Wednesday, 16 May 2018

NERC project conference and seminar presentations

Go team! There was liberal use of the poop emoji.
The blog has been quiet this year, but there is lots to report. As well as the announcement of the Earthslides relocation to Newcastle, our NERC project is now a few months into its second year, and we are beginning to see results from all the hard work that the lab team have been doing. Back in April project research associates Dr John Blong and Dr Helen Whelton gave presentations on the palaeoecological analyses and faecal lipid residue work respectively, at the Society for American Archaeology conference in Washington DC. The papers were part of a session we organised on Coprolite Research: Archaeological and Palaeoenvironmental Potentials. Despite being amusingly puntastic, the session really highlighted how coprolites are an extremely important archive of information, despite the fact they are often dismissed in archaeological analyses.

I was also very proud to see geoarchaeology PhD student Alicia Sawyer give a great presentation on her work on Viking middens in Iceland. I left the conference feeling like we had all really achieved something, the beginnings of a new international network of early career researchers doing new and exciting work. Though I guess I really don't count as an early career researcher anymore; I passed my 2 year probation at Newcastle and was also promoted to Senior Lecturer this semester. The stresses of being an ECR however are still very fresh in my mind. I am determined to build a lab team that is sustainable in terms of our research, but that also gives equal support to individuals building a long term career, whether that be pursuing academia or any other option. I would rather have a small team and be able to give people lots of support, than have a huge lab where people are left to fend for themselves when funding runs out.

Last week I gave the first seminar on the NERC project at Northumbria University's Geography and Environmental Sciences department. Northumbria is located literally over the road from us in the center of Newcastle, and it is a travesty that I have not visited until now. We made contact a while ago as there are several colleagues there with interests in geoarchaeology and palaeoecology.