Germany

My day as archaeological researcher and as archaeological educator

[Für die deutsche Übersetzung bitte nach unten scrollen]

Hello, I am Carmen and I working as an archaeologist in Germany.

When I got registered for #dayofarchaeology I actually did planned to tell you something about my education program ErlebnisArchaeologie, all around re-experienced history and archaeology. But meanwhile unfortunately it showed up, that the new two-days-course about paper and writing will not come into being. And therefore I don’t have anything to prepare for this and as a consequence I can’t write about that.

But even though those education programs for sure are a matter of heart for me, it’s not my only area of work in archaeology. In fact at the moment I still earn most of my money as a researcher in regular field work. I also do complementation work for an excavation that ended some weeks ago, and that’s what I’m working on today.Fotor_146982390776327_wm

This means, that I have to check all the written and graphic documentation for the project. For example, I assess each drawing to ensure it includes the feature number, measuring point(s), orientation/north point and scale. In some case there is also additional information like strata numbers needed. I also double-check that every feature at the site has been described. I check hundreds of lists to ensure every feature and every step was documented correctly. If anything is missing, I try to complete information by comparing existing data: the site plan drawing, the photographic records, the daily field notes, and every existing entry about that specific feature in the aforementioned hundreds of lists. In the end I usually find the missing information in another location. And if it really can’t be found, I make a note in the margin.Fotor_146982411705960_wm

What archaeologists aim for with this kind of work is to documentat the site as thoroughly as is possible. This is a necessary labour because archaeology always destroys its original sources, and also because in many cases the excavator himself is not doing the final analysis for the project, or the same sitw is re-explored by a different researcher some years after. I have been working on these final records checks for the last few days. But just today I finished!

For the rest of the day, I worked on an archaeological education program about what it is like to be an archaeologist. I have two programs thar I call “To be an archaeologist once”. During this half-day program, children “excavate” a prepared area in a sandbox, them try to assemble their finds, maybe do some conservation and restoration.

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To help the children along, I prepare the artifacts for the sandbox dig such that I know some will fit back together, and tjat is what I will do this afternoon: I will take flowerpots and carefully break them. I use the age of the participants to choose how many pieces I break the pots into: younger kids will find a pot shattered maybe only in 3 or 4 parts, older ones can handle a puzzle with up to 7 or 8 parts. And of course I always have also to think about how many of the pieces should be missing, because in reality we do not find complete vessels that often, do we? I plan the mock dig so every child will find a “feature” denoted with her or his name, containing shards of an incomplete pot. The children then have an assembly competition which will hopefully be doable because of the age-appropriate setup.DSC_3619_wm_2016To know more about me and my work please have a look to http://www.erlebnisarchaeologie-bayern.de/

 

[German/Deutsch]

Mein Tag als Archäologin in der Feldforschung und als Museumspädagogin

Hallo, meine Name ist Carmen und ich bin als Archäologin in Deutschland tätig.

Als ich für #dayofarchaeology registrierte, plante ich eigentlich etwas über meine Bildungsprogramme mit der ErlebnisArchäologie rund um erlebbare Geschichte und Archäologie zu berichten. Vor allem ein neu entwickeltes Programm rund um das Thema Papier und Schrift sollte Inhalt sein. Aber in der Zwischenzeit ist es leider so, dass dieser neue Zwei-Tage-Kurs nicht zustande kommen wird. Und deshalb brauche ich hierfür keine abschließenden Vorbereitungen treffen und kann daher auch nicht darüber berichten.

Aber auch wenn diese Bildungsprogramme sicher eine Herzensangelegenheit für mich sind, sie stellen nicht mein einziges Betätigungsfeld in der Archäologie dar. In der Tat erwirtschafte ich im Moment den Großteil meines Auskommens immer noch mit klassischer Feldarbeit. Und heute um genau zu sein mit der Abschlussarbeiten für eine Ausgrabung, die vor einigen Wochen endete.Fotor_146982390776327_wm

Das bedeutet, dass ich die komplette schriftliche und zeichnerische Dokumentation überprüfe. Zum Beispiel überprüfe ich jede Zeichnung auf Vollständigkeit: dies bedeutet im Regelfall, dass zumindest Angaben zur Befundnummer, Meßpunkten, Orientierung/Nordung und Maßstab vorhanden sein müssen. In einigen Fällen werden auch zusätzliche Informationen wie schichtnummern benötigt. Ich kontrolliere auch, ob jeder Befund beschrieben wurde. Und überprüfe gefühlte Hunderte von Listen, ob jeder Befund und jeder Arbeitsschritt korrekt dokumentiert wurden.

Falls etwas fehlt versuche ich Informationen zu vervollständigen, indem ich vorhandene Daten vergleiche: ich werfe einen Blick auf den Gesamtplan und die fotografischen Aufzeichnungen, ich überprüfe das Grabungstagebuch und jeden vorhandenen Eintrag zu diesem Befund in in den Querverweislisten. Am Ende findet sich so normalerweise die fehlende Information in einem anderen Zusammenhang. Und wenn es sich wirklich nicht rekonstruieren lässt, dann wird auch das in einer Randnotiz erwähnt.Fotor_146982411705960_wm

Archäologen bezwecken mit dieser Sisyphusarbeit, eine möglichst vollständige Dokumentation zu erhalten. Dies ist eine wirklich notwendig, weil Archäologie immer die ursprünglichen Quellen zerstört und auch weil in vielen Fällen nicht der Ausgräber selbst ist die endgültige Analyse vornimmt bzw. eine Ausgrabung auch zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt neu betrachtet werden kann.

Und deshalb habe ich diese Abschlussprüfungen in den die letzten Tagen durchgeführt. Aber gerade bin ich damit fertig geworden. Und so kann ich doch noch ein wenig von meiner anderen Seite der Arbeit als Archäologin im Bereich Museumspädagogik berichten:

Denn in der Tat hatte ich in der kommenden Woche nicht nur das Programm zu Papier und Schrift auf dem Plan stehen. Ich halte auch zwei Mal „Einmal Archäologe sein“ ab. Während dieser Halbtagesveranstaltung können Kinder einmal selber in einer vorbereitete Fläche, z.B. in einem Sandkasten, “ausgraben”. Danach versuchen sie, ihre Fundstücke zusammenzusetzen und diese dann auch zu restaurieren.Fotor_146982459795758_wm

Aber damit sie dies alles tun können, muss ich natürlich auch sicherstellen, dass es überhaupt Fundstücke gibt. Und das ist, was ich nun in der zweiten Hälfte des Tages tue: Ich nehme Blumentöpfe und zerschlage sie sorgsam. Es ist tatsächlich sehr wichtig, sie nicht nur in irgendeiner Weise zu zerteilen. Ich habe immer einen Blick auf das Alter der Teilnehmer. Für jüngere Kinder wird der Topf vielleicht nur in 3 oder 4 Teile zerscherbt, ältere erhalten ein Puzzle mit bis zu 7 oder 8 Teilen. Und natürlich muss ich auch immer die fehlenden Stücke mit einplanen, denn in Wirklichkeit finden wir ja auch nicht allzu oft komplette Gefäße. So werden dann am Dienstag alle Kinder einen „Befund“ vorfinden, der nicht durchnummeriert ist, sondern mit ihrem oder seinen Namen gekennzeichnet wurde. Und im Inneren werden Scherben eines unvollständigen Topfs sein, dessen Zusammensetzen und Ergänzen nach Möglichkeit den altersgerechten Fähigkeiten entsprechen.DSC_3619_wm_2016

Wenn ihr noch mehr über mich und meine Arbeit wissen wollt, schaut doch mal bei mir auf der Homepage vorbei http://www.erlebnisarchaeologie-bayern.de/

Digital Magic for Magical Texts

It has been a grey damp day here in London. Glad to be tucked in working from home with the cat on my lap and a fresh pot of the black stuff.  I have been beavering away on a pile of image data for Magica Levantina, a University of Cologne project on magical texts from the ancient Near East.  Although I am a Research Associate at the Cologne Center for eHumanities, I have spent a good portion of my time working in museum collections far beyond Cologne, including the Princeton, Philadelphia, Paris, Naples, and soon (all being well) Jerusalem. But for now I have been working at the British Museum, which happily is not far from home and is giving me a bit of a break from the travel.

Gypsum tablet

Part of a gypsum tablet with a magical Greek inscription from Amathus, Cyprus (1891,0418.50 + 59,  © Trustees of the British Museum).

This week I have been conducting Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) on inscribed tablets fragments in the Department of Greece and Rome. The tablet fragments are made of selenite (gypsum), and were found at  the site of Amathus and date to between 100 CE-300 CE.

The almost complete tablet above bears a curse written in alphabetic Greek. However, the technique used to make the inscription, combined with its small size and the translucence of the material, make it very challenging to read or discern other potentially significant physical features.

RTI specular enhancement detail of Greek inscribed selenite tablet from Amathus, Cyprus. (1891,0418.50 + 59, Kathryn E. Piquette, courtesy Trustees of the British Museum)

Detail from the upper left of the above, visualised using the RTI specular enhancement mode  (1891,0418.50 + 59, Kathryn E. Piquette, courtesy Trustees of the British Museum)

BM staff very kindly took the tablet off display* yesterday so I could image it using RTI. The  detail to the right does not really do justice to the results I processed today since it is not possible in this context to have the relighting and other functionality of the RTIViewer. Nevertheless, the text is now vastly more readable.

Thanks to the magic of modern tablets, this ancient one, or at least its visual surrogate, is currently making its way through the ether to my colleagues in Cologne.

* The tablet was put promptly back on display today I am told (Room G72/2), so do pop down to the British Museum and take a closer look.

Space and identity research in Berlin

Topoi House Dahlem

Topoi Haus Dahlem. Photo: Bernd Wannenmacher / FU.

I am a lecturer in Roman Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, but today I’m in the midst of a short research visit to the Topoi Excellence Cluster at Freie Universität Berlin. Topoi is a large research cluster dedicated to the study of space and knowledge in antiquity, and has a full programme of workshops and meetings which bring together researchers from many disciplines and institutions. I’m here as a Senior Fellow for a month, working with Dr Kerstin Hofmann and colleagues in the key topic group ‘Identities: space and knowledge related identification’. In addition to getting on with my own research on Roman Britain, it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to discuss various issues in the archaeology of identity with scholars based here. While there are many points of contact, there are also of course differences in the traditions of study into past identity in the UK/US and Germany, and it’s really interesting to learn more about these. So today is mainly a mix of research and discussion in the Topoi House in Dahlem, as well as keeping in touch with my postgraduate students in London. I should also say that it’s quite exciting to be in Germany when the national team is doing rather well in a certain global sports tournament!

Rescue Excavation at Rochlitz Castle

June 29, 2012 – Welcome to my day.

My Name is Marcel Dallinger. I got my Magister degree in classical archaeology at Leipzig University in November 2011.

Currently I am working on an excavation in the castle of Rochlitz executed by the State Office for Archaeology Saxony.

Rochlitz itself is a medium-sized town in Saxony/ Germany.

My day starts at 6 a.m. in Sörnzig. After getting up and doing all the things that have to be done in the morning my way leads me to Rochlitz Castle which is approximately 3km away. Fortunately I own a little motorbike so the ride is rather a little trip through fields than a typical commute.

Work starts at 7am. The excavation team meets in our lunchroom. It is luckily the same room where all our equipment is stored therefore we have short distances to everything we need.

The excavation we are working on is a ‘rescue excavation’. The castle yard is about to be renewed completely. This includes new pipes for waste water, fresh water, rain water, earth-wires and all power supply lines. Finally the whole castle yard will get a new cobbled paving.

Thus our task is to excavate all parts of the castle yard which had not been excavated before- and this is approximately 70%. Most of them dates from the late Middle Ages.

The salvage of findings, their documentation and to save them from the dredger is exactly what we are doing there. But I have to say that all the other workers and especially the operator of the dredgers are very friendly and take care of us and the work we are doing. The normal dig goes on with well-known trowels. For measuring we use a tachymeter connected to AutoCad. Because of our lack of time we also do photogrammetrie. Sometimes it is better to draw archaeological records but this needs time that we don’t have. We have our morning break around 9am. After recharging our batteries we keep on revealing the secrets of history from the ground. Of course not every day we make great findings but thanks to the still opened castle museum there is a lot of public business. One day we were surprised by a visit of a television crew. But they were doing a documentary about the new exhibition in the museum so we could watch them filming and interviewing while continuing our work.

The last period of our day is from lunch break at 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. . At the end of our day we give ourselves a pat on the back for another great and interesting day working in the job with the most public Interest: archaeology.


A Day in Monrepos

My name is Sonja Grimm and I’m an Archaeologist in MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution (Neuwied, Germany).

This was my Day of Archaeology 2012:

It’s graphs day today! Helped out a Dutch colleague with a map of the
distribution of the Havelte Group (a northern European facies in the
Weichselian Lateglacial) and made some graphs for the material chapter of
my dissertation. Maybe, I’ll start my first trials with QuantumGIS with
some maps later today.

A Day in Monrepos-Archaeological Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution

I’m an archaeologist in Monrepos – Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution. Our Centre is located in Neuwied in Germany -between Frankfurt and Cologne. As mentioned above we are interested in everything related with the Ice Age. We consist in a group of scientists, volunteers, students and technical employeers.

Our building is an old castle that is still in the renovation period. Thats the reason why our Museum is closed since November 2010.

Since last year my daily work was in the museum or museum related. I did the guide tours for kids and adults. At the moment I’m doing the public relation work, mostly the Social Media like Facebook, Twitter and Co, beside other organisational things.

I think Public Relation is very important in the archaeological fields. So I’m really happy about the Archaeological Day 2012. If we are only doing our researches the rest of the world will not be interested what we are doing and we don’t get their support and they will not understand why our work is important for them. So we need more “mediators” between Archaeologists and the Public.

Rathnadrinna Research Excavation, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

This year marks the first season of excavation on Rathnadrinna Fort, funded by the Royal Irish Academy of Ireland. Rathnadrinna Fort is a trivallate, circular hilltop enclosure situated in Lalor’s-Lot townland, 3.33km south-southeast of the Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.  The hilltop affords the fort extensive views across the adjacent low lying land and is inter-visible with a number of high-status forts surrounding the Rock of Cashel, to the north. Rathnadrinna Fort is the largest and best preserved of Cashel’s forts, and research here presents an ideal opportunity to learn more about the evolution and function of such sites in a royal landscape.

After three weeks digging we have uncovered a stone-lined corn-drying kiln outside the fort, the excavation of the fort ditches is underway and these are proving to be substantial in nature. We have revealed the old ground surface beneath portions of the fort banks and the excavation of the fort interior is revealing many interesting features. Finds to date include worked flints, an unidentified ferrous object from the fill of the kiln, and an interesting assemblage of late post medieval finds from a dumping episode outside the fort bank.

Our international team of volunteers includes diggers from Brazil, USA, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, England and Ireland. We have facilitated local primary school visits where the children were able be archaeologists for a day, meet the diggers and see our discoveries. For the Day of Archaeology Rowan Lacey gave a display of flint knapping, James Bonsall did a Magnetometer Survey over our kiln, Liudas Juodzbalys showed us a DVD of his experimental iron working, we had a game of hurling, the site director bought everyone a bag of the finest Morelli’s chips and Mickaela from San Paulo made a cheese fondue! Follow us on www.facebook.com/rathnadrinna

Exploring Petra’s Diversity

This year’s Day of Archaeology falls during the first half of the field season of the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP). Managed by the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, BUPAP is a multi-disciplinary research project that hopes to understand the development of Petra and its surrounding landscapes diachronically, both through regional survey and excavation at individual sites.

The Petra Area and Wadi Silaysil Survey in action (Photo by Linda Gosner).

Portrayals of Petra have historically focused on the monumental city- images of the Siq, the royal tombs, the Treasury, and the Great Temple imbedded into popular culture through the likes of Indiana Jones and countless other representations. BUPAP looks to build upon this past research and public interest, to contextualize our understanding of Petra’s diversity, and to ask new questions of the city and its surroundings including periods and places that have generally received little academic attention. Our fieldwork is split into four interrelated projects: the Petra Upper Market Area (PUMA) involves excavation, geophysical survey, and architectural studies in the city center; the Petra Area and Wadi Silaysil Survey (PAWS) is an intensive and systematic regional survey focused on the area north of the city; the Bayda Islamic Village (BIV) features excavation and mapping of an Islamic settlement; and the Petra Routes Project (PRP) investigates local and regional communication and travel. These are four diverse and exciting projects which we hope will bring some new ideas to the study of the city.

Our excavation team hard at work.

The diversity of both the site and the project is also represented in our project team. We’re lucky to work with an international group of established scholars, graduate students, and professional architects from the US, Jordan, Malta, Canada, Italy, Germany, Colombia, and Macedonia. We also rely on strong ties to the local community to understand the site in both its ancient and modern context. Besides the obvious academic benefits of such a broad range of contributors, our international team also makes for a lively and enjoyable workday and dig house.

Since Friday is our day off, we don’t have much to report from site today- you can check out posts by our team members Andy Dufton or Allison Mickel to learn more about what our team gets up to during the break. You can also check in at our Facebook page if you’re interested in learning more about the project, or keeping up with our latest finds and updates.

Archaeological Publication and Linked Data

Earlier this month I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the first Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI or #lawdi on Twitter) at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) in New York City, the brainchild of Sebastian Heath, Tom Elliott, and John Muccigrosso. I presented on the current state of archaeological publishing of my organization, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). The best part about the conference, though, was listening to new friends and colleagues speak about the many aspects of linked data, open source, and open access the archaeology of the Ancient World. As the ASCSA’s Director of Publications, I am beginning to put into practice what was discussed at LAWDI, and look forward to continuing to contribute.

Here’s what’s been done so far:

1. Open Access Hesperia. Our journal, Hesperia, is currently housed on JSTOR. We have a Content Sharing Agreement with JSTOR, however, which allows us to share our content from beyond the 3-year moving wall. This means that in July 2012 individual readers who need to search for and download any/all Hesperia articles published from 1932-2009 will be able to do so from the ASCSA’s website for free. The PDF articles can be read on any device that can open PDFs, and they can be used without Internet access post-download. There is no DRM. I alpha-tested the behind-the-scenes upload utility yesterday with reasonable success. I need to do a batch name-change on the PDFs and then load those onto our webserver (the test links currently point to JSTOR, but this will change in July). It is my hope that I can find just over $1M with which I can endow the journal at which point I can make open access to it complete and eternal.

2. Open Bibliography on Zotero. After the LAWDI meetings, I returned to Princeton to map out what I could begin to do with the concept of linking content for the ancient world. I had briefly used Zotero to read articles posted by Tom Elliott on Twitter, but I’d never gotten into the platform as a contributor of content. Since then, I have created a Zotero group for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in which I have now shared publicly the enter bibliography of 1,500+ Hesperia articles and about 150 (or 230+) monographs. I need to go through (and encourage others to help with this) and edit the book entries and add abstracts to earlier Hesperia articles. This will take time, but it’s a good start.

3. Linking in eBooks. June saw the publication of our latest printed monograph, Isthmia: The Roman and Byzantine Graves and Human Remains (Isthmia IX), by Joseph L. Rife. I spent yesterday and will spend today creating links in the PDF eBook. My previous attempts at linking were restricted to links between text, note, table, and image. I have done this in Isthmia IX, tedium made bearable through listening to hardcore punk, gangsta rap, and the Euro 2012 match between Germany and Italy. This is only the first step. The next is to attempt to create dynamic, outward-looking links from every bibliographic citation and every footnote to actual articles and books on the Internet. This could be insane and/or impossible, but I’m going to try. I am also going to attempt to link each inventoried object as presented on the ASCSA’s open access website for archaeological data, ascsa.net. Lastly, I’m going to try to link from places mentioned in Rife’s book to records in Pleiades. Wish me luck.

The above is what I’m doing now and in July, and I’m looking forward to sharing/linking with other archaeologists worldwide on these and future projects.

Andrew Reinhard, Director of Publications, ASCSA

Half a Day in the Life of an Archaeologist

Ok, my first ever participation at the Day of Archaeology, so maybe I should introduce what I am doing as an archaeologist first.

Maybe I am an example of a not-so-very-typical archaeologist – at least in my current project. I am a Prehistorian, specialized in landscape archaeology and the Early Iron Age in Middle Europe but at the moment I am leading a large European project. ArchaeoLandscapes Europe (http://www.archaeolandscapes.eu) is dealing with existing inequalities in the use and expertise of various remote sensing methods and techniques in Europe, including Aerial Archaeology, Satellite Imagery, LiDAR/Airborne Laserscanning and Geophysics (though some might argue that Geophysics is not that much ‘remote’).

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