Oaxaca

Writing! Reports, Articles, Chapters, and the Dissertation

What many new students to archaeology may not realize is that doing archaeology means doing a lot of reporting. And this week, for me, that means doing a lot of writing and writing related activities. I’m a PhD candidate at Indiana University and conducted my dissertation research as part of the Proyecto Arqueológico Nejapa/Tavela based in Oaxaca, Mexico directed by Dr. Stacie King.

Eli’s desk is all set up and ready for her to work.

Eli’s desk is all set up and ready for her to work.

Monday and Tuesday, my friend and colleague Meghan and I met up at my office in order to motivate each other to do some dissertation writing. Meghan was comparing her ceramic assemblages to other sites by combing through older dissertations and data tables. I was reading book chapters and putting those citations into the appropriate places in my dissertation.  On Tuesday afternoon, I took advantage of my second computer monitor to watch the World Cup match while I worked on digitizing an excavation drawing.

Yesterday, my co-authors and I received good news that our article was going to be published very soon but that the editors wanted us to add additional images. So I took the time to select the appropriate photographs and make nice black/white versions of them. I was also working cross state and national lines with my adviser and colleague on a proposal for an XRF study (X-ray fluorescence, a non destructive form of chemical analysis) of obsidian collected during our field work in 2013. (I’m here in Indiana, my colleague Andy is in Tennessee, and my adviser Stacie is in Oaxaca!)

A fabulous image created this week of an architectural plan of a site included in my dissertation.

A fabulous image created this week of an architectural plan of a site included in my dissertation.

Writing/reporting are important aspects of the archaeological process and archaeologists are ethically compelled to disseminate their research and findings to a wide audience through reports, articles, and presentations. And though I know the writing is important, I’m still stealing the occasional wistful glance out the window and daydreaming about using my trowel.