Fieldwork Prep

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May 15th 2016
Published: May 15th 2016
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Well, fieldwork is practically here...

I have all of my files digitized, all of my reference collections photographed and securely on external devices, and have managed to fit all of the equipment (and living essentials) into one suitcase. I even get to pack a pillow this year! I have sewn on flag patches to my packs in an attempt to "Canadianize" my gear. Fortunately, my new tattoo will proudly travel with me and helps to "Canadianize" myself.

It's starting to sink in that I am traveling to Greece for 6 weeks. Not only will I get a chance to start my research, build connections within the greater project, and maybe acquire a sheep head (or two), I will also get to work with the students on my areas of specialty. Ever since I had the chance to work with graduate students in the lab setting while I was in my undergrad, I have always wanted to provide other students with research opportunities as they were so positive and essential for me. With the students we will get the opportunity to sort and identify animal bone assemblages, discuss the larger implications of what animal bones can tell us, and really get into my research questions. While we won't get the chance to work with stable isotope data in the lab, discussing other studies and applying this knowledge to similar research contexts sets the foundation for future research. The University of Alberta's Anthropology Department provided me with additional funding for this field season, which has allowed me to purchase additional equipment for the field. In particular, the rotary drill is used in the lab to grind samples of bone and teeth. I will have the chance to take this equipment to our lab in Greece and work with the students to get a feel for how these materials are used. I started out with a pickle-jar lid, and will likely start the students out with wood, plastic, or other simple metals before working up to the harder materials like bone and teeth (depending on how the drill bits hold). This research material isn't for everyone, and many students will be more excited by the ceramic artifacts, GIS data, or other previous research. I look forward to working with all students, and giving those who are interested in this research a more hands-on look at how it's done. It will be a very full 3 weeks, but hopefully a very fulfilling lab season. OK, so now I'm really excited. This will be my first time working within this area, learning about the history and cultures enmeshed within modern and ancient Thessaly, and having the independence to do my research. I thank all those who have made this research possible, including the University of Alberta's Faculty of Arts, the Department of Anthropology, the Canadian Institute in Greece, and KKAP, and look forward to what the next 6 weeks have in store.

Flight 1 leaves tomorrow at 7:10am MST, which begins the 22+ hours of travel. Can't wait 😊


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