The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Friday, April 4, 2014

...and why are we in this handbasket?

Although I missed last month, I am participating in the final month of Doug's Archaeology's blog carnival. And, if you have not yet gone to Doug's archaeology, click this link here and go there immediately.

As per Doug's instruction: "The last question is where are you/we going with blogging or would you it like to go?"

I am really not sure about how to answer this question.

As I noted in an earlier post, I began my blog for multiple reasons, including the desire to tell stories about what archaeology is like, as well as to educate readers regarding various aspects of archaeology. In the years since then, the blog has served these purposes, and has also served as a platform for me to spout off about whatever topic is bothering me or things that I think are cool.

In the last year and a half, I have written very little, owing to work and family obligations. And in that time I have considered the question of whether or not I will continue blogging, and, if I do, what my goals will be.

I would like to continue, but I don't know how realistic that is. As my daughter gets older, she will require less constant one-on-one attention, which may free up some of my time. However, I am taking on more and more responsibilities at work, which take up more of my time. So, in the end, I don't know if I will have time to return to blogging on a regular basis. I hope to, but I don't know if I will.

If I do return, however, I would like to do three things:

1. Interact more with other archaeology bloggers. I feel as if I tended to be isolated, typing away in my own little corner of the internet with no real connection to other bloggers. But, of course, it doesn't have to be this way, and I can engage in various types of social blog activity (more blog carnivals, link-swaps, guest posts, etc.).

2. Focus. As my regular readers know, I tend to have a scattershot approach to blogging, writing about whatever odd thing happens to strike me as interesting at any given point in time. However, I would like to focus more on archaeology in general and CRM in particular. I would especially like to find ways to discuss CRM laws and regulations that move away from dry descriptions and gets into more entertaining narratives.

3. Enjoy my writing. I often enjoyed writing blog entries, but it was also sometimes stressful. For some time, I put a lot of pressure on myself to post three entries a week, and this meant that I frequently sweated as I tried to come up with things to write about. I would like to find that happy medium by which I can write routinely, but be comfortable on those occasions when I don't have anything about which to write.

I would also like to see the archaeology blogger community do two things:

1. Become a resource for the media. When the media want to speak with an archaeologist, they contact the local museum or university, and as such always get the perspective of tenured (or occasionally post-doc) academic archaeologists. The archaeological blogging community, however, contains undergraduate and graduate students, CRM archaeologists, faculty and museum staff, agency archaeologists, and field technicians. We're a much more representative sample of archaeology, and if we make ourselves well known, we can provide more and different perspectives to the media.

2. On a related note - provide an archaeological perspective on events. Earlier this week, the IPCC released it's report on global climate change, with a focus on adaptation. This has, understandably, generated a lot of media interest in how humans can adapt and maintain our current industrial civilization, and has also brought in those who are certain that our civilization will collapse. Archaeologists have a unique perspective regarding how humans have adapted to climatic and social changes, and we can help people understand what is going to happen (for example, my own grad school research into Native Californian adaptations to environmental change makes me think that we aren't staring down a Mad Max future if we don't deal successfully with the climate, but probably a reorganization of people at a more local level - but someone who specializes in Mayan archaeology might read this situation a different way).

There are many stories surrounding issues of ecology, politics, and society that could benefit from the perspective of archaeologists. Blogs are one of the many places where we can provide that perspective.

So, there you go, that's where I would like to see us headed.

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