field work

A #DayofArchaeology unlike any other

Since 1989 I’ve participated in field work almost every summer in the eastern Mediterranean, but this summer is different. My day of archaeology 2015 was unlike any other day I’ve experienced in archaeology. Instead of walking transects and digging shovels tests with the Galilee Prehistory Project . I spent the day in Chicago, out of the sun, applying chemotherapy cream to my face – 20+ years of working outside take a toll even if you are vigilant about wearing a hat, sunscreen, and other protective clothing. Ask anyone, I am famous (infamous) for badgering people about hats (and drinking water) – everyone wears a hat in and out of the field or I nag, a lot. In February I had a cancerous tumor removed from my nose (involved a large needle, months of hello kitty bandages, and beko wearing.

Excised timor site - missing from the image, they large needle . . .

Excised timor site – missing from the image, they large needle . . .

In follow up appointments the dermatologist decided that I was a likely candidate for future tumors and recommended a chemo field therapy for my face. After negotiating a later start date for the chemo treatment.

Big old bandage after tumor surgery.

Big old bandage after tumor surgery.

I went to Jordan for an abbreviated field season and 2 weeks in Jerusalem Following the Pots then I flew home.

Attractive hello kitty bandage was my friend for months, post tumor surgery.

Attractive hello kitty bandage was my friend for months, post tumor surgery.

For last 10 days every evening I put the chemo cream on my face – the precancerous areas are now starting to erupt as the chemo kills the mutant cells. It stings, some of the eruptions are painful, and I am experiencing some of the common side effects from the chemo, generally not much fun.

Killing those pre-cancerous cells! Chemo eruptions after 10 days of treatment.

Killing those pre-cancerous cells! Chemo eruptions after 10 days of treatment.

I have a great support network here and afar checking in and keeping tabs. I know that many of my archaeological pals are thinking “will that be me?” – good I hope it encourages people to be more proactive about sun protection. If you can see your shadow you should be wearing a broad spectrum (zinc/titanium based) sunscreen and you should be wearing a hat. Fours more days of treatment this round, 2 weeks off and another 2 weeks on and then a follow-up with the dermatologists, my summer in the field. This is not a sympathy generating post, I consider this post for the day of archaeology 2015 a public service announcement: wear a hat, wear sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and get a beko (I just know they will become the new archaeological fashion fad, all of the cool kids are wearing them).

Don't leave home without your fashionable Beko.

Don’t leave home without your fashionable Beko.