Civilization Lost premieres this Sunday!


You guys! It’s finally happening! The show that I spent 7 months working on is finally premiering!! 

Sunday, 12/11 at 9pm on H2 (the *other* History Channel)

Give it a watch? 😀


Archaeological shout-outs!

Greetings gentle readers! I know it’s been an absurdly long time since my last post and once again, production schedules are to blame. I’ve finished one show and moved right on to the next so the good news is you’ll all have some fun stuff to watch starting in January. Until then, I’ve got 2 rather cool updates from some equally cool sites/organizations. Give ’em a read and who knows, you might even feel inspired to join up on one of their upcoming projects or pay them a visit!

For all you US natives, next time you’re in Illinois make a point to go see what was once the largest city in pre-Columbian North America and give our very own Mississippian cultures some much-needed love!

Many of the great mounds are still there and there’s even a Woodhenge! Be sure to keep an eye out for cultural similarities between the mound builders and the more well-known civilizations of Mexico and Latin America. Speaking of which…

Maya Research Project
If Mayan and/or Aztec archaeology is more your speed, here’s all the info for the upcoming 2012 field season! It’s open to everyone, so even if you’re no longer a student (like me!) but still want to get out in the field and do some work, you can!

The Maya Research Program is a U.S.-based non-profit organization (501C3) that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Middle America. Each summer since 1992, we have sponsored archaeological fieldwork at the ancient Maya site of Blue Creek in northwestern Belize. In 2012 we again offer opportunities to participate in our field program and learn about the Maya of the past and today.

The Blue Creek project is open to student and non-student participants, regardless of experience. The field school is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and participants will receive training in archaeological field and laboratory techniques. 

Academic credit and scholarships are available.

We invite students and volunteers to participate in the Maya Research Program’s 21st year of our Blue Creek archaeological project in Belize.

2012 Field Season Dates:

Session 1: Monday May 28 – Sunday June 10; Session 2: Monday June 11 – Sunday June 24 ; Session 3: Monday July 2 – Sunday July 15; Session 4: Monday July 16 – Sunday July 29

Until next time, gentle readers!

Just a quick note…

…as I’m currently at work, but the good citizens at Reddit brought this article to my attention:

…and more accurately, the actual blog post in question (Bad Archaeology)

I just wanted to get my two cents out into the interwebs in case there was any doubt/confusion/shenaniganry, etc.

I am indeed an archaeologist and I do in fact work for the company that makes Ancient Aliens. I worked on season 2 and a bit of season 3. (For the curious: s2ep4 and s2 ep8. Episode 8 had the highest ratings of the season [haaay]). This job will always mean something to me because it quite literally rescued me from financial (and general life) ruin after two long periods of unemployment. The people here are lovely and while the actual process of making the show is hilarious, maddening, stressful and occasionally downright ridiculous, it’s a good job and it could be a whole lot worse. Is it a proper job in academia? Lord no. I never really fit in there anyway and even though I’d like to get a Ph.D. someday, I don’t think my place will even be fully in the academic community. I’m not exactly a paper-writing person but I do love conventions and seeing what everyone has been up to over the past year and what exciting new discoveries people are making. (Bonus: free snacks!) I love learning and being around people who are just as excited about 1,000+ yr old stuff as I am. I love being out in the field and getting down and dirty in a trench somewhere, even if it makes my tendonitis go ballistic. There is nothing more exciting than troweling on your merry way and then finding something that’s not a rock.

I’ve been lamenting the state of historically-themed television for many years now and have definitely yelled at many a History program before angrily changing the channel but the unfortunate reality is that, well, people want sensationalism and escapism even if it’s in the form of someone else’s reality. The world is a pretty tough place right now and the last thing most people want when they turn on the TV is something that requires them to pay attention and devote more of their already taxed and frazzled mind, so they turn to the more mindless programs to attempt to take their mind off of the usual woes of the modern human. That’s why reality programming is so popular. It allows people to live someone else’s reality and forget about their own for 30 minutes or an hour. Obviously, the farther removed it is from their life experience the better (Swamps! Celebrities doing things! People living in remote/ridiculous places! Cakes!) so those shows get the viewers and the networks choose and create shows accordingly. Unfortunately, this means those of us who actually like to learn things get the short end of the viewership straw. If I want to turn on the TV and learn about something other than creating a sugar sculpture in an hour I’m SOL until the next showing of ‘Wonders of the Universe’ (Hands down the best show on TV right now. There is no debate.) History International is usually pretty good about having non-alien shows, but if you’re like me and no longer get any of the fancy extra HD channels it’s back to square one. I’d love for something like Time Team America to actually take hold in the US and get people as excited here as they are in the UK about history. Granted, it’s a bit easier to get excited if there are Roman ruins in your back garden, but we’ll work with what we’ve got. We’ve got about 300 years of history in our little baby of a country and most of it’s on the East Coast. What we also have is a whole population of people who want to learn about everyone else’s history and those people watch TV! So until we can elbow our way back into network priorities, I guess we’ll just keep pirating BBC documentaries and scribbling down ideas for what will hopefully be amazing shows someday. I’ll keep helping make silly shows for History and maybe someday I can help make a difference.

TL;DR I don’t even know what this post has turned into, but yeah. There you have it. I’ve got to get back to work 😛

Archaeology in the news! Medieval Irish zombies! Aaahhh!

Did zombies roam medieval Ireland?

Two 8th-century skeletons with stones shoved in their mouths suggest that the people of the time thought so.

  • -Archaeologists in Ireland have unearthed two 8th-century skeletons buried with stones stuck into their mouths.
  • -They believe this could have been a way to ensure the dead did not rise up like zombies.
  • -Bodies identified as revenants or the “walking dead” tended to be people who had lived as outsiders.

Two early medieval skeletons were unearthed recently in Ireland with large stones wedged into their mouths — evidence, archaeologists say, that it was feared the individuals would rise from their graves like zombies.

The skeletons, which were featured in a British documentary last week, emerged during a series of digs carried out between 2005 and 2009 at Kilteasheen, near Loch Key in Ireland by a team of archaeologists led by Chris Read from the Institute of Technology in Sligo, Ireland and Thomas Finan from the University of St. Louis.

The project recovered a total of 137 skeletons, although archaeologists believe that some 3,000 skeletons spanning from 700 to 1400 are still buried at the site.

Fun fact! This was also the preferred early method of dealing with suspected vampires.

Archaeology in the news! The latest on Irish bog bodies

Just in case your Tuesday morning needed some bog folks up in it…[[posterous-content:BysqxCzjzHIIIcwIkhyJ]]

Bog bodies are kings sacrificed by Celts says experts

An expert has stated that the latest bog body found in Ireland has proven that belief that the Celts ritually sacrificed their kings to the Gods.

The body also proves  they underwent horrible deaths, if the times turned bad under their reign.

The latest Iron Age bog body dating back to at least 2,000 BC was discovered near Portlaoise in the Irish midlands by an alert bog worker and it bears the same hallmarks of ritual torture that two other famous bodies have.

Ned Kelly, keeper of antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland told the Irish Examiner that a clear pattern has emerged in each case.