Upon posting last night’s blog about the First Church Cemetery in Naples, NY, I realized that it was my 99th blog post – meaning that the following post would have to be something out of the ordinary, commemorating my 100th post! What I have decided to do with this special blog post is first to tell a bit more about myself than I usually put across in an average blog, recap of some of the exciting archaeological discoveries from the past year, and break down the various veins of discussion that Imponderabilia tends to work through, and provide little examples of each. So really, I suppose you could call this 100th post a sort of ‘about me and my blog’ show and tell.
While you can read all about me in my cleverly named ‘About Me‘ section, here’s a brief blurb about who I am and where I am right now. My name’s Paige. I graduated in May from the College at Brockport, State University of New York with an MA in American History, focusing on 19th century American material culture. My graduate work, Romanticism and Ruralism, was a digital, interdisciplinary research initiative focusing on the transmission of naturalistic sentimentality into the average 19th century American through interaction with Romantic art and literature. You can read the work here. Apart from the MA in American History, I had previously completed a BS in History, a BA in Cultural Anthropology (focus in Archaeology) and a minor in Art History at Brockport.
Aside from my academic history, I love photography, writing and travelling. You can see some of my photography here. (Obviously I’m no professional – I just love taking pictures and sometimes end up with a good one). Academic writing is a creative outlet for me, so I try to blog as much as possible (it helps with the heartbreak of suddenly not having any writing assignments, or, post-history-major syndrome). Like I said, I love to travel – I try to take weekend road trips as much as possible to all sorts of places, and at least once a year like to try to get out of the country. Last summer I was in Ireland, the summer before that, Jordan and Turkey. This upcoming summer I am really hoping to get over to Ireland again to see the West coast (I pretty much stuck to the East during my last visit). So hopefully that will happen!
Right now, I am working full time as the Marketing and Development Assistant at the Friendly Home in Rochester. It made a lot of sense to move into a position like this right after I graduated, as I had been working as a Student Manager in the marketing department for Brockport Auxiliary Services Corporation for four years during my undergraduate/graduate work. And I really love marketing! I have found that there is this really cool inter-connectivity between marketing and public history – and this has inspired my personal sort of history-reporting, that involves visiting historical sites, blogging about them, and sharing this information to the public digitally through social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Vine, Instagram). There is so much potential for raising awareness and excitement about local history when you put it right at people’s fingertips using social media marketing. It’s a lot of fun, and is my personal arena when it comes to public history.
Of course, outside of my full time work at the moment, I am working as what I like to call a ‘freelance Public Historian’ – taking small historical jobs here and there, volunteering my time with local historical organizations, promoting marketing initiatives to historical societies/museums, and presenting my work at various venues. I literally just ordered myself business cards that say ‘Freelance Public Historian,’ so that makes it seem a little legit, right? Ask me for a business card if you want one. (Speaking of which – I will be giving a talk at the American Gravestone Society’s inaugural chapter meeting for the newly founded New York chapter on Nov. 2 in Green-wood Cemetery, Brooklyn NY. You can read more about the organization, event, and speech here. In the future I hope to jump into the world of public history, but for the time being I’m doing what I can, where I can.
So now we come to this blog. Imponderabilia is a blog I started a long time ago as an undergraduate history student at Brockport, originally on the Blogger platform. (I switched over to WordPress in April). My original blog can be seen here, if anyone is interested in seeing the sorts of things I blogged about as an undergraduate student (I was working in a museum at the time, so there’s lots of interesting material culture research in there). That blog also has lots of cool presentations that I gave as a student, as well as accounts of some of my travels.
This new incarnation of Imponderabilia works a little differently. I have pretty much broken my work down into a few different categories, and tend to post within that framework. My most common posts are either recent archaeological discoveries (often pertaining to my particular places of interest: the Middle East, Ireland, and the American North East), or accounts of my own travels to historical locations, both local and abroad. The occasional post regarding my research and presentations gets thrown in there, as well a historical book review here and there. I think that my style of blogging is very accessible and informative – I like to fill the posts with images, (sometimes videos), include as many hyperlinks as possible to broaden the extent of the information available, and I always try to put a little “Further Reading” section at the bottom for those enthusiasts who want to read beyond the extent of my blog on whatever topic it happens to be. I always cite the sources where I pull quotations, like any good academic, and I am open to discussion and questions regarding any post, idea or topic!
A great example of this type of post can be seen here – a blog I wrote recently about my visit to the Tibbet’s Point Lighthouse in the Thousand Islands (NY). As you can see, it includes video, audio, images, interactive maps, historical resources, etc.
I thought that in this blog, it might be fun to do a quick recap of some of the more exciting archaeological discoveries from the past year or so (well at least, the ones that I were particularly interesting to me)! So if you have been feeling the need to catch up on this year’s archaeological news, enjoy.
“Scores of archaeologists working in a waterlogged trench through the wettest summer and coldest winter in living memory have recovered more than 10,000 objects from Roman London, including writing tablets, amber, a well with ritual deposits of pewter, coins and cow skulls, thousands of pieces of pottery, a unique piece of padded and stitched leather – and the largest collection of lucky charms in the shape of phalluses ever found on a single site.”
“The harsh winter of 1609 in Virginia’s Jamestown Colony forced residents to do the unthinkable. A recent excavation at the historic site discovered the carcasses of dogs, cats and horses consumed during the season commonly called the “Starving Time.” But a few other newly discovered bones in particular, though, tell a far more gruesome story: the dismemberment and cannibalization of a 14-year-old English girl.”
“An ancient log-boat, possibly thousands of years old, has been discovered partly embedded in the banks of the River Boyne in Drogheda, possibly where it originally sank. An initial examination by specialist archaeologist Karl Brady, suggests it could be unique because, unlike other dug-outs or log boats found in the Republic, it has a pair of oval shaped blisters on the upper edge.”
“Whilst enjoying a bank holiday stroll, Royal Commission staff member Nikki Vousden and Dr Roderick Bale (archaeologist at University of Wales TSD Lampeter) came across a long-lost medieval inscribed stone in a stream in Silian.”
“This week, a team of archaeologists broke the asphalt in four places at Weccecoe Park, digging to a depth of 3 feet to uncover evidence of the 19th century burial site. On Thursday morning, the fourth and final trench revealed a single gravestone. “Amelia Brown, 1819, Aged 26 years” is clearly carved into the white stone, with this epitaph: “Whosoever live and believeth in me, though we be dead, yet shall we live.””
“Everyone know’s I’m just crazy about bog bodies. I saw several of them at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin last summer, and try to post a blog any time some new information or new discovery arises related to these taphonomic phenomena. You can read my previous article regarding the bog bodies at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin here. Recently, it has been discovered that the Cashel Man (found in 2011 in County Laois), is actually the oldest bog body in Europe.”
“A rare Roman fort and marching camp have been discovered in Wales by aerial archaeologists during the hot summer. The major Roman fort complex was spotted on parched grassland near Brecon, Powys, and the marching camp near Caerwent in Monmouthshire.”
“Archaeologists say they have uncovered a first-century mansion on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, complete with an ancient bathtub that just might have belonged to one of the priests who condemned Jesus to death. “Byzantine tradition places in our general area the mansion of the high priest Caiaphas or perhaps Annas, who was his father-in-law,” Shimon Gibson, the archaeologist co-directing the excavation, said in a news release. “In those days you had extended families who would have been using the same building complex, which might have had up to 20 rooms and several different floors.””
Anyways, that was just a quick overview of some of the archaeological discoveries from the last few months that I thought were particularly interesting. I will certainly continue to post new archaeological news as it comes along, as well as my own historical research and travelogues. So, thanks to everyone that has been reading Imponderabilia for these last 100 posts, and now onto the next 100!