As I sit here trying to decide what to decide what exactly one is supposed to write to open a website up, to really invite people in, I can’t help but glance at my ‘academic’ bookshelf. There probably shouldn’t be quotations around that, that categorizes most of my books! There are books on medieval churches, old museums, lithic technologies, geoarchaeology, gravestone scripts, and the list goes on and on. The running theme between them all? Everyone that they talk about, all of the past peoples who used to populate the cities and countrysides of the world, have long since died.
But that’s what archaeology is, isn’t it? We study the past, and that means dealing with mortality on a near-daily basis. As someone who originally intended to go into maritime archaeology and ‘got distracted’ in a graveyard during my field field school, I think about death and dying pretty regularly. My own research is fairly landscape based (we’ll talk about that later), but in order to get to a spatial analysis I have to understand why certain spaces may have been used as they were, which means trying to death and burial practices, anxieties, and ideals for lots of different groups of people.
This blog was created after several colleagues and many visitors to the dig asked if I had a website. Spade & the Grave will contain aspects of my ongoing research, fieldwork updates during the summer, and interesting explorations into death and burial as I come across them. I hope you all enjoy, and get in touch if you want to know more!
Welcome to Spade & the Grave.
(photos are my own)