Spade & the Grave

death and burial through an archaeological lens


Dissertation Writing Updates: April 2023

We’re nearly through April suddenly, friends, and as I look out my office window at the snow drifts covering the old wooden boats in my neighbour’s backyard, which is slowly melting away, I decided to do a little update on how my dissertation writing is going! Lets start with a summary of what I’ve been up to, and then how I’ve been structuring my work and project going forward!

I think this picture encapsulates how excited I was in Boston during my research trip.

My blog has been all conference travel and research trips recently, and I feel like it’s been a very hectic last few months. In September 2022, we attended the Death & Culture IV conference in York (& went on our belated honeymoon), then in October I visited Halifax, Nova Scotia, to do some research at the provincial archives and so a site visit out in Annapolis Royal where I had a great meeting with Parks Canada and Mapannapolis staff! In November, I was doing research at home, and then we travelled to Arizona to visit my inlaws and their new house, and we got to see a few very interesting 19th-century burial grounds in the desert! We didn’t go anywhere in December, but I was frantically finishing my 2nd book manuscript which is now with my editor, and resting over the holidays. In the first week of January, we were packed back up and off to Lisbon, Portugal, for the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual conference and a few days of exploring post-conference! Portugal was amazing, Ian and I both want to go back asap.

Finally, I had a second research trip in February to Boston, Massachussets and the Hudson River Valley, New York! I went to the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections which was just an amazing experience (both for research and for seeing cool archives), and the Mass Historical Society’s archives while in the city, then site visits to Sleepy Hollow and Albany, NY, as well as a meeting with the archaeology staff at the New York State Museum in Albany. Travel is done for the next little bit, and I’m pretty excited to not be in the Toronto airport for a few months!

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Return to the Rock: PhD Research Outline!

Hi friends, it’s been too long since I’ve written a post! Hope everyone is washing their hands and staying out of large gatherings during this ol’ covid-19 outbreak we’re all dealing with. Also you don’t need that much tp, friends. Ok, since coming back from Boston in January, I’ve started a new position with a local CRM firm, TMHC, as their archaeological, cultural heritage, and social media technician! It’s been amazing so far, and I can’t wait for the field season to start! If you follow me on social media though (or, you know, read the title of this post) then you’ll know I’ve had another big thing happen in the last few months…I’ve been accepted into Memorial University of Newfoundland’s PhD program for Archaeology, which starts Sept 2020!


I decided I wanted to do a PhD because my favourite part of archaeology besides the excavation is the research & the writing. I really love writing up results, explaining the thoughts behind doing specific things, digging into the backgrounds, and learning about how people operated in the past. Since finishing my MA in 2017, I’ve been continuing my research and writing on my own time, published 2 papers, have been working on a manuscript, and have another project up my sleeves, along with giving some public talks and stuff….and that takes a lot of time! What better way to balance all this free work than diving back into a PhD where all this research I’m already doing can move to the forefront of my priorities? I’m really excited to focus more of my energy on this research.


The author with a cemetery sign, 2018.

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