New Blog, New Name

Welcome to my new blog “Stones and Bones: The Origins of You and Me”. I rarely posted on my old blog as I never managed to find the time in between one assignment or another, so as I’ve recently started my PhD (May 2013) and got married (therefore changed my name) I thought it would be fitting to start afresh.

So to begin, I thought I’d introduce myself brought a few photos.

Me in Cape Town December 2011.

So, this is me, Sarah. I grew up in a rather unexciting part of the West Midlands, but luckily nearby a rather lovely castle which I remember visiting numerous times during my childhood. The best thing about my childhood was visiting a variety of museums and historical sites with my father and brother, and I’m sure this fuelled my interest in the past. From playing in the dungeon and wondering just what in earth this man (a rather ugly mannequin) had done to deserve being locked up for my entire life, which seemed a long time when you were still primary school ages, to re-enacting gladiator battles at Lunt Roman Fort, the past certainly came alive in our history lessons.

I had always held an interest in archaeology, but it wasn’t until I was half way through my Open University degree that I actually decided this was the career path for me. At the time I was more interested in biology and anatomy, but the question of how we got here had always fascinated me. So, how did a biology student turn to archaeology? My husband (then boyfriend) and I went to an event at the University of Southampton, where the public where encouraged to come and see what archaeology was all about, I heard about some evening courses and thought it might be good to pursue this question a little more.

Unfortunately I’d missed the start of the Human Origins course that year so instead thought I’d push myself out of my comfort zone of cold, hard facts and took one called “Art on the Rocks”. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I think I expected more art and flowery interpretations of simple depictions on a wall…. which was certainly not what happened!

Here I met the most amazing lecturer who really brought the subject alive and captured my imagination – and suddenly these lectures became the highlight of my week, and I was signed up for more and more courses. I whizzed through archaeological theory, several human skeletons, a variety of archaeological materials, a brief stop in the Bronze and Iron Ages, a few hand prints, and an excavation, to finally complete the certificate. (And met two more fabulous lecturers along the way!)

Sterkfontein, South Africa – My visits here further fuelled my interest in the Palaeolithic.

Before I knew it, I was well on the path to completing my degree, while almost accidentally completing an archaeology certificate along the way, and then applied for a Masters in Palaeolithic Archaeology. My first thought as I went for my interview (who would turn out to eventually be my supervisor) my first thought was “wow, I’m going to have to get used to seeing this place in daylight!”. But from the minute I arrived I knew I’d love it, and I did.

The obligatory dissertation hand in photo.

Unfortunately my Masters also flew by at lightening speed, but I loved every minute: from giving my first presentation, to battling through the infamous Pob Ogof assemblage, to crawling over the finish line of dissertation D-day (quite literally, as I’d broken my foot a week before it was due in!). After a brief break, my first actual break since starting my undergrad degree, I finally got to my PhD.

The start of my PhD has been a little slower than I thought as organising a wedding got in the way, but this is the advantage of being part time – I can take it slowly enough to enjoy it, while still being able to spare some time for my home life too.

And if you’re interested in seeing a picture or two from the wedding, I’ll show you the best one if my wedding cupcakes.

Two of my any book cupcakes from my wedding last month.

These had all of the archaeologists in the room incredibly excited. The wedding party picked out 25 book covers, which were then printed and made into these amazing book cupcakes by the wonderful Victoria at Victoria’s Cupcakes. These are two of my most used books throughout my Masters – The British Lower Palaeolithic by Mac, and The Human Bone Manual. How I brought myself to eat them I’m not sure! Luckily we had some spare so we have saved at least some of the book covers, which will keep indefinitely. Hopefully the will survive in the fridge for a while until we can find a better place to store them.

Hopefully this first post has given you a little more insight into how I got here, but my PhD project pages will give you some idea of where I’m going next. In the mean time you can follow me on Twitter at @archaeosarah

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