editor

The list maker cometh…

Sticky notes on a wall

Sticky notes on the wall of the Wikimedia Foundation office (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Day of Archaeology always falls on the day I don’t work so my post is never really about the day itself, but I happened to be updating my job description this week (alongside managing 4 student volunteers and releasing 2 new articles). It had not been updated since Internet Archaeology switched to open access towards the end of last year, so having worked on that just this week, I thought I’d share it.

I am an inveterate ‘to do‘ list maker (I’m currently using Google Keep to organise myself) and one of the few editorial blogs I follow is that of the Scholarly Kitchen. A particular post from 2014 continues to chime with me, and it’s their list of 82 things that publishers do. So combine these lists at will dear reader, and you get a flavour of what can and does arise in a typical day for me at Internet Archaeology!

The Editor is responsible for editing, managing, maintaining, producing and promoting Internet Archaeology, an international, open access, peer-reviewed digital journal for archaeology, hosted by the University of York.

OBJECTIVES

  • Produce, edit, develop and publish the Internet Archaeology journal to a high academic standard
  • Promote the journal and its content
  • Develop and sustain the journal in its open access form
  • Ensure the journal is accessible to all users, optimising its technical performance and archival permanence as well as developing new functionality
  • Ensure all content is accurate, timely, and supports the journal’s core values and objectives

MAIN DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Responsible for day to day running of journal, resolving any issues that arise to maintain quality, content, and production schedule
  • Responsible for editing and planning of each journal issue, including the soliciting of new content
  • Steer the editorial, technical and open access development of the journal
  • Investigate opportunities for development and growth and ensure that the established goals are met
  • Describe, implement, and regularly review author guidelines and journal policies
  • Provide editorial and technical advice to authors on the preparation and submission of content
  • Responsible for progressing submissions from proposal stage through to publication, including peer review
  • Responsible for design, creation and maintenance of journal web pages
  • Represent and promote the journal online, via the web, social media and in person at conferences and seminars, both within and beyond the University
  • Collaborate with the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) on integrated initiatives and publications
  • Oversee and support the journal’s digital archiving process with the ADS
  • Seek to maintain awareness of new developments in open access, digital scholarly publishing, related digital initiatives and technologies and implement best practice
  • Build successful and productive relationships with Advisory Editors and other key external stakeholders

Editorial

  • Progress articles from proposal stage through submission to publication
  • Manage the refereeing process
  • Liaise, feedback and collaborate with journal Advisory Editors, authors, referees and copy editors over development of drafts
  • Edit, proofread and check all text, bibliographic and other associated material for articles, ensuring content complies with editorial policy, housestyle and other guidelines
  • Maintain journal guidelines and advise authors on best practice for all components of articles, including copyright requirements and licencing
  • Assign DOIs to all published content and deposit bibliographic data for citation linking
  • Promote content on social media, email lists, newsletters and via press releases as required
  • Solicit new content and liaise with potential new contributors

Design / Technical

  • Design and develop content for online usage
  • Mark-up content to current HTML specifications and ensure the website functions effectively
  • Develop journal design and housestyle, updating when required
  • Ensure journal architecture is robust and that it facilitates discovery of content (via internal and external search)
  • Ensure layout is clear, effective, and accessible
  • Prepare images for online presentation and create graphics where required
  • Perform technical updates to webpages as required
  • Liaise with ADS staff on technical and archival requirements where needed
  • Develop special interfaces for articles when required
  • Develop and maintain journal RSS feed
  • Monitor and review site usage, including traffic statistics, Altmetric data, forum comments, e-mail traffic and comments, visitor survey data, etc. and make improvements where indicated
  • Be conversant with and make use of in-house computer hardware and software

 Open Access

  • Devise the journal’s open access policy, its implementation and development
  • Advise authors on costs of open access publication, and assist authors in the preparation of funding applications where required
  • Seek to maintain awareness of new developments in open access publishing and implement best practice
  • Manage and maintain metadata for journal’s listing in DOAJ
  • Manage and promote the open access institutional membership offer, liaising with external agents where needed
  • Seek out additional ways to support the journal in its open access form

External relationships

  • Establish and maintain beneficial links with other archaeology organisations and seek out potential joint publication and other initiatives
  • Represent and promote the journal on the web, via social media and in person at conferences and seminars, both within and beyond the University
  • Cultivate new contacts as Advisory editors and other journal supporters

 Other

  • Respond to queries relating to the journal and its content
  • Attend Executive and Management meetings
  • Support the directors and administrator in budget/resource management
  • Make efficient use of shared ADS infrastructure and resources
  • Support the journal’s administrator to develop, co-ordinate and promote advertising and marketing opportunities in and on behalf of the journal
  • Supervise temporary staff, volunteers and student placements
  • Present at archaeological and digital/publishing conferences as well as workshops/other external training courses as required
  • Lead seminars on digital publication within the Department
  • Other such reasonable duties as may from time to time be required by the journal Directors

And no, I don’t have an assistant or a clone…but I’d find either most helpful!

An unconventional day in a publishing house

When I was asked to take part to the Day of Archaeology writing about my job, I felt kind of an intruder. I don’t work in a museum, or in a University and I don’t excavate. I’m an editor, and I spend the most of my days laying out books. BUT I’m an archaeologist, before being editor. I work for an archaeological firm in Italy and even if for the most the firm excavates, we have also a little publishing house, focused on archaeology. Even if many of my colleagues are horrified by the idea of spending days in front of a desk, I love it. But let me start from the very beginning of my professional adventure, that is my job interview.It was a bit odd: my boss, basically the most pragmatic person I’ve ever known, told me in black and white that if I was looking for a full-time job, I should create that, as the publishing house at that time couldn’t afford a full-time salary. That was really challenging, but also very stimulating to me: how could I increase the sector in order to earn a living? So I read a dozen of books about “being an editor”, but quickly I realized that my strong point was being an archaeologist, before being an editor, so I can really help authors with plates and copy editing. I can also look for new and interesting studies or themes, and the right person to write about them.

My Day of Archaeology was really exhausting, and unconventional (thank goodness, and you will find out why!). It started as everyday, checking out mails, doing some calls and stuff like that. In these days I’m working on three books, at various stages, so it is not uncommon to me to work to all of them during the day. In the morning I started working on a new book. I love this work-phase: reading the book, laying out pictures together with the text, verifying scales and bibliography. I know what you’re thinking: “this is NOT exciting at all,” but I can tell you that it is wonderful to see the book grow in your hands.

In the afternoon I received some corrections from an author after the proofreading of another book, and yes, this is a bit boring: after the first proof, the book seems to me almost finished, but authors need to proofread from 1 to 4 times, and each time I have to adjust the text. The first one is ok, but the fourth is really boring to me.

My workplace!

My workplace!

In late afternoon I had to modify the cover of the third book, as I’m still searching for the perfect match for the picture and other colors.

I work with the window behind my back, so I didn’t notice that the weather was getting worse. Anyway, finally I noticed that for the whistle of the wind and for the beating of the window. Soon it started raining A LOT, so much that some water started coming inside, penetrating under the door. Yesterday I went to the typography and some of the archaeology books I brought back to the office were still on the floor, and they were under threat! Quickly I moved them on a shelf, and together with my brother and one of his friends I went looking for something to use to stop the water. We found some shreds and it stopped raining so we could mop the floor up. But this wasn’t the end of the adventure: going back home we had to pass through a road with water 50 cm high, and our car broke just in the middle, so we had to stay inside with the waves created by other cars passing in the road. It was like being in a boat, but less funny. Finally one of the friends of my brother came rescuing us.

My car broken in the middle of the road. O_O

My car broken in the middle of the road. O_O

Safe and sound I can now tell you Happy Day of Archaeology, see you next year!

A Day in the Life of a Local Society Officer

 

I am the Chair of the City of London Archaeological Society. Like all our Officers and Committee I work unpaid and in my own time to help organise a thriving local society. My story my ring bells for many of the unsung band who make their contribution to archaeology by enthusing and supporting others.

I did not have broadband at home for a long time, so the first thing I see when I log-on at work is ‘draft minutes’ of COLAS’s recent evening Committee meeting.

Among the things we discussed (for the Nth time) the best place to put our money, a speaker who had changed his mind about coming, getting our laptop and projector to the July lecture, when the usual transporter (me) was on holiday and how to contact the members who may already have been trained to undertake fieldwork on the Thames Foreshore.

However the big topic was our Tower of London Archaeology Weekend (26/27 May). Fifty one individual volunteers, putting in 80 volunteer days to provide a wide range of displays and activities for the public. Well that’s COLAS’s bit done for the ‘Big Society’.

Following on from the Committee meeting, I take time at lunch to send out a few emails to remind people about stuff that needs to go into the July edition of our magazine ‘Context’. It is quarterly, so must include details of our August walk and an October guided visit to the wonderful Kensal Green Cemetery.  You need to think ahead in this job.

I send the Editor a couple of hundred carefully crafted words about a small and almost unknown local museum I visited recently, and feel guilty that I have not yet done my ‘From the Chair’ piece.

I remind myself, I need to follow up an invitation to visit a Museum of London Archaeology excavation.  When could I phone XX when she wouldn’t be down a hole somewhere?  I email Tower volunteers a couple of nice Tower pictures of themselves and answer a lot of phone calls and emails that ARE work related.

Back home and fed, I wonder whether to watch TV or do a Context summary of COLAS’s last lecture; not an easy job, as it had a lot of pictures. Or both. Multitasking again.

Eventually bed and dreaming of my forthcoming holiday.  What a joy digital photography is, so I do not have to pack slide film for that possible presentation for some future ‘members night’.

Rose Baillie
Chair
City of London Archaeological Society

 

Historical Archaeology & Visual Art

I am an historical archaeologist who teaches at Cheyney University and at West Chester University, two campuses of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that are located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA. I am not teaching during the summer term which gives me time to pursue my research which involves studying the public’s engagement with the archaeological resources in Independence National Historical Park (a U.S. National Park Service property commemorating the birthplace of American democracy). Today, June 27th, has been a ‘catch-up’ day for me where I had time to move ahead on several items on my ‘wanting to do’ list. First, I wrote to the editor of the “Images of the Past” column of the Society for Historical Archaeology Newsletter (Benjamin Pykles) proposing a write-up about Jackson Ward ‘Smokey’ Moore, Jr.  Moore, a retired archaeologist and a Native American Chippewa, excavated in Philadelphia in the 1960’s at the site of Benjamin Franklin’s mansion.

Jackson Ward 'Smokey' Moore restoring a historic dish

Jackson Ward ‘Smokey’ Moore, Jr. in a National Park Service Public Affairs Photo, circa 1960. (Independence National Historical Park Archives).

My offer to undertake this write-up required researching the Newsletter’s back issues to determine the type of information expected for the column and I spent an hour doing this prior to contacting Pykles to make sure I had the kind of information wanted. I then turned to some on-going background research I’ve been doing for a possible book project that the art photographer John Edward Dowell Jr. and I have talked about doing. This would be a book designed for the general reader which would feature photographs John took during the excavation of the President’s House archaeological site in Independence Park. These photographs document the archaeological excavation and its findings about slavery and freedom at the birth of the American nation and, in doing so, they help create African American history. They are also art pieces made by a Black artist. Beyond documenting new American history evidence and documenting new African American history evidence, his photographs are art pieces (re’ artifacts) of black visual art. Today I spent time researching and considering how these images therefore fit into the history of Black visual art. After reading a significant portion of N.I. Painter’s Creating Black Americans I realized that Dowell’s President’s House archaeological site photographs not only help make Black history more visible but also help make black art history more “visible” and that this is something we would likely want our manuscript to address given that the history of black visual art, like African American history, has been ignored, overlooked, and excluded in the canon.

View of the President's House by J. E. Dowell

ne of artist John E. Dowell’s photographs of the President’s House Site in Independence Park (right center, above the blue tarp-covered, back dirt pile). Dowell takes large format images (2 x 5 – 4 x 20 feet) which are then digitally scanned to produce highly detailed, deeply contextualized, images. His photographic style is known to convey life in the urban metropolis and he uses both unique perspective and lighting — namely pictures shot from high-rise vantage points that are taken at sun-up and sun-down.

Later on in the day I began typing up the meeting notes taken during the last monthly meeting of the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum (PAF). I am Secretary of that non-profit advocacy group and I post the meeting minutes on the PAF listserv. However, I am coordinating a local version of the Day of Archaeology for the PAF and I switched to work on this task. I am coordinating Philadelphia area Day of Archaeology contributions from local area archaeologists as well as members of the public during the period June 25th-June 28th. I will use these contributions to develop a new page of content for the PAF webpages at www.phillyarchaeology.orgthat will help demonstrate and explain what people in our area do with archaeology both at work and at play. I will also be forwarding the contributions to the coordinator of the international Day of Archaeology blogging project.

Philadelphia Archaeological Forum Logo

The logo of the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum, which is based on a commonly found historic dish.



Excavating an Archaeologist’s Desk

In honor of the Day of Archaeology, in which we endeavor to display the “wide variety of work our profession undertakes day-to-day across the globe” (Day of Archaeology 2012 [archaeologists cite things]), I’m throwing this together as an archaeologist who embraces three different roles within the profession, has worked across 10 states and 3 foreign countries (Mexico, Cuba, and the British Virgin Islands), and still hasn’t finished graduate school (much to the chagrin of many, including myself).
To convey this complex existence, I’m choosing an archaeological metaphor and excavating my desk. My workspace is, to no surprise, a reflection of the many things that occupy my time, pique my interest, and, I hope, lead to some insight into the pasts of the common people of history, a group that counts my ancestors, German and Welsh immigrants, among its numbers. I have imposed a classification system on the contents of my desk, by which I will unpack the contents and, in turn, my life as an archaeologist working in the SAU Research Station of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.
Books
Indiana Jones once told a student (while running from the KGB) “If you want to be a good archaeologist, you gotta get out of the library.” While I fully endorse this sentiment, you must realize that a lot of archaeological research involves bookwork. We read a lot about the work of our forebears as a way to help orient our own research, building on and modifying that which came before, and to avoid scientific dead-ends. The books on my desk include those oriented towards:
Dissertation: I am a doctoral candidate at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, the cradle of historical archaeology in the United States. I am trying to knock out a dissertation that will be the final step in my formalized education. This requires both books on epistemological issues relevant to the way I do research, such as Tim Murray’s Time and Archaeology or Anders Andrén’s Between Artifacts and Texts: Historical Archaeology in Global Perspective. Combining the clarity of thinking derived from such sources with the results of fieldwork are then combined with the insight derived from other books, such as D.W. Meinig’s The Shaping of America and Kenneth Lewis’s The American Frontier to produce a document that will add to the historiography of southwest Arkansas and the American West… and earn me a diploma (please please please).
Teaching: I just finished teaching two classes at Southern Arkansas University, one a survey of world archaeology and the other a criminal justice research methods class. The detritus from preparing the lectures, including Catherine Hakim’s Research Design and Henn et al’s A Critical Introduction to Social Research still haven’t left my desk. They’re actually checked out from the University of Arkansas (5 hours away), so the next time I get called up to the coordinating office in Fayetteville, I’ll drop them off.
Methods: We demonstrate our competence as archaeologists in the field, showing each other and the cosmos that we can dig properly (carefully and fast), map precisely, and document our findings appropriately. I’ve got Hester et al’s Field Methods in Archaeology on my book rack for reference, and the bookshelves surrounding my desk are full of books on aerial remote sensing and LiDAR research.
Conference preparation:  One of the high points of any archaeologist’s professional year is a conference. For me, that usually means the Society for Historical Archaeology meetings, though in my current position the Arkansas Archeological Society conference is important as well. I’d like to go to the Fields of Conflict conference this year, but Budapest is a bit out of the range of my wallet (my truck needs work…). This week, I’ve been pulling together a session for the SHA with colleagues and classmates at William & Mary, and I’ve been using the abstract books from past conferences and De Cunzo and Jameson’s Unlocking the Past to write abstracts and encourage the session to take form.
Fieldwork Papers
As mentioned above, proper note taking is an integral part of archaeology. Documentation of context is key. It separates us from looters, provides a basis for scientific work, and is a backstop for ideas and information that might otherwise get missed. If ideas were baseballs, an archaeological dig is like being a catcher behind home plate, facing a battalion of pitching machines. Even if you’re Johnny Bench, you can only hold so many of those baseballs at once. Paperwork is like having a canvas bag to put those ideaballs (I’m liking this metaphor less and less) in so you don’t lose them. On my desk may be found
–        A green 3-ring binder from Area B of the 2012 Arkansas Archeological Society Training Dig, directed by my boss/friend/mentor Jamie Brandon. See his post here on the dig itself. The stack of papers inside is probably 2 inches thick. All of that came from two weeks in the field. It’s a lot of stuff to sift through, but every sweat-stained word is archaeological gold.
–        Field books. I see three, though there may be more buried in there somewhere. These nifty little books, usually with yellow covers, have waxed pages, making them resilient in rainy or sweaty conditions, and are the place where we jot our notes about the project we’re working on. My field book from the Society Dig contains the shot log for our surveyor’s total station, so we have a redundant copy of all that information. I also have my field book for site visits done on behalf of the Survey. The notes I take in the field can then be transposed into either a site form, which I submit by way of report to the Survey, or included in subsequent publications on that research. Writing notes, particularly under hot or busy conditions, is one of the disciplines that archaeologists must learn. As with so many other things, when it comes to notes, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. In some positions, such as federal jobs, field books are part of the paperwork associated with a project and subject to subpoena and other legal strictures, so don’t draw too many cartoons about gophers in them.
Technology
The final big section of research-related equipment can be classed as technology.  Technological advancements in computing, remote sensing (Johnson 2005), data sharing (Kansa 2012), and numerous other fronts in the past twenty years is revolutionizing archaeology. The very fact of this blog post, the internet, and personal computing is evidence of this. Hallmarks of this advancement are, of course, found on my desk.
–        Computer: Shocking, I know. Nowadays, computers are everywhere and used in most pursuits, but mine is special, consarnit! First, it’s a laptop on a dock, which is necessary given the high mobility of many archaeologists. Since you can’t bring sites to you, we have to go to the sites, often for extended periods of time. We just finished two weeks at Historic Washington State Park, and in the last year, I’ve spent weeks at Toltec Mounds, Wallace’s Ferry, and Prairie Grove, all in Arkansas, as well as making numerous trips to the Coordinating Office in Fayetteville. My Army job was just like that, as was my time with the NPS, just that in the federal gigs, the projects are usually spread over greater areas. Laptops are essential in taking our computing power along with. Crucial to that computing power is the software held on the machine, particularly, in my case…
–        Geographic information system (GIS) software. I do a lot of work with spatial documentation and analysis, so I need mapping software. Being able to document the location of sites and areas within sites is an important part of the documentation process.
–          Scanner: I scan lots of things, primarily to make back-ups (hard to lose all copies of a document) and to share them with colleagues. Information sharing is a big part of the research process, as those who share your interests and expertise are not likely under the same roof as you. This is partly why conferences are so important. Information exchange stimulates, as Poirot liked to call them, “the little grey cells” and advance the discipline. Scanners help make that possible.
–        Telephone: Again, rather mundane, but an important part of my job. The Arkansas Archeological Survey does a lot of public outreach work for people of all walks of life from across the state. My station covers 11 counties in southwest Arkansas, and I get calls to come out and look at sites or assist colleagues at museums and parks in the area with public outreach work (come to the Red River Heritage Symposium at Historic Washington State Park on the 28th of July). Much of that begins with a phone call.
Other/Miscellaneous
As this all should indicate, I spend a LOT of time working, well more than 40 hours a week. As a result, I spend a lot of time in the office or in the field, and my desk contents reflect that.
–        Coffee mug and empty Coke/Diet Coke cans: I am a caffeine addict, plain and simple. I often get little more than 5 hours of sleep a night, and with as stacked of a to-do list as I have, it’s rather unavoidable. I can’t keep up with a friend, who runs on five cappuccinos a day, but there are times when I wonder how awesome that feels. I’m guessing “pretty.”
–        Mulerider Baseball cup: Our host institution and my erstwhile employer, Southern Arkansas University has a great baseball team, and the Muleriders just won the GAC Championship… again. Great job, guys! One of the ways I avoid having the pressures of all of these jobs and responsibilities burn me out is by having a mental outlet. For me, that’s baseball and hockey. We don’t get much of the latter down here. However, the baseball stadium is right across the parking lot from the office (really, I can see it from my desk), and those evening games are a nice break from the grind.
–        Yellow duct tape: Why yellow, you might ask? Because every station in the Survey system was allocated a color to mark their equipment with so that we could tell whose stuff is whose when we collaborate on projects. Our station’s color is yellow, Henderson State’s is orange, Toltec’s is blue, etc. etc. etc. Marking things as ours helps avoid confusion and trowel fights.
–        Field hat: I saved this for last because it’s one of my favorite things. For archaeologists, the attachments we form with crucial bits of equipment can be very strong. Many people still have their first trowels, and carefully guard them (think of a mitt for a baseball player). They’re things, but they’re things intimately tied up in the art of our discipline, and that makes them special. For me, there are three things that fall into this category. My trowel is the first, and I keep it distinct from all other trowels by wrapping the handle in hockey stick tape. The second is my Brunton pocket transit (think a compass on steroids with neon flames shooting down its hood), which is not only a very useful bit of equipment, it was also my father’s when he was doing his dissertation, and that carries great meaning to me. Finally, there is my field hat, a mid-crown cattleman with a 4” brim from Sunbody Hats in Houston, Texas. No matter how hot it gets, it’s always a little cooler under this thing, and it was a wedding gift from Jimmy Pryor, the owner of Sunbody and a childhood friend. It’s a link to home and my wife all at once, and it cheers me up when I’ve been out on a project for a couple of weeks and starting to get a little barn sour.
Now, having looked at these piles for a few hours while writing this, it may be time to do some cleaning…
References
Andrén, Anders
1997     Between Artifacts and Texts: Historical Archaeology in Global Perspective. New York: Plenum Press
Day of Archaeology
2012    About the Project. Electronic resource (http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/about-the-project/, accessed 29 June 2012).
De Cunzo, Lu Ann and John H. Jameson, Jr.
2005     Unlocking the Past: Celebrating Historical Archaeology in North America. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Hakim, Catherine
2000     Research Design: Successful Designs for Social and Economic Research. New York: Routledge.
Henn, Matt, Mark Weinstein, and Nick Foard
2006     A Critical Introduction to Social Research. Los Angeles: Sage.
Hester, Thomas R., Harry J. Shafer, and Kenneth L. Feder
2009     Field Methods in Archaeology. 7th edition. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Lewis, Kenneth
1984     The American Frontier: An Archaeological Study of Settlement Pattern and Process. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Meinig, D.W.
1988     The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 2: Continental America, 1800-1867. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Murray, Tim, editor
1999     Time and Archaeology. New York: Routledge.

A day with the UCL Institute of Archaeology Library: 29th July 2011

Books, books, books. Journals, conference proceedings, technical reports,  e-resources. And lots more.

Institute of Archaeology Library

Institute of Archaeology Library

You might wonder why a library wants to contribute to the Day of Archaeology and what our relevancy might be. But libraries, especially specialist libraries like the UCL Institute of Archaeology, are vital for archaeological research and have been part of archaeology since the beginning – the Society of Antiquaries Library was founded in 1751!  Researchers – students, academic staff, commercial researchers and even interested members of the general public – come to libraries to  find the factual information and the theoretical frameworks that drive and structure their work. It’s also here that the final published results of excavations and fieldwork – site reports – end up!

So if you want to find out a little bit more about what we do and what our customers use our facilities to research, read on!

 Our day…

My day starts at 8.30 a.m. I have an hour before the library opens and I usually take this time to open up, sort out the ‘reshelving’ (books used in the library or returned during the previous day) and have a look round for any problems, potential areas of work or to get ideas about how to improve our working space and collections. Ian, one of our shelvers, has been working on periodicals (journals) ‘weeding’ and created some extra space for both the periodicals and the

Egyptology shelves

Egyptology shelves

Edwards Egyptology Library.  I work through the Egyptology collection, assessing where we need to shift the books to leave space for growth – I estimate we have space for 3-5 years’ growth overall that can be distributed amongst the shelves. Most humanities and social sciences research libraries have space problems and we’re no exception. Because so many of our books and journals are used for research as well as teaching, we can’t send older material to Stores, as it needs to be on the shelves for researchers to consult. We’re trying to make space where possible by sending journals that are also available electronically to Stores – ‘weeding them’. Electronic access means that we can still provide access to key resources, but we don’t have to have them physically on the shelves.

Yu-ju Lin and Paul Majewski, two of our library assistants, arrive and the library opens at 9.30 a.m. Paul starts work on the virtual exhibitions page we’re building to accompany a Friends of the Petrie Museum exhibition that will be opening in the library in September.

Yu-Ju Lin

Yu-Ju and the missing book

Yu-ju goes out to look for missing books. In a library with over 70,000 books and 800 periodical sets (I’ve no idea how many actual individual volumes of these we have!) books can easily become mislaid. So shelf tidying and looking for books reported missing to us each week is a vital part of our work. It’s a good day – she finds an important missing book needed by the Ancient History department straight away.

I look through my emails and answer any enquiries. These can be from our current students and staff about their library records and our collections, but also from other researchers asking about our archive material (which is held by UCL Special Collections), staff and students from other universities asking about using our collections or from members of the public who just want answers to archaeological questions. There aren’t too many today, so I start working through our Accessions List (the list of new books that have arrived in the library that month) highlighting some for our Ancient World/Archaeology blog. Once I’ve done this, I continue some on-going work with free online journals. I have a long list of free electronic resources from AWOL (Ancient World Online) that I’m working through looking for digital duplicates of our paper resources. Where possible, we try to always provide digital access to resources – students and staff can get to the 24/7 and pressure on our paper copies – both in terms of use and preservation (general state of repair) – is lessened.

Ricky Estwick

Ricky Estwick

Ricky Estwick comes with our delivery of mail from elsewhere in UCL Library Services. Although we’re a library in our own right, we’re also part of UCL Library Services and our work flows and patterns fit in to the larger structure of the organisation. We don’t for example, do our own cataloguing. This is done in a central cataloguing unit to ensure standardisation across UCL’s library collections and so our material is in line with global information standards. Ricky brings books and periodicals that have arrived for us from different libraries, as well as materials from cataloguing, acquisitions and Stores.

Scott Stetkiewicz comes to the Issue Desk to ask about obtaining materials from Scottish excavations for his MSc dissertation on slag analysis. We have a look through the resources available in the library and online through English Heritage, the Archaeological Data Service and Heritage Gateway.

Stuart Brookes comes in to borrow books for his project ‘landscapes of governance: assembly sites in England, 5th – 11th centuries’.  (more…)

Archaeology in Annapolis: Every Day is a Day of Archaeology

Student volunteers Ryan and Bill wash artifacts collected from Annapolis, Maryland. Source: Kate Deeley

Student volunteers Ryan and Bill wash artifacts collected from Annapolis, Maryland. Source: Kate Deeley

It is the last day of summer lab work for the Archaeology in Annapolis project. Out of the sun of the field and into the air conditioning, volunteer undergraduate students Bill and Ryan wash the artifacts gathered from this season’s efforts. Toothbrushes in hand, they dust off the delicate or brittle artifacts made of bone or iron and scrub the hardier finds with water. Free from dirt, the ceramics and glass pieces sometimes reveal maker’s marks and unseen decorations. These features will be eventually cataloged and aid in the analysis of the site as they can provide relative dates for the levels in which they were found. Under the guidance of graduate student Kate Deeley, the volunteers learn the basics of laboratory methods, while she and the other graduate students work on their own research—independent but each related to the Archaeology in Annapolis collective.

This Summer’s Work

Artifacts from the Pinkney House in Annapolis lay out to dry on screens. Source: Kate Deeley.

Artifacts from the Pinkney House in Annapolis lay out to dry on screens. Source: Kate Deeley.

Archaeology in Annapolis is a 30-year project, run out of the University of Maryland, College Park. Under the direction of Dr. Mark Leone, a staff of graduate students—Jocelyn Knauf, Amanda Tang, Kate Deeley, Benjamin Skolnik, and Beth Pruitt—manages annual field schools and lab work, which contribute to their individual dissertation research. In the summer, the field school spends three weeks in urban Annapolis, Maryland and three weeks at the Wye House plantation on the Eastern Shore. As Archaeology in Annapolis learns about the lives of past people, we strive to explore the stories of those whose names haven’t always made it into the history books, including enslaved African Americans and working class individuals.
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A deskbound archaeologist at work…

I’m Joe Flatman and I have two jobs in archaeology – I’m both a county archaeologist and a university lecturer in archaeology, working part-time between both in theory, full-time in both in reality. So this ‘Day of Archaeology’ is a standard very long one for me – a solid 12+ hours a day split between both jobs is not unusual, sometimes it is hard to see where one ends and the other begins.

I began today at 0700 when I dealt with the first of my work emails over breakfast (with a speedy sift through Facebook, Twitter and the Guardian for good measure – all increasingly ‘work’ related). After commuting into one of my two offices (a 30 minute bus ride), I have then spent the rest of the morning so far (its now 1100) doing various admin to do with my two jobs – a mixture of emails replied to and sent relating to my local government job and some book editing relating to my university job. This editing will take place all day long until at 1800 I go off to an evening work meeting, grabbing a meal on route. With luck I’ll finally get home about 2200 and have a beer while watching some dumb TV show with my wife to unwind. What I do is not exactly the kind of work I expected to be doing when I started out in archaeology and it doesn’t fit the popular image of archaeology either – I’m working in an office in central London wearing smart clothes, not out on an archaeological site in some exotic location. But my work is interesting and challenging all the same, which is what I am after, and importantly I feel that i make a difference: my two jobs mean that I get to tell a lot of people about archaeology and also get to visit and help protect a lot of sites.

The majority of today will be spent quietly working on editing two different books, a side of archaeological work that many people are not aware of. These books are important for both of my jobs – they are about communicating archaeology and advising people how they can become more involved in archaeology themselves. Those two tasks are some of the most important things anyone in my position can do. If people don’t have the opportunity to learn more about and become more involved in archaeology, then we as a discipline are failing.

The first book I am working on today is an edited volume entitled ‘Archaeology in Society: It’s Contemporary Relevance’. I am co-editing it with an old friend, another archaeologist based in the USA. The book has 21 chapters, 30 authors and over 300 pages – it is huge! The book is all about how archaeology plays a role in modern society – how archaeological data is used by people from all walks of life, how archaeologists work in different sectors of society and contribute to the economy, and how archaeology can help us make a better and fairer world. The book originated from a conference held back in 2007 – five years later the books is now very nearly done, we’re just checking the final set of ‘proofs’, the last draft of the book before it gets sent off to be printed. This is our last chance to check that the spelling and grammar are correct, the pages properly laid out, and so on. It is an intimidating thing to do – the next time we see this book it will be on the shelves of a bookshop for sale, so we have to get things absolutely right now.

The second book I am working on today is a much shorter introductory guide to archaeology. This book is ‘only’ 50,000 words long and I have been commissioned to write it by a publisher. I have spent the last 18 months slowly working on it off-and-on, and in two days from now I have agreed to submit a complete draft of the book to the publisher – a rough version of the whole book. The book is designed to be an introductory text for anyone interested in archaeology, explaining what archaeology is and how archaeological work is undertaken. It has been really fun explaining the entire practice of archaeology in interesting and accessible terms, choosing examples from around the world to illustrate my points. But it will also be a relief to send the book off to the publisher! That will only be the start of a whole new cycle though: the book will then have to be checked by an editor at the publisher for mistakes, ‘peer reviewed’ (read by another archaeologist who will judge its writing and data and make suggestions for improvements) and revised in the light of these peoples’ comments. Then I’ll have to arrange images for the book and also work with the publisher’s art department on its layout and format. Then the book will be ‘typeset’ – its pages laid out; and then finally I’ll be able to check these pages for errors before the book is finally printed and ready for sale. so my submission of a draft on Monday is merely the start of another 12 months at least of further work.