Coding for Victory

Code for Victory

As much as I would like to say that I spent my day undertaking traditional archaeology, you know fighting Nazi’s and digging up dinosaurs, it actually involved me coding most of the day. On a side note, yesterday I learned that paleontologists actually do up to 10,000 years ago so there is some overlap between them and us. For all us archaeologists that hate to be asked that question about dinosaurs people are actually closer than you think and paleontologists hate that question as much as we do as not all of them work with dinosaurs. Anyways I digress,  I spent my Day of Archaeology coding for I had spent the last week doing a complete re-write of the website (now down to 9k download per page, roughly), it was built from scratch. After complete a re-write of the old code I decide to add some new aspects to the website. Why? well because we are looking into creating a journal hosting system for Open Access Archaeology to host Open Access archaeology journals and that needs to have some specific features like an editor, publishing, rss, etc.

That meant for my day of archaeology I was looking into adding a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to the website. There are several well know systems out there, wordpress which everyone is writing their Day of Archaeology posts in uses one, but I found that they are very heavy and not very well documented, at least for what I needed. Needless to say, I spent the whole morning figuring that out. By lunch time I decided that I was going to make my own editor from scratch. With a little help from stackoverflow and some trial and error by the end of the day I had an editor up and working on the website. It does not look pretty but it works and it was all done by hand. Not very exciting or traditional but it is how I spent most of my Day of Archaeology.

What I did do that was very archaeology related was work on a resume and cover letter for a job. My current employment runs out at the end of this month so I am back looking for new jobs. That is how I spent the rest of my day, working on my resume. I believe most of you archaeologists can relate to this.

Doug Rocks-Macqueen


Lots of Little Jobs and One Big Job

My day of archaeology, like the title says, consistence of lots of little jobs and one big job. The one big job actually has nothing to do with archaeology but pays the bills. I spent the vast majority of my Day of Archaeology working at Gengage. Gengage is the Scottish Healthcare Genetics Public Engagement Network. If it sounds like it has nothing to do with archaeology that is because it does not have anything to do with archaeology. I am currently a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh after finishing my Masters, after working in CRM in the US. While I got some funding to cover my tuition I still have to pay rent and buy food. So 9 to 4 was spent at the Gengage office making ends meet.

However, just because you have a job that has nothing to do with archaeology does not mean you can not make it relevant to archaeology. I spent that 9 to 4 editing videos a skill that has helped me in archaeology and will probably continue to. I used the video editing skills I picked from Gengage to edit the videos of the Barriers to Participation in Archaeology Online workshop. You can see the different videos here, here, here, here, and here. Just because your current job has nothing to do with archaeology does not mean you can’t make it relevant.

The rest of my day was broken up into a bunch of smaller jobs for the variety projects I am involved in:

  • Spent an hour on the phone to one of my more archaeology related jobs, Profiling the Profession project with Landward Research. If you do not not know what Profiling the Profession is then check out the Landward website all of the profiling the profession reports are there. We discussed the new project, which is about to get started, and what need to be done over the next few weeks. I won’t bore you with the details.
  • I spent a half hour working on the Open Access Archaeology blog. Basically, I looked at recent open access archaeology publications and made a blog post for each one, about three in total. I also connected the posts with Twitter. All of the posts are in a queue so that if I miss a day a post still goes out. This day I blogged about a new open access issue of Expedition and a new landscape article about the Inca providential capitals, the posts will be out in a few days.
  • I also blogged a little bit about soil identification for archaeologists on my personal archaeology blog. That took up another half hour.
  • I then spent about an hour looking through job adverts on Not because I need a job but because it is part of the research I conduct on jobs and pay conditions in archaeology. This mainly involved transferring data from job postings into an excel sheet, FUN TIMES (sarcasm).
  • Finally, I spent about two hours working on my PhD research. This involves working with agent based modelling to create a site predictive model. Right now I am cleaning up one of my models on hydrology, the purpose of which is to get an accurate idea of where water would be in my arid environment. Like all computer modelling I spent about 1hr and 55 mins. trying to figure out why my agents were not doing what they were supposed to and five minutes hating myself because of the stupid coding mistake that was screwing everything up. Here is a pic, not much to look at.

It looks like I got a lot done but actually it was not too much. However, that is how I work. I like to break down my work into bit sized tasks that I complete over several days or weeks.