Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Taking over the world, one slide at a time

So, I’m back from holidays in sunny Florida and have finally got through the email backlog. My September to do list is getting longer and longer, but it’s not all bad! Just before I went on hols I submitted an application to the University of York Teaching and Learning Development Fund, and it was successful! So one of my new tasks is to set up a microscope teaching laboratory at BioArCh, which will provide state of the art teaching facilities for microscopy, including microfossil analysis, artefact analysis and thin section micromorphology. The funding covers purchase of a new suite of teaching microscopes with image acquisition facilities, as well as reference collections for key areas of teaching. This is great news; we’ve had a number of students interested in working with microscopic analysis and have so far made do with our research microscope and my own personal research kit. The new facility will mean that we can incorporate further microanalysis into teaching, particularly practical skills, as well as having more students working in this area for dissertation projects. Now the hard part is deciding which it to go for. I’m partial to Zeiss myself, being the proud owner of a wonderful old 1960s Zeiss Standard pol, but Leica are also good and I hear Olympus are not too shabby either. 

Other plans to take over the world with micromorphology include a conference exhibition in collaboration with Julie at  Julie hosted a fantastic ‘Hidden Worlds’exhibition at the World Archaeological Congress, Dublin 2008. We are hoping to do something similar that we can showcase at a number of conferences next year, hopefully starting with WAC 7 in Jordan 2013. The exhibition will consist of around 9 large posters with high resolution images of micromorphology slides, alongside a short text explaining what the viewer is looking at, and how it contributes to our understanding of the archaeology. To the left is an example that Julie did in 2008 on floor deposits from
Çatalhöyük. For the 2nd exhibition we will be showcasing slides from Paisley Caves, Oregon. Which means I need to get on to finishing the analysis pronto!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Holidays in Academia

July has been very busy, and it appears to be August already! Finished the final analysis for Feeding Stonehenge and now in the process of writing up the research, and taking a short break before starting officially on the Ecology of Crusading project at the end of August. Though as they say taking a holiday in academia is just doing work somewhere else, so here I am in sunny Florida sorting through some of the submissions for the special issue of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences journal, "Experimental Archaeology" that emerged from the conference we held at York at the beginning of the year. The deadline for submissions is aproaching, but there is still time to submit a paper for consideration, more details here.

In other archaeology related news, I just can't seem to get away from middens. Pensacola is full of historic archaeological stuff, including this gem. I'm still trying to work out the connection between the commanding officer's residence, the alligator skull and the turtle shell. A friend suggested they were betting on an amazingly lopsided deathmatch. I like this interpretation.

Alligator V Turtle - colonial entertainment in Florida