Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

Archive for the ‘archaeology’ Category

I work hard for no money!

Posted by Gexx on August 9, 2009

So hard for it, honey!!

I’ve been in the field a few days this past week.  I’m dragging M out on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (yays! MINIONS!)

Today I helped M move his apartment.  He’s moving to the next town over, and he has WAY TOO MUCH FURNITURE!  He bought a full bedroom, living room, and kitchen set when he moved to Knoxville a year ago because he didn’t think he’d be moving.  Well, guess what… he’s moving.  ::sigh::

Perhaps it’s just because I’ve moved thirteen times, but it seems that so many people make moving more difficult than they need to.  I’ve moved each of my boyfriends and I get so frustrated with them.  With J, I packed the entire house in 4 hours (one evening).  It took him more than 2 days (w a Uhaul) to move it across town (the only big furniture was a bed, couch, and diningroom table/chairs).  With A, I cleaned all 2.5 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, living room, and steps in the time it took him to clean his kitchen (which he never used).  Now with M I keep trying to get him to pack stuff up in advance, but instead he ends up waiting to the last minute.  And then when I try to help pack and clean, he instead thinks he’ll let me relax but instead I’m waiting and worrying that he won’t be in good condition for the days he’s helping me in the field.  ::sigh::

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Field Work: deer, bugs, and more!!

Posted by Gexx on August 7, 2009

I’m really enjoying the field work.  Although I hope/plan to do more with curation and lab work in my career, there’s something empowering about going out and doing the initial discoveries.  This summer has been gorgeous! Not *too* hot for a mountain summer and not too humid.  Getting the site mapped was horribly monotonous, and it required hauling about 70 lbs (and $12,000) of equipment to and from the 1/2 mile-ish-away-off-trail site.  But now that I’m digging, I can leave my gear at the site and just carry my backpack with me.

The other day I was out digging by myself.  In the area are lots of “hogwallers” (places where the wild boars wallow in the mud, indicitive because of the high amount of torn up ground).  I heard a snap in the woods and looked up, ready to run.  About 10m away from me was a gorgeous doe.  She looked at me, I started talking to her.  She just ignored me!  How rude!  She did, however, hang around for about an hour.  This made me feel safe, as a doe would be the first thing to run off if a bear or boar entered.  When she did go away, she didn’t run, she just wandered up the ridge near where I worked.

That same day, I heard a Katydid chirping really loudly.  I found it at the tree next to me, just Katy-did-ing away.  A big gran’daddy-long-legger was sizing it up, but he decided to leave the singer alone.

Also in the area of my site are lots of trees that bears grub around.  It’s really startling, sometimes, to see the neat motes that they dig to get the ugly larvae.  Today I dragged M to the site to help me.  To get there we need to cross a stream near the trailhead, so we wear sandals in the car and across the stream.  On the opposite side, we change into our serious (dry!) hiking boots.  Today was no different.  As we’re changing into our boots, people start to gather on the opposite side and point up the tree we’re under.  I finally ask “What’s going on.”  Some kid responds “There’s two BEARS UP THERE!!”  I finish tying my shoe and we HAUL ARSE!  The trees there aren’t the strongest, so the only size bear that they could support two of are cubs.  And cubs aren’t much unless there’s a MommaBear, and the local MommaBear had 2 cubs this year.  And I do NOT want to meet up with a momma bear!

So what sort of signs will the coyotes leave behind and when will they hang out with me?

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Strangers in the field

Posted by Gexx on July 24, 2009

Wow – so today is Friday and I don’t know what to do! I had scheduled today originally to go back out to the field because I didn’t think I would finish with the metal detector yesterday. However, I did finish. M and I worked very well as a team: I manned the metal detector and he flagged metal deposits and kept me on transect. I had originally marked 10m transects for STPs but I wanted to do the metal detector in 5 m sweeps. In the heavy woods it was really easy to loose my bearing, and compasses sometimes do odd stuff with metal detectors, so M walked the marked transects parallel to me.

We found a whole bunch of metal concentrations (surprise!) next to the road that leads to a metal processing area. One would almost think that things fell off the wagons 150 years ago. We also found an old pop-top beer can, so I postulate that “back then” people drank beer in the woods.

On our way back to the car from the site – because we park at a tourist area and hoof it from there – M and I were talking loudly. I don’t know if he realizes why I like to keep in conversation, but there are bears in the area. I don’t want to run into and surprise any. We’re talking about some personal bodily function stuff when some guy in a day-glo green shirt (which matches the underside of the leaves pretty well) pops up. He’s wondering what’s back in the woods, so I give him a quick elevator spiel. There’s no need to be secritive as the project has BEEN ON TV!!! and in the newspapers and the locals all know about it. But I still don’t want some random person wonder what all the crazy pinflags with cryptic markings are.

So – today I need to find something to do. I guess I should do another load of laundry (does it ever end?) and it wouldn’t hurt to clean the bathroom. I’ll be meeting with my plant dude, Greg, at the farmers market at about 3.30 so I need to make up my meal plan, which might involve cleaning my fridge up. The peaches we got last week have hit their peak so the few that aren’t done yet need to be eaten now or frozen for tarts later in the summer. I sorta also want to update my 101 in 1001, but it’s not the end of the world. And as it’s national Tequila day, I somehow foresee a meeting with the buddy Eric this evening at one Mexican restaurant or another… or maybe I could have the thing at *my house.* But I sorta want to stay in – and get to bed at a decent time – because tomorrow M and I are going to Belle Chere in Asheville!

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Documentary on Gender, and tomorrow’s plan

Posted by Gexx on July 22, 2009

Spike, author/illustrator of the awesome webcomic Templar, Arizona tweeted about a documentary, so I checked it out. It’s called “Dr. Money and the boy with no penis.” It’s about a boy who lost his penis in a circumcision accident. Dr. Money was a gender psychologist who decided that this boy should be raised as a girl. It’s somewhat interesting, at the beginning of the movie the subject (who as an adult identified as male) spoke about how he never liked being a girl, he “knew he was a boy” because he didn’t like dresses and dolls. While the documentary makes it sound pivitol, it sounds to me like a complaint of many of us non-girly girls. At the same time, it creates an interesting dialogue about gender identity, “nature/nurture”, and parental insistence. You should check it out.

So I got the metal detector today from my prof. I’ll be going out on Thursday, and I do sorta want to camp that night. So tomorrow I need to make sure I have it calibrated, get new batteries, and make sure that all of that is ready. Also, tomorrow I am going to get back on my 7AM wake up schedule with morning yoga.

Posted in archaeology, geeking out, media, sexual rights | Leave a Comment »

Measurements are finished!

Posted by Gexx on July 15, 2009

Yesterday was one of the last times I’ll need to make the 3-4 hour trip to my site and the 3-4 hour trip back because I won’t need the total station (surveying equipment). I need to go out of my way about 1.5-2 hours to get that equipment.

Yesterday M and I grabbed the total station and went to the site, expecting the discovered “mistake” to take all day and then some. Instead, we went through the site and found two points that did not line up for one reason or another. Additionally, the compass I used yesterday, a military compass, states that my grid is neither +20 deg or -20 deg off mag north. Instead it is ON mag north with a variance of +-2 deg from the different datums I used. I needed 5 datums for a 100m x 60m area because of the crazy vegetation (curse you Rhododendrons!!) I think that my other compass, a more simple one, may be off some. What’s really cool is that where I am is the area of 0 declination. Woot! One less thing to calculate. So the next thing to do is get a metal detector, go over the site to see if any metal (specifically ferrous) readings show up, and then I get to dig STPs at each of the 60 points that I set out over the course of the last 6 weeks.

Then I get to start on the lower level, but I’m waiting to hear from the old boss if he can come out and remove some of the big trees that have fallen over the site, threatening to damage extant structures! NOOO!

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Field Work

Posted by Gexx on July 7, 2009

Tomorrow I’m dragging M out to the field for what will hopefully be the last mapping expedition. We would be done but I was stupid and recorded that my grid was 20 degrees off of magnetic north. I neglected to write that it was infact NEGATIVE 20 degrees off, so we need to go back tomorrow and try to fix this mess up. After that, I should hopefully be able to run out w the metal detector for one or two days and then start to dig.

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the book! the book! it’s getting done!

Posted by Gexx on January 14, 2009

So, for those who weren't around for the previous amount of pain, I have been part of a project. A BIG project.

I've been working on writing the Synthesis of Tennessee Archeology.  As an experiment in editing, we've placed all our chapters online for the professionals to look over and backfeed (that is, give feedback).

At the same time, I need more credit hours and I'm sick of thesis hours.  I want to get active and busy again.  This last semester I worked and hung out with Morgan.  I want to go back to being inspired and challenged and provoked.

So I've offered to assist in getting the book ready for publication.  I was just asked if i could do the graphics.  I'm hesitant, but I'm confident that I can figure out what I need to do.  Just don't expect much in the way of free hand drawings.  They're not great: I have the self-published coloring/activity books to prove it!

Posted in archaeology, college, geeking out | Leave a Comment »

Orion has decided that it is bedtime

Posted by Gexx on January 13, 2009

But I am up reading the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property as I lost time the last two days trying to figure out this computer virus. 

I don't mind that I'm reading this.  i love cultural resource law. That's my THANG.  However, when my purring kitty with no belly fur and two unremoved stitches burrows under the blankets (I'm reading in bed) and curls up against my thigh, I feel guilty for keeping her up.  It just seems like it is *now* bedtime.

Neci, on the other hand, has decided that her time is best spent leaping from the edge of the bed onto my new purse that crackles so delightfully because it's made of laminated fabric.

Books and cats and fair-haired little girls make the best furnishing for a room. – French Proverb

Those that dislike cats will be carried to the cemetery in the rain. – Dutch Proverb

Posted in archaeology, college, kittens | Leave a Comment »

Hypothetically Speaking or PaleoObama

Posted by Gexx on November 18, 2008

(note: I actually wrote this and published it yesterday, but it… disappeared. Somewhere, in the bowels of blogger.)

So, in anthro when discussing preshistoric hunter/gatherer populations there’s a social set up where the population lives at a year round “base camp” while individuals wander off to gather resources from pre-determined areas that surround the base camp.  Previous thought was that the women would stay behind to do the child rearing and whatever processing was required at the base camp, creating an extremely gendered view of work distribution.

Then along comes Dr. Kristen Hawkes from Utah (who, coincidentally, I met a few years ago and who was the Master’s advisor for my old boss) who while studying paleodemography realizes that more and more women in these early prehistoric time periods are living later and later into their post-menopausal age.  She determines (using much statistics and evidence and such) that there is a reason for this.  Older women can care for weened children, freeing adult females to also procure resources.  This eventually becomes a behavior which selects for genetic longevity.  If your grandmother lives longer, then not only is there a chance you’ll live longer bc of genetics, but you’ll also have the resources to facilitate living to a reproductive age because your gmother lived longer and then you’ll pass on those genes. 

Taking it a step further, it has been tied into why females typically have longer lifespans.  See, males were just along for the ride.  Their behavior didn’t promote their lengthened age but that their grandmothers kept them alive past childhood, because the highest rates of death are 1)<5years and 2)old allowed them to utilize and pass on their grandmother’s longevity genes.

Where am I going with this?

Grandmothering Hypothesis now has a modern correlate! (sample size, n=1)

Michelle Obama’s mother is moving into the White House, the home base, to help take care of her grandchildren!  This will allow Michelle and Barack to do anything that needs to be done.  I think that’s awesome, while their mother and father are off saving the economy and representing the past “Country No. 1” of the free world the girls will have someone to help them with school work, who will help them get settled in, who will take them to go visit things in DC.  That, First Family, is putting family first in a truely timeless way.  Kudos to you!

And that’s my geek out for the day.

Ok, I’m a nerd.

Posted in archaeology, geeking out, overthinking | Leave a Comment »

I go into the field and suddenly I feel important

Posted by Gexx on August 8, 2008

So I go out to do field work on Thursday because the work place has no internet or phones, and as my database is stored on an off-site server, I can’t do work. So boss comes and says, “Get yur arse in the field” (not quite, more like “you should really get out of the lab!”)

So I go out to the site, and one of the PIs has the same first name as me and we both refuse to use shortened versions of our names, but that’s ok, until i hear people saying “Go ask X” and I’m like “AAAAAH I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON!!” And I’m trying to formulate a way to say “I have no idea go ask someone else” without sounding like I really have no clue. These were my FIRST POSTMOLDS! You would think after doing this for so long I would have encountered some, but… nope. And it’s not like thinking that I would be sought for advice on park collections is egotistical. That’s what I do… but this site I was NOT FAMILIAR.

Eventually I got used to not reacting right away and trying to determine which of us they were speaking to.

So, anyway, they get a few visitors through the week, but Thursday, we get the NCDoT, the THPO, the SHPO, and all of the University Chancellors. We were supposed to get the Chief of the Eastern Band too, but he was held up with other stuff.

The park archy, my pseudo- boss, to each of these points out me and my co-workers, two of us (US, as in someone else and ME) are both park employees and UT students, so We get pointed out more and our general work/research/all that get outlined. Now I’m like “Gah! No, I want to be anonymous” ah well.

Then I head home and realize that I never set up a time to meet with that dude… yes, *that* dude … for dinner. So I text him and let him know that I won’t be home until atleast 7. I thought that he would wait for me to tell him I got home and then start on over. No, he instead was there, waiting for me.

huh… someone who’s interested in me, curious. I should let it not get to my head.

Posted in archaeology, boys, i do have a life | Leave a Comment »