I still don't know who I am... let's say a public archaeologist trying to work in Spain.

Such a boring life… or not, just normal

When I wrote last year’s post I had the feeling that my life was not as exciting as others. This year I kind of confirm it, but at least, once again, I think I’ve been doing different, normal stuff. So, what was my day today?

I still keep my company open, but one month ago I had to leave the office to adjust expenses. Today is the day I finished moving! I now have internet again and air conditioning (at home, my new office for the moment). For that, I was the whole morning with the technician talking about all the shit in the world… even the world of archaeology.


Furniture from former JAS Arqueología’s office stored in my village…


I also had to attend a couple of clients from the editorial and run to my parents’ home to prepare lunch and take care of my grandad. Meanwhile, my partners from AMTTA (contribution soon online too) were presenting out latest project; ‘Combates por la Historia’ (Combats for History), to show and socialize hidden and destroyed heritage in Madrid through different routes, the first one, Campus de Batalla (Battle Campus) about the Civil War front in Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid.

Anyway, the afternoon was a bit more archaeological… After lunch I continued editing the next book from my editorial, the second by Riccardo Frigoli. A great essay on archaeology, interpretation and communication. But it was not for long, as I had to attend the second event with AMTTA, the general annual meeting of Madrid Ciudadanía y Patrimonio, an association we joined to continue fighting for heritage. And after that a round table about Heritage and the Crisis.


During the round table


The round table was quite interesting, as we mostly talked about two important issues:

-The crisis: Not only economic, but moral. How besides the economic difficulties, heritage was always in the middle of a general disinterest that was harmful for heritage.

-The new law projected in Madrid for Historical Heritage: Suddenly, maybe due to the possibility of hosting Eurovegas, the regional government has written a draft for a new law that is negligent and goes against any principle we might share as professionals.
[If fluent in Spanish, see the text and our comments here]

Now I came back home, I had some chinese for dinner and am writing this. The day is over and this time I’m not traveling anywhere soon, so every day this week will be pretty similar, pretty boring.

btw I’m Jaime Almansa-Sánchez


The private life of Jaime… a public archaeologist

Some months ago, when #dayofarch came up, I was wondering why this experience was happening a friday in July. Then, I realized that my life is not ‘normal’ and the FBA and summer field seasons where enough to have a good view.

Madrid (Spain) 29th July 2011 – The private life of Jaime…

Today I woke up as usual, around 7:30. Had a quick breakfast, drove my mom to work and went to the gym a bit. With this temperature it is impossible to run outside even in the morning. Shower, second breakfast and time to go to the office.

I am supposed to work in the commercial field. Created my own company last year as a kind of economical suicide, but I’m still alive. Said this, I haven’t been in the field since 2009. I miss it, but getting a contract nowadays is becoming impossible with the climate of crisis and savage competence with prices. It was much more easier when I worked for others. Instead I try to promote and practice Public Archaeology and that is probably the hardest challenge I have taken. A lot of project planning and ‘selling’ in the private sector (that should be managed publicly), and more comforts in Ethiopia than at home.

As a good friday, today I only had 3 hours to do stuff and I am having a lot of stuff to do. I lack time, although I waste a lot…

My list for this week still said ‘ArchPP’ (an article for Archaeologies I have to rewrite in a couple of weeks), ‘Docs Etiopía’ (preparing all documents I have to take to Ethiopia next week), ‘Correo ChC’ (sending emails to the contributors of a book I’m coordinating), ‘Web HCIII’ (continue preparing a web site I’m working with), ‘Enviar libros’ (mailing a couple of parcels with books I sold). 3 out of 5 remain there…

I run to the post office (5 minutes from the office) and spent around 30 minutes reading and answering emails. The pity is that people ask for lots of things, but never offering paid stuff… I should start having fees for ‘consultancy’. The problem of having the Internet is that while/after emailing, Facebook, Twitter and today, this page took a good time from these hours. So, right before lunch time, I decided to collect all the papers for Ethiopia, write a couple of mails more and take some work for the weekend in the village.

I am flying to Ethiopia next week to try end a project I started last year in Melka Kunture (Public Archaeology related about the evaluation and awareness on the site), participate in the EAAPP meeting with it and start new ideas while money comes. I’m in love with the country and highly recommend it (btw).

So, with the briefcase full of stuff, the laptop and a couple of books was time to go shopping for lunch. Today’s menu: Green peas with onion and jamón serrano. Delicious and really easy to cook.

During lunch I watched a couple of chapters of ‘Entourage’. I am a compulsive consumer of series and as the summer season is a bit boring and I’m to date with all I like, I started yesterday to watch this one.

And after lunch and a short nap, I went to pick my mom before going to the village.

My village is El Cabaco, 3 hours from Madrid in Salamanca province. I have a strong relation with it and was also where I started working in Archaeology. There are some Roman gold mines and a site. It was excavated in 2000-2001 and I was lucky to take part of it when I was just 16. I think that was determinant for me to end up working in Public Archaeology.

Anyway, midway we stopped for shopping and dinner. There was a terrible traffic jam to get out of Madrid… and my day ended in one of the bars in my village, having a drink with some friends before going to another village for party (summertime local parties!).

It looks like there has been very few archaeology around, but I it was in my head all the time 😉 Hope this shows that the life of an archaeologist is not always digging up things or doing cool (or boring) stuff. We have normal lives like normal people. We eat, run, drink, chat, have holidays, friends… Archaeology is just our job.

BUT – Having a look at the context…

Today it has been a normal day… a bit weird, but normal. The routine of my life is pretty stable. Maybe doing it next friday would have been better… I will be in a foreign country, kind of exotic, having meetings, visiting sites, doing surveys or who knows what (I still didn’t close the schedule). Or maybe last thursday, when I stayed till 4 am preparing the layout of a book I’m publishing in a couple of months and emailing contributors, while managing a wave of proposals for the journal I edit, ‘AP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology’ (www.arqueologiapublica.es). Or I could have talked about the worries of a PhD student that has to work and manage his company while trying to keep his ‘academic-research-life’ with no resources or time. There are even days when I don’t do any archaeology at all!

For Spanish \’understanders\’ this is what I do in the company… + PhD = My life