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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

Archaeology of death, grief and remembering

It’s not an exaggeration to say that 2021 and  2022, have been the most difficult period of my life. In addition to all the general crap from the pandemic, I have lost four people who meant a lot to me. Earlier in 2021, Great Grandma Ann passed away at the age of 99. She was my great grandmother in law, but I’d always felt a connection to her since we first met eight years ago. She was a remarkable women with a fascinating life story, not mine to share here. But I admired her, and found her easy to talk to, which is a rare thing for me. Her passing was sad, but she was ready to go. I just wish we’d been able to travel and see her one last time. In September 2021 my dad died, at the age of 69. He wasn’t ready, and neither were we. My dad’s story was that of a working class lad from the north east. He lived and died where he was born, a life that to many might seem unnoteworthy but the epitome of life of his class and generation, the last years of the shipyards, with many funny stories a

First week at Birdoswald

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It’s Day 7 at Birdoswald excavations for me! I was supposed to be here earlier but ended up having to self-isolate as my daughter’s nursery bubble had a positive covid case. How funny that has become such a standard part of life. It was a little frustrating watching all the news and photos from the dig being posted online whilst being stuck at home, but I am so happy to have finally got here! I am especially grateful to the wonderful B&B where I am staying, Bush Nook , who very kindly let me alter my dates at the last minute and have been wonderful hosts. Fancy bacon sarnies and coffee for breakfast, and a nice hot power shower – what more could an archaeologist want from fieldwork accommodation? I was perhaps a little ambitious in my plans to cycle to site every day. Although it is only 2 miles away, the route it turns out has two rather steep sets of stairs and hill, so I abandoned the bike and took to a leisurely stroll each morning. It is absolute bliss after being stuck wor