This Week’s Dirt 8/25-9/1

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Dirt | No Comments

This week’s dirt is coming to you live from St. Mary’s City, Maryland, where I am closing out the month of August in a basement looking at artifacts. It has been a wild month work wise, plugging away on an article about digital media and public archaeology and finishing up the website for Historic St. Mary’s City, which will be launching soon. September, too, will be busy: a trip back to East Lansing, committee meetings, a website launch, not to mention writing that dissertation. Phew.

This Week’s Cultural Heritage Link

Well, most of you have probably heard about the recent “restoration” of a fresco in a church in Spain by a local woman. There has been plenty of reaction to it, most decrying the act, but I think that my favorite is “The Cecilia Prize”, a website that allows visitors to conduct their own restoration using simple online paint tools. It is a simple concept that confronts a lot of the interesting parts of this whole situation. It allows for multivocal interaction with piece of culture in a non-destructive way, and highlights, I think, the importance of both cultural heritage, but also the importance of these artifacts to the public. The quote from Cecilia Giminez says it all: she saw that the painting was hurting, so she fixed it. While the quality and integrity of her “fix” may not have been appropriate through a professional gaze, her actions speak to a larger want or need from the public that these items have value and importance. This wasn’t vandalism: she was trying to fix something that was broken and important to her. The website gives everyone a chance to be a part of the restoration…and then pin it to a pinterest board.

The Cecilia Prize

Let’s Read

For Fun: 

I’ve been running a lot lately, so I figured I’d pick up the ultimate running book, Born to Run. I’ve heard plenty about it, and I’ve been using my Vibrams Running Shoes for a year now, so I figured that it was worth giving a listen to. What better thing to do while you’re running than listen to a book about running?!? It sounded like a great idea, except chapter one is about how often people get injured running…so a bit of a downer as I was pounding away on the treadmill. At any rate, I’ve been enjoying it so far…and I’m about to place an order for Chia seeds…anybody tried them?

For Research: 

Because I have been working a lot on digital heritage stuff, and also reaching out to local communities in St. Mary’s City, I reopened this book this week. Places in Mind, edited by Paul Shackel and Erve Chambers, has a number of great articles about community engagement and archaeology. This isn’t your traditional let’s have an archaeology day public archaeology, this is engaged research, collaborative public archaeology.  There are a number of well respected scholars contributing, notably Carol McDavid, Paul Mullins, Matthew Reeves, and Charles Orser, among others. For those of you interested in or curious about this type of public archaeology, it is a must read.

On the Web:

An important, and disturbing, read, particularly for someone who’s looking to finish graduate school soon. It talks about some harsh realities for work for new PhDs. Ugh. Professors Making $10,000 a Year? Academia Becoming a Profession Only the Elite Can Afford –

If you haven’t had a chance, you should really check out the digital component of the Monticello-Smithsonian exhibit about slavery. Really well put together, very slick looking. They have added a comment feature to each page, which we’re doing in our exhibit, but I don’t see one comment yet. Hm. Slavery at Monticello –

Fun article for those of you who are into making cocktails, about the importance of ice. I will, soon, be trying to find some of those large ice cube ice trays… Rocking Out –

Let’s Listen

I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about this album by Chick Corea that helps me work. So, whenever Corea is at the top of my list for the week, it means I’ve probably been pretty productive, particularly in the writing department…this week was definitely one of those weeks. I particularly like “Captain Marvel” and “Spain” on this album, “Light as a Feather”…they’re light, bouncy. Beautiful music from one jazz’s most prolific pianists. Enjoy!

Let’s Look

Not a lot in the photo department from me…I’ve been holed up in a lab all evening, so…I give you whiteware and ironstone, things you will find if you’re excavation a late-19th century…anything.
Always love a good makers mark. Or a bad one, for that matter. Holler if you know this one: Plates.  Broken. Ironstone. And more ironstone. Spectacular moon tonight that my phone camera can't do justice.


Let’s (have a) Drink

This week’s drink is the Manhattan. I had a delicious one at a local restaurant last weekend, and I’ve decided that this is something that I can craft on my own. Fortunately, it’s not that complex:

2 ounces rye whiskey

1 once Italian Vermouth

dash of bitters

shake and strain.




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