Emma attended the University of Glasgow where she gained her Honours Degree in Archaeology, and also spectacularly failed Latin. Emma has excavated for various commercial units as well as holding more specialised digital data posts at the Archaeology Data Service and Internet Archaeology as well as a research post within the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading. Emma initially worked with the Society as Assistant on the ScARF project from December 2011 to October 2012. After a brief return to help with the launch of Dig It 2015. Emma left Archaeology for a year but has happily found herself back with the ScARF project as Project Manager from July 2015.

Enabling Scottish Archaeological Research – the final ScARF post

“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2

2017 is the seventh and final Day of Archaeology but I’m pretty sure no one taking part will be resting! I do though, think that the team behind #dayofarch deserve a little bit  lot of praise for the god/superhuman like effort they have put in over the years organising this) Since the first posts in 2011, ScARF has taken part in every ‘Day’ except from 2013 and 2014 when ScARF (www.scottishheritagehub.com) had no staff – a pretty good record (you can see the old posts in the links below).

In many ways, the work I am doing today is not that different from the posts I’ve written in the past.

The graphic design I was trying out in the first of the 2012 posts is still a part of my job – today I am creating posters to show research topics in need of love. I’ll probably spend about half an hour in the morning on that as a brain warm up before the ‘real’ work. Here you can see some of the word clouds I’ll use as a basis for the designs.

After coffee, it will be some close reading. The copyediting I wrote a post on in 2012 is more part of my job than ever and there are a few hours of my time today blocked out for working on editing the Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll (RARFA) (http://www.scottishheritagehub.com/regionalresearch) . We are on the second draft of the manuscript – at the moment the formatting is all in place, punctuation, terminology, spelling and grammar have all been checked and sent back to the authors for review. I am just waiting for some final adjustments to images and changes to bibliographies to be sent in and then the ‘final’ version 2 can be checked.

At the same time, I am still (as in 2012) marking up the HTML for the text but for the first time I have some help in the form of a glamourous assistant in Anna, our Museums Officer!

Today I also have a meeting about sponsoring student places at an upcoming conference (stay tuned to the ScARF website to find out more! http://www.scottishheritagehub.com/content/student-network ) and I hope that this will result in students and early career folk who might otherwise struggle to afford to go to be able to attend the event. This kind of work on our ‘student network’ isn’t something that was part of the original ScARF plan but I spend an increasing amount of time on as I think it is important to get as many fresh brains (if that isn’t too zombie a thing to say) involved as possible in current research, Scotland needs more, younger, experts for the days of archaeology ahead!

After my meeting, it will be the glamourous administration job of booking accommodation and travel, including for an upcoming conference that I am presenting at (come along to the Highland Archaeology Festival http://www.highlandarchaeologyfestival.org/index.asp?pageid=651964  !) and doing some financial planning for the next month of the project.

Coffee is essential in the ScARF office

Coffee is essential in the ScARF office

After that, back to marking up HTML for RARFA. I do a lot of other things in my job, even if these posts make it seem like I do a lot of the same thing, the days of archaeology have been Fridays, and Fridays are usually my head-down-coffee-on-tap-techy-days! This week for example, I think about 60% of my time has been spent on various regional archaeological research frameworks – costing them, planning them, research into topics, looking for willing victims volunteers to write pieces for them, trying to get support for them and setting up meeting for the future. I’ve also been working on sorting out and simplifying the 2012 research recommendations so that they be answered by a wider range of people than they were perhaps intended for.

Since I started working on ScARF in 2011, my day to day work has been augmented with more and more administration due to having a managerial role that I didn’t have at the start. I’ve also taken breaks from Archaeology and had jobs in other fields (not the muddy kind, other ‘disciplines’) . One thing that has been constant since the first #dayofarch post though, is the fun I have reading about other peoples work in archaeology. Yes, when you read something exciting, you can feel jealous and sad that you are at that moment doing yet another round of monthly paperwork rather than being the one with the excitement. On the other hand, reading about the exciting research people are doing can really make you (or should that be, ‘should make you’?) see where the work you are doing yourself can fit in. I don’t get to do much any original research with my day job, or research what I’m really passionate about in archaeology, but one thing I can do through my day job is to increase the access that others have to current research. Well, that’s what I hope ScARF does and even if the #dayofarch is ending, I hope that people reading this post continue to use ScARF in the future.

Anna MacQuarrie is also writing a post for today, from a ScARF Museums point of view, so do please look out for that!


Past ScARF posts for Day of Archaeology

ScARF is a research project at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and we are thankful to Historic Environment Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland for our current funding. 

A day managing the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

The day in the ScARF office begins with tea and the newest member of the team reading our old Day of Archaeology posts from 2012 and 2015 (if you haven’t read them, they can be found at http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/friday-fun-in-the-scarf-office-part-1/ and http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/friday-fun-in-the-scarf-part-2/ and finally http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/scarf-is-3-years-old/ . Since the last #dayofarch, the ScARF team has doubled in size and so now we are two people, making just over 1 full time post. This means that we can split ourselves easily between archaeology and museums work, as part of the plan for the future is to better integrate existing museum collections with trying to answer existing research recommendations, which so far have tended to be born out of pure archaeological thinking.

There won’t actually be much time for me to read #dayofarch posts today though, that will likely be a task for the bus home. Being part time means you have to use every office minute to its advantage and you often feel like reading blog posts and similar isn’t ‘real work’, even if they do have value! One I can read legitimately, though, is the post for today from Anna our Museums Officer at http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/dispatches-from-edinburgh-scarf-project-museums-part-1/.  Instead, today will mainly be about three things:

  1. Future Thinking on Scotlands Carved Stones – a major new panel report for ScARF
  2. The ScARF student network
  3. Admin tasks
Future Thinking on Scotlands' Carved Stones - a screenshot of the yet to be released resource

Future Thinking on Scotlands’ Carved Stones – a screenshot of the yet to be released resource

Firstly, getting the newest addition to the ScARF panel report family up online. Future Thinking on Scotlands Carved Stones (http://www.scottishheritagehub.com/content/future-thinking-carved-stones-scotland ) is due for release at the end of next month and will mark the culmination of work by a group of over fifty people led by Dr Sally Foster, Dr Katherine Forsyth, Stuart Jeffrey and Susan Buckham. I didn’t contribute to the writing of the report, but my job was to advise on structure and to put the text and images online and link everything together, as well as to link to other existing ScARF sections where appropriate. This means some HTML work, as simply copying and pasting leaves a horrible proprietary mess in the code, and then some design work to fit the images into the text nicely. Very similar, in fact, to what I appear to have been doing for the 2012 #dayofarch post.  I’ve blocked off most of the day to work on Carved Stones because it needs focus and concentration so I can’t let myself get distracted by other ScARF bits at the same time.

Exciting as the work on the new stones panel is, I don’t have time to spend all today on it. It’s already made up the bulk of my work over the past three weeks. So, after a no-break-desk-lunch, I plan on quietly putting the stones to one side and begin the never-ending task of project admin. Mostly replying to emails, you do know archaeological project management is pure glamour, right? Some emails will be routine and won’t need much time spent on them, some I can see from the subject line are to do with new archaeological research so they will get marked to explore properly later, and recently it seems quite a lot are related to some of our upcoming panel meetings so I will be sure to answer them straight away.

Trowelblazer Lottie had planned on helping out for the day but instead despairs at the increasing amount of post it notes

Trowelblazer Lottie had planned on helping out for the day but instead despairs at the increasing amount of post it notes

After that block of admin, it will be time for some Friday Fun and telling the world about some of the work we have supported recently. Over the past few months, ScARF has provided student bursaries to attend archaeological conferences. In return, each student had to submit a short report to us about their time there as well as a promise that ScARF can use their research, if appropriate, to help update the framework questions and recommendations. The reports received so far can all be found at http://www.socantscot.org/category/student-report/ and cover a diverse range of topics including prehistoric beekeeping, iron age object deposition, re-evaluation of insular metalwork from Pagan-Norse graves, Medieval cetacean consumption and Iron Age equestrianism, so something for everyone! I have a few new reports to put up this afternoon from the 14C and Archaeology conference (http://www.c14archaeology2016.com/) that recently took place in Edinburgh, so if science and archaeology is your thing then take a look at the reports section later today. After that, I need to write to all the bursary recipients and see if they want to take up the offer of Society Fellowship (you can find out more about that at http://www.socantscot.org/join-us/ ).

I plan on spending some time towards the end of the day working on my papers for the European Association of Archaeologists conference, which is at the end of next month. If you are interested, then ScARF and the Society have papers about digital publication and archiving in session TH3-11 , and open access in session TH3-03.   In a previous life, writing papers usually took place in the evenings and weekends. However, now I’m in my thirties and have responsibilities other than work, so paper writing has to take place during the working day. This is a good example of how, four years on from my first #dayofarch post, how I can/have to spend my day at work has changed even if some of the actual work is the same.

An aside: Writing this post has also made me realise how my views on working in archaeology have changed over the past four years since the first post. In those four years, I have had three different jobs (not all archaeological, and none until now more than a 12 month contract) and become a parent. Archaeology (and therefore work) used to be the all consuming thing in life, and I was quite happy to give all my hours/life to it (Hello Silchester!) but life happens and things change. Some of the best posts from previous years are those that truly reflect on what a job/career archaeology is about and how it is rarely a smooth ride (I particularly like http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/once-an-archaeologist-plan-b-careers-in-archaeology/, http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/a-career-in-ruins/, http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/working-hard-or-hardly-working/ and recently http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/a-transition-period-in-life/). I think #dayofarch is a great way for people to reflect on archaeology as a career (whether they are already working in archaeology or not) and provides an invaluable and real insight to a world that, despite what some would have you believe, isn’t all Lego, Minecraft, or easy digging in the sunshine. </endrant>

The very last hour or so of the day of archaeology will be about planning the next few months. We are working in our plans for Orkney and Aberdeenshire museums visits as well as updating panel reports and working with commercial units to keep on top of the current archaeological picture in Scotland. This is the first time writing for #dayofarch that I’ve known I’ll still be working on ScARF for the next one, so I love the opportunity to really get stuck into the work and planning is a big part of that. It’ll be out with the diary, fix some dates and then head home – to read lots more #dayofarch posts en route!

ScARF is 3 years old!

Can you believe that the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) is now 3 years old? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing these posts (http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/friday-fun-in-the-scarf-office-part-1/ and http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/friday-fun-in-the-scarf-part-2/) for the Day of Archaeology 2012.



A lot has happened since then though. When I last wrote for #dayofarch, the ScARF website was still a few weeks away from its official launch and, as the posts above show, we still had a lot of work to do. However, I had another very important project on the go (who, technically worked on all the panel reports, from the tummy and who is now 2 and half years old) and the funding was coming to and end – ScARF went quiet.

Not really PPE

My other very important project, not really grasping what PPE should be.

Until now – fast forward to July 2015 and for the last two weeks I’ve been back in the ScARF hotseat. I am working on a survey (which anyone is welcome to complete at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/scarfwebis3) on how the ScARF project has been used by archaeologists, heritage bodies and interested folk since the launch. Once the results are in, I will be able to report to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on the success of the project and how it has become an essential part of Archaeological research in Scotland today – well, that’s what I want the survey results to say!

Today I am having a quick look at the survey results so far but trying not to read too much into them at this early stage. Then, I’ll spend a few hours going over the website statistics from the last three years and trying to make them into a coherent and friendly report. You can see from this image that use of the resource has been fairly constant but with some pretty obvious spikes – I wonder what those are?

ScARF website statistics

ScARF website statistics

There have been lots of email enquiries to ScARF over the past while as well, from archaeologists of all sorts, so I’ll spend a bit of time answering those. Some of the really interesting queries have come from members of the public about archaeology in their backyard (sometimes literally) and those are always fun to answer – carved stone balls and kite photography are two to deal with today.
Given that its already mid morning, and all I seem to have done is read (really interesting) Day of Archaeology posts and answer emails, I should get back to work and actually do what I’ve just said I will!

Friday fun in the ScARF office – part 1

Not even being the Day of Archaeology 2012 could bring the sunshine to Edinburgh today, so whilst the view from the office at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (SoAS), is definitely dreich, at least reading about all this archaeology will brighten up the day!

My name is Emma Jane O’Riordan and I am the Project Assistant for the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) or @scarfhub on Twitter. The project took part in the Day of Archaeology last year too so you can read about the background to the project in the 2011 posts from the Project Manager, Jeff Sanders here and here.