Happy New Year!
As many of my friends point out, the first day of January is a day that is arbitrarily selected. However, because it is a significant day in the most popular calendrical system in the western world, and one designated for endings and beginnings, it gives us a chance to celebrate and take stock of the past and speculate about the future.
Travelling between the US and Europe this year gave me the opportunity to connect with family and friends more closely. It was wonderful to see folks that I hadn’t seen in years, and to meet people face to face that I had only known through Facebook. It was also a year full of excavations, metal casting, conferences and workshops. I can’t thank all of you enough for supporting me and put me up in my travels.
Thinking back, one of the greatest jobs I’ve had in my life was when I was part of the team that curated the Staffordshire Hoard at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. My part was to take the tiny fragments of embossed foil and reassemble as many of them as much as I was able. The fragments were so small that I had to handle them with tweezers while working at a microscope. Despite that I was able to figure out the individual features of tiny warriors and intertwined creatures. There is an article about me and the work that I did that was published in the Staffordshire Hoard newsletter http://www.barbicanra.co.uk/assets/sh-newsletter-8-june-2015.pdf
One of the reasons that I was selected to be on the team, was because I had a background in fine metalworking. When I went to the job interview, I took along some of the jewellery and scrimshaw I made, along with a couple of gemstones I had faceted and carved. Later I and others on the team co-authored a paper for ICOM (Journal of the Institute of Conservation) titled “The Importance of Multidisciplinary Work within Archaeological Conservation Projects: Assembly of the Staffordshire Hoard die-impressed sheets”. You can read it here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19455224.2016.1155071
So for the New Year, here is a look back at some of the work I did in the past, and a reflection on how people from diverse backgrounds and skills contribute to the success of a project. Thank you all for your contributions and your continued support of my work and adventures. I look forward to presenting you with new articles to read and the latest news of my adventures in experimental archaeology.