Human-environment interactions in the Hadrian's Wall Landscape

You wait a whole year for a blog post, then two come along at once etc. Following the existential musings of the previous post, I figured I'd better post some fun geoarchaeological stuff. I have been working with a number of colleagues on various projects for the past couple of years, that are loosely related, and fall under the general banner of Human-environment interactions in the Hadrian's Wall Landscape. Regular blog readers will remember in 2021 I talked about the new  excavations at Birdoswald . These have been progressing nicely, and we have uncovered all sorts of amazing finds and environmental material. I have also been working with Dr Eline Van Asperen, and Masters student Damian Rudge, looking at long term changes in the environment, and whether these relate to Roman or earlier activities such as lead mining. In 2022 we were awarded a small grant from the Royal Archaeological Institute  to collect some peat cores with the aid of local volunteer groups. Eline analyse

Where did you go Castles and Coprolites!

And we're nearing the end of 2023. After a few years of sporadic infrequent posting, I've accepted the fact this will never be the weekly blog that it started out as, all the way back in 2012. My life is almost unrecognisable now compared to when I first started this blog. I was halfway through my first postdoc at York, had no family responsibilities, and publishing my PhD research was going really well. On the surface, an up and coming ECR with a bright future. It took another four years of postdocs before finally getting a permanent academic job in 2015 , literally at the point when I'd decided to leave academia ( and in fact had been in a non-academic job for 6 months ). Since getting married and having a baby, the uncertainty of temporary contracts and having to move around so much was no longer viable. I am not sure how things would have turned out had I not landed my current job. I was happy to have some stability, but the loss of identity as an academic during those

Thoughts on disgruntled authors and anonymous peer review

I recently completed my last ever volume of the Archaeological Journal as editor, Volume 179 for 2022. When I first took on this role around 5 years ago I had grand plans to blog frequently about the editorial process and provide hopefully useful reflections on papers etc, but that went totally out the window as my job and family life became ever busier, and the editorial work itself took up a substantial amount of time (more perhaps than I realised when I took it on!). Overall I have really enjoyed the experience, and working with the Royal Archaeological Institute more broadly, but there have been  moments when it has been rather stressful. There is a long standing joke amongst academics about the dreaded 'reviewer 2', but perhaps less well known is the 'disgruntled author' who does not agree with the editor's decision! I am lucky that this has never happened often, and in most cases it is a curt email following a reject and resubmit recommendation, but it can b