May 04, 2006

Is there an E in mosquitos? Eeee!

I love dirt, and dirt loves me!

I heard back from one of the field schools I applied to, this one in upstate New York. I'm in! I'll be living in a co-op in Ithaca for six weeks and excavating a 16th century Cayuga Iroquois site. HOT. And probably muggy. And full of archaeological goodness!

So if you're looking for me between June 12 and July 21, you will have to turn your eyes eastward. Just look for a grubby person waving a trowel and leaping around making "woo woo woo" noises.

Posted by dianna at May 4, 2006 08:38 AM

First, congratulations!

Second, what the hell is the University of Pittsburgh doing excavating in Ithaca, New York? You'd think Cornell would have their shit sufficiently together to get on the sites in their own backyard.

Third, Mid-June to Mid-July should be pretty pleasant around here. It doesn't get oppressively hot until August.

Fourth, I think I should be around most of the time you're in the area; I'll be on vacation the week of July 4th, but other than that I should be here, so you're welcome to visit if you've a free weekend.

Fifth, congratulations again!

Posted by: Zach S. at May 4, 2006 10:12 AM

that's awesome! congrats!

Posted by: michele at May 4, 2006 10:23 AM

Dude, that fucking ROCKS! And dirt. And bones. And sticks. And bugs. And dust. And crud. And sweat (but no blood or tears). Overall, BY, I think, TM. Ergo, congrats!

Do you know if you'll get to be the one driving a backhoe, or the one wielding a tiny little shaving brush? Or the one taking garbage bags full of dirt and dividing it into tiny little vials and then taking a little sharpie and writing things like 0606.83749041-0003, 0606.83749041-0004, etc, on them? Or the one discovering a whole pteranodon skeleton poking out of the ground? I know that you're not there for dinosaurs, but that's why you would be the one to discover it, because no one else would be looking for it. Plus I like pteranodons.

Posted by: katie at May 4, 2006 02:47 PM

Oh, wow. I cannot express to you how amazing Ithaca is during the summer, and although your fundamentally west-coast self might have a bit of trouble at first with the humidity, the place. Is. Gorgeous. Plus, if you've never been there before, it's cute and arty and extremely well-educated and has a lot of great restaurants (and hey, Moosewood is there, which I found overrated but I feel is right up your alley). The gorges and the creeks and the waterfalls and the lake and more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD right now do I want some Shortstop Deli.

Any Ithaca-related questions? Lemme have 'em.

Posted by: dara at May 5, 2006 05:47 AM

Uh, oops, in my Ithaca-eagerness, I appear to have commented twice. Feel free to remove one (or, I suppose, both if the whim strikes you!) of those comments.

Posted by: dara at May 5, 2006 05:49 AM

Ithaca is Gorges! So I have heard! And I'm fantastically excited about Moosewood, even though their Thai coconut soup recipe should more accurately be called The Ghost Of Thai Coconut Soup. They make vegan chocolate cake, anyway, and nobody who makes vegan chocolate cake can ever be bad in my book. Oooh, and I just looked up Shortstop Deli. Seitan subs? Open 24 hours? Hot. I'm making a note of that place.

Zach, the closest university isn't necessarily the most logical one to excavate a given site. If the archaeologists in Cornell's anthro department are all focusing their research on Byzantine burial practices or the early Warring States period, they're not going to have much interest in an Iroquois village. Additionally, summer is the excavation period for most sites anyway because of weather concerns. It makes a certain amount of sense for archaeologists to take faculty positions wherever they're offered, and spend the school year going over last summer's excavated material until they can get back out with a student workforce and do some more digging. For field schools specifically, what usually happens is that the institution that employs the person whose project it is will be the one to give units for it since they're in a position to know what the hell the person's research is about.

Katie, I think I'll be all of those people. And actually there was one field school that was listed on the Archaeological Institute's website but was actually digging out mastodon bones. It was pretty funny; the description said that they'd found something like 7 bones but had only been able to get 2 1/2 of them out of the ground last year. Consider, if you will, how damn big those things must be. In any case, I understand I'm supposed to acquire a trowel (try bringing that on a plane to New York), and from what I've heard from other field schools I may also be looking at pickaxes and/or chopsticks. And dirt.

BMTY indeed. Though by the end of six weeks I may very well be saying BYTM.

Posted by: Dianna at May 5, 2006 02:41 PM