Academic Archaeology with Kids

On this day of archaeology, I find myself not doing much archaeology.  The kind amongst you would say I’m on maternity leave.  The reality is that I’m unemployed.

Over a year ago, I completed my PhD in the Near Eastern Neolithic at the University of Liverpool and moved back home to Canada.  As I was unable to find an academic job, I have spent the year publishing articles from my thesis, and being a mom.

Today, on the day of archaeology, I have spent most of the day running around after my 3.5 year old, and my 5 month old.  We have been swimming, played ‘pretend’ and generally done everything and anything.  When my husband gets home from work, he entertains the kids, and I escape to the ‘closet office’, where I can work for an hour undisturbed.

Working undisturbed

Working undisturbed

I wish I were in the field with many of my colleagues, but the reality is that it is hard for mother’s to make it to field seasons sustainably.  It takes so much time and resources to organise childcare that I was unable to go to Boncuklu Höyük, Turkey this year. Maybe next year!

Toddler with a Konya plain Kangal sheepdog

Toddler with a Konya plain Kangal sheepdog

In the meantime, I work to publish my research.  I examined the physical reality of occupying a series of structures found at a number of Near Eastern Neolithic sites.  These structures do not appear to be houses, and are often much larger the other structures, and have unusual features.  The most famous of these are the pillared buildings at Göbekli Tepe, and the tower at Jericho.  I examined these structures to determine how they may have been used and how they might have mitigated problems that were emerging in the Neolithic as people settled in more permanent villages.

Someday, I hope someone will pay me to do research and take my children into the field.  Until then, I will play Dr. Mom for a bit longer, and hope that someday soon I can become a professional archaeologist in reality

Dr. Alexis McBride

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