Thursday, December 11, 2008

Statement of Purpose

I've decided to enter the wild world of blogger to track my personal and professional thoughts, experiences, and reactions to the continually unfolding dramas of archaeological "news." I foresee posts consisting of two major categories: my personal experiences on my way toward becoming an archaeological scholar, and posts and responses to various news stories, journal articles, or other "archaeology in the media" items I encounter.

A major contributing factor in this blog's genesis was a class I took this semester titled "Who Owns the Past?" It was cross-listed in my department, Classical and Near Eastern Studies, and the Law School, and team-taught by my advisor and a law professor. I enrolled in the class not necessarily to "learn" anything (although of course I did), but to have a dedicated time and forum each week to think about major ethical issues in archaeology and cultural heritage. In the process, I started to keep a closer eye on blogs, news stories, and the various organizations involved in these matters (for some of the best, see the links to the right). With the class now being over, I find I will miss having a weekly (or daily) reason to look at this information and process it in some capacity. You, my readers, shall be members of my new forum; I encourage everyone to not just be a mute audience but active contributors to comments. My regret is that I didn't begin this earlier; I think it would have been nice to track my evolving thoughts and frustrations as the class progressed. C'est la vie.

The nail on the coffin, as it were, is also the preponderance in the last couple weeks of thought-provoking material in both popular and scholarly media. From the December National Geographic's cover story on Herod the Great, to the gold earring found in Jerusalem, to the "Archaeologists in the Media" forum in the issue of Near Eastern Archaeology that just showed up in my mailbox, I've been having strong reactions of late to a litany of writings. Perhaps it is because I now feel established and invested enough in this discipline to not only care and have an opinion, but also to know more than the article (yeah, sorry) and to internalize these media in ways they affect me, often directly.

However, there are plenty of blogs out there which already track important archaeological and cultural heritage news and developments, many of which I will directly crib my material from. So this blog will be more - it will also be the story of my career (which is really also my life, at this point). I'm in a Master's program for Classical Archaeology right now and just submitted my final application to PhD programs this morning. Things are happening, exciting things. I love what I do, how I spend my days, and the people I've been fortunate to meet. I plan this blog to reflect that.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

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