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Dec. 22nd, 2009

My life:

Now! In Seattle, hanging with the sister and her husband, and reliving the joys of working in retail during the holidays. Actually, at this exact moment, babysitting the niece, while the sister and her husband are in Las Vegas.

Thesis! Pretty heavy revisions needed of the final chapter, conclusions, and intro. And then submit to my committee for more revisions. I want this thing done so badly, I can taste it. Problem is I can't stand to look at it anymore. Ugh.

School! After impoverishing myself last semester with no funding, I have a full assistantship next semester TA-ing a 300-level course on Biblical Archaeology for Near Eastern Studies and the Writing in the Majors program. Thesis defense will happen, hopefully earlier in the semester than later. I want to spend my Spring Break somewhere warm, with nothing to worry about except reading a good book (even if that good book is required reading for some class or another).

Summer! I've been accepted as a Pottery Assistant at the site of Tell Atchana, the ancient Amorite city of Alalakh. Its in southeastern Turkey, about 10 miles from the Syrian border. The site flourished during the Middle and Late Bronze Age, and had extensive trading contacts particularly with Ugarit (the Phoenicians)and Hattusa(the Hittites), but material has been found from all over the Mediterranean. It eventually fell to the Hittites, becoming a regional capital until the city was destroyed around 1200 B.C., most likely by the "Sea Peoples." If all goes well, I'm going to get to work with the Mycenean and Cypriot wares and imitation wares. I'm still hoping to go back to Crete at some point, too. That place gets in your bones.

Next year! I have received a Fellowship for a year of study at the University of Heidelberg. The one in Germany. Apparently there's some school in Ohio with the same name, which, I'm sorry, but I think is totally lame. Its one thing to have a town named Oxford (which Ohio does), but to actually give your university the same name as one of the world's great research institutions? Pathetic.

Iran Election Rigging?

I just had to respond to the article currently floating about the net that purportedly proves that the statistical anomaly recognized by many in the Iranian election's results does not exist.

In this article Nate Silver claims that the constant statistical correlation (a linear relationship) between votes cast for Mousavi and Ahmadinejad can be seen in the U.S. 2008 election results as well, and should be discounted as representing tampering with the results.

I disagree. Nate Silver's argument can be easily discounted as follows:

He "proves" his case by taking the U.S. results, which he tallies in alphabetical order by state. This is false supposition, as when results are tallied they are NOT taken alphabetically, they are tallied as they come in. This means that in almost any election the results are going to be tallied regionally. As we know that Iran is heavily divided politically by region - the North heavily Azeri and supporting Mousavi and the west having a higher percentage of supporters of Mehdi Karroubi, an ethnic Lur. Also, Moussavi was known to have higher support in urban centers, while Ahmadinejad was expected to be more successful in the rural regions.
This same pattern can be seen in U.S. Elections where the eastern states report their results first, oftening slanting the results heavily toward the Democrats, with a more even picture only becoming visible as the midwest and western results come in.
The suggestion that all regions of Iran were reporting their results simultaneously allowing their even tallying is most unlikely.

The Farm of the Most Beautiful House ever!

More about this later (posibly) but in the meantime, here's the short little filmy thing I made for YouTube about my trip up there.


Most Beautiful House Ever

I really want this house. In ways I can't really begin to describe. It has four standing out buildings including the original 1835 carriage house/stable (which has matching moldings with the house... its exquisite!!) and a potter's shed. And then a huge 19th c. barn, with modern editions which must be close to 8000 sf. And then an ugly sheet metal deal to hold all your farm equipment in because you have -236- acres!!! 236 acres!!! Can we say -working- farm??? Oh, and it has east facing slopes with a great view of the lake, so if you want to get into the winery business (which the Finger Lakes have the perfect climate for) you're all set.

Look at the dining room photos!! With the murals!! *whimpers*

Anybody want to form a commune? A Co-Op? Run an overpriced Bed & Breakfast?

Because really, the land OR the house separately would be worth the asking price. Not that I, or anyone I know, has 1.6 million lying around. I'm driving up there this afternoon to buy my mom some Toby Jugs at the most underpriced and best hidden antique shop in Central New York. Maybe I'll shoot some footage with my new camera...

Japanese Tea Set

Some of you have already seen this, but I thought I'd share it to a wider audience. I found this tea set in an antique's mall in Ithaca, labeled at 1800's. I now know that its Kutani (those top two character on all the signature marks, it means 9 valleys, and is a recognized and very collectible type of Japanese porcelain), and its probably mid-20th century (those green dots are called Ao Tsubu, and only appear in the Early Showa period, around the 1920s), but its so pretty I had to buy it anyway. If anyone has any thoughts/insight into the texts (probably poetry) or the signatures, that'd be awesome. Thanks!!

Pictures behind the link!!Collapse )

Jan. 16th, 2009

Back in Ithaca. I know everyone has been posting about how freaking cold it is, but I do want to share that when I went out to go to my orthopedist this morning it was -8. NEGATIVE. In Fahrenheit.

The semester starts on Monday, and I don't think I could possibly be less excited. I'm taking Modern Greek, which I AM looking forward to. And for Ancient Greek I'm taking the Alcestis becuae the department doesn't think I'm advanced enough for Homer. Which initially I admit made me really cranky, and then I realized I had no desire to do the work necessary for a 300 level Greek class, so I probably would have taken the 200 anyway.

For my third class I -should- take either a class on the Ancient Economy (read: Roman economy, but supposedly they'll talk about other classical models as well) or the Phoenecian city of Ugarit. But truth be told? I'm really just not that interested. All motivation to participate in academic navel gazing is shot.

Instead I'm contemplating taking Building Materials Conservation and/or Mesaured Drawing, both of which are in the Historic Preservation Department and both of which feel like they may serve some greater purpose in the universe. Certainly much more practical for someone who wants to return to commercial/public archaeology instead of hiding in the ivory tower.

My advisor doesn't return until mid-February. I wonder if I can just get awy with no telling him what I'm doing?

archaeologists FTW!

Holy crap. Over a 1000 views, and it just keeps going!

Apparently Nobel literature prize winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio in his acceptance speech on Sunday said that he believed Hitler would have been unable to rise to power in the age of the Internet.

So, sxephil, the guy who I originally made my video in reply to, posted his daily video today talking about Hitler and the internet. Sxephil has the 10th most subscribed channel of all time on Youtube. And my video is the #2 "Most Related Video."

Woohoo for driving internet traffic!!

My favorite comments so far:

grrgrrrl: Awesome. Congrats on being the first intelligent girl to put a video up on Youtube :)

WilliamBlake69: OMG ..... an intelligent woman ..... you are awesome ..... great points .... someone else would fill in the gap

And the absolute best...

3IckyThump3: "Archaeologists FTW!"
So... freaking out a big. My advisor sort of left the country last week. For two and a half months. With 24 hours notice. Not the best thing ever. Especially since the apps for Penn and Chicago are due next week, thus making it nearly impossible for me to submit them. Grrrrr.

Still, working on the thesis, I decided I wanted to add an additional data set to my GIS, from the Early Bronze Age site of Sotira-Kaminoudhia. So, I get the site publication and I sit down with it and Google Earth and go to work locating the darn thing. Turns out the village of Sotira is an insignificant enough little speck that no one has bothered to label it. And that's really saying something... the village of Pera (pop. 400 or so) and the village of Maroni (pop. 621) are both clearly designated.

However, Sturt Swiny and his collaborators did an amazing job with their site publication, and the maps are fabulous. So following major topographical landmarks (rivers, penninsulas, etc.) and judicious use of the measuring tool, I easily located the village, whose identity I was then able to confirm by finding the small circular plateau of the Ceramic Neolithic site of Sotira-Teppes about half a kilometer west. Perfect... so then I use my happy measuring tool on Google Earth, along with a protractor and a ruler on the 1964 small scale aerial photograph of the site (Plate 1.1) and find the excavation trenches. And its great! They're really visible... I can even see the walls of the bronze age houses in the open trenches. Woohoo! So I carefully mark each trench, and then using the more detailed sitemap (Fig 1.3) I go in search of the cemeteries.

Now the site was excavated in the 70s, so things have changed, but only a bit. The village is slightly larger, but the field boundaries are the same as they've probably been for 200 years or longer. A few of the paths have been paved and turned into roads, but basically its really easy to see whats going on. So I find cemetery A very easily. Its looks like the same bare patch of dirt on the side of a valley as it was 45 years ago. I double check with the measuring tool in GoogleEarth, and a ruler and protractor on the site map, and I KNOW I'm in the right place. So, then I go across this narrow little valley in search of cemetery B.

And there's a house.

I double check my measurements. I check the old aerials. I check all the site maps. No, I am DEFINITELY in the right place. And there's a house. Actually it looks like it may be three separate houses, built squarely on top of what I KNOW is registered land, which means its ILLEGAL to build on, because, well, its a registered archaeological site. In fact, that site has been registered since Dikaios excavated there back in the 1930s!!!!

I know the Department of Antiquities only has some dozen employees, and an entire country to monitor but first off - readily available sattelite photographs you MORONS!!! Yes, Cypriot Department of Antiquities, I'm talking to you. God only knows how long that development has been there. And you could be doing yearly inventories of all your registered archaeological sites in less than one week (and that's with only one person working on it) without even leaving your offices!! Secondly - you could try fining these idiots! But you don't!! You'll stop people mid-construction, or if they're stupid enough to actually apply for a permit, but if the house is already built you just let them get away with it. And as a result, Cypriots have learned that the way to get around heritage registrations is to build really quickly in the winter when none of the foreign expeditions are around to see whats going on, and when we come back in the summer, whoops!! There's a giant (UGLY I might add) pink house barely 25 meters from the OPEN trenches of Maroni Tsarroukas, one of the most important Late Bronze Age sites on Cyprus. My advisor only found it two years ago, because he happened to decide to show his studets where his old sites from a survey 10 years ago were!!

This has GOT to stop. Maybe the EU needs to start fining its member states every time they let this happen. Then, maybe, the Cypriot government would start fining contractors who build on top of historic monuments. Make examples out of these idiots!! And then, tear down their damn houses! That would convince them pretty quickly that this was a stupid idea. And you can use all of the money from the fines to improve your site inventory, protection, and maintenance program. Or maybe to START a site inventory, protection, and maintenance program. Heritage MANAGEMENT, people. Try it. You can't just slap a "protected" label on it and magically expect it to stay standing.

So yeah, Hadrian's Wall is being delayed. I think I'm going to talk about site inventories. Which will conveniently lead into Hadrian's Wall, since that's a great example of the Brits doing it right.

Girl Archaeologist #2 is up!!

Here's the next one... let me know what you think.

Not a Vlog

Actually a video response to someone else's Vlog, but apparently people like me ranting about Baby Hitler and Prop 8 more than talking about archaeology. Got to work on that.