world indeed!

Right back to the tedious grant proposal…