Enabling Scottish Archaeological Research – the final ScARF post

“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2

2017 is the seventh and final Day of Archaeology but I’m pretty sure no one taking part will be resting! I do though, think that the team behind #dayofarch deserve a little bit  lot of praise for the god/superhuman like effort they have put in over the years organising this) Since the first posts in 2011, ScARF has taken part in every ‘Day’ except from 2013 and 2014 when ScARF ( had no staff – a pretty good record (you can see the old posts in the links below).

In many ways, the work I am doing today is not that different from the posts I’ve written in the past.

The graphic design I was trying out in the first of the 2012 posts is still a part of my job – today I am creating posters to show research topics in need of love. I’ll probably spend about half an hour in the morning on that as a brain warm up before the ‘real’ work. Here you can see some of the word clouds I’ll use as a basis for the designs.

After coffee, it will be some close reading. The copyediting I wrote a post on in 2012 is more part of my job than ever and there are a few hours of my time today blocked out for working on editing the Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll (RARFA) ( . We are on the second draft of the manuscript – at the moment the formatting is all in place, punctuation, terminology, spelling and grammar have all been checked and sent back to the authors for review. I am just waiting for some final adjustments to images and changes to bibliographies to be sent in and then the ‘final’ version 2 can be checked.

At the same time, I am still (as in 2012) marking up the HTML for the text but for the first time I have some help in the form of a glamourous assistant in Anna, our Museums Officer!

Today I also have a meeting about sponsoring student places at an upcoming conference (stay tuned to the ScARF website to find out more! ) and I hope that this will result in students and early career folk who might otherwise struggle to afford to go to be able to attend the event. This kind of work on our ‘student network’ isn’t something that was part of the original ScARF plan but I spend an increasing amount of time on as I think it is important to get as many fresh brains (if that isn’t too zombie a thing to say) involved as possible in current research, Scotland needs more, younger, experts for the days of archaeology ahead!

After my meeting, it will be the glamourous administration job of booking accommodation and travel, including for an upcoming conference that I am presenting at (come along to the Highland Archaeology Festival  !) and doing some financial planning for the next month of the project.

Coffee is essential in the ScARF office

Coffee is essential in the ScARF office

After that, back to marking up HTML for RARFA. I do a lot of other things in my job, even if these posts make it seem like I do a lot of the same thing, the days of archaeology have been Fridays, and Fridays are usually my head-down-coffee-on-tap-techy-days! This week for example, I think about 60% of my time has been spent on various regional archaeological research frameworks – costing them, planning them, research into topics, looking for willing victims volunteers to write pieces for them, trying to get support for them and setting up meeting for the future. I’ve also been working on sorting out and simplifying the 2012 research recommendations so that they be answered by a wider range of people than they were perhaps intended for.

Since I started working on ScARF in 2011, my day to day work has been augmented with more and more administration due to having a managerial role that I didn’t have at the start. I’ve also taken breaks from Archaeology and had jobs in other fields (not the muddy kind, other ‘disciplines’) . One thing that has been constant since the first #dayofarch post though, is the fun I have reading about other peoples work in archaeology. Yes, when you read something exciting, you can feel jealous and sad that you are at that moment doing yet another round of monthly paperwork rather than being the one with the excitement. On the other hand, reading about the exciting research people are doing can really make you (or should that be, ‘should make you’?) see where the work you are doing yourself can fit in. I don’t get to do much any original research with my day job, or research what I’m really passionate about in archaeology, but one thing I can do through my day job is to increase the access that others have to current research. Well, that’s what I hope ScARF does and even if the #dayofarch is ending, I hope that people reading this post continue to use ScARF in the future.

Anna MacQuarrie is also writing a post for today, from a ScARF Museums point of view, so do please look out for that!


Past ScARF posts for Day of Archaeology

ScARF is a research project at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and we are thankful to Historic Environment Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland for our current funding.