Why on Earth Would You Read an Archaeology Blog?

s200_fleur.schinning

Fleur Schinning (pictured above) is a masters student at Leiden University who is studying archaeology blogs and impact. She has asked several archaeology bloggers to host her questionnaire so she can gain insight in how blogs and social media can improve the accessibility of archaeology.

Has Middle Savagery made a small, crater-like impact into your cranium? Or are archaeology blogs for the birds?

G’on, take a few minutes to fill it out. You even have a chance to win six issues of Archaeology Magazine:

http://goo.gl/forms/z3BAUTyYUL

 

Why I Blog

Doug’s Archaeology is running a blog carnival prior to the 2013 SAA  Blogging Archaeology (Again) session, a sort-of follow up to my 2011 session in Sacramento, which remains sadly unpublished.

Like Bill, a fellow archaeology blogging dinosaur, I think I may have answered the question, why I blog, before, and I’m also answering late.

I’ve been blogging archaeology for over a decade now; my first blog was during my first field school in 2001, at the Juliette Street Project in Dallas, Texas. I started it because I wanted to keep my friends back in Austin up to date with what I was doing, but I was too lazy to write individual emails. It was public-but-private, more of an experiential blog as I was learning what archaeology was all about. Happily, the blog is long gone, deleted in a moment of self-consciousness when I got into grad school.

Middle Savagery started as a livejournal in 2006, and it is probably telling that it began with this entry:

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Reading through the old entries, I miss how casual it was, how much more akin to Tumblr-style blogging, with fragments of words, stolen poems, photos. My blogging has gotten overly formal, possibly as a result of too much academic writing. It started as love letters to all the people that I moved away from or couldn’t be with, and has ended up as grist for the academic grind.

Why am I still blogging? Indeed. I frequently ran out of words while I was writing my thesis, leaving none to spare for the blog. Still, I keep updating Middle Savagery. It’s mine, my own thing, and in the morass of academic publishing, I have a platform I can experiment with. I can be as dopey and full of purple prose as I want to be, or call out misdeeds, or summarize academic articles. Through some trick of luck, people read my stuff.

Over the years I probably should have been more strategic, made a Facebook fan page for the blog, optimized my titles, tagging and search results–10 Mysterious Archaeological Artifacts That Will Change Your Child’s Diet and Your Husband’s Sex Drive! But no. I’ll keep wittering on, and Middle Savagery will change and grow in a slightly stilted, awkward fashion, just as I do.

 

Meta-Bloggery – Masthead, Collections, Best-of

I’ve made a couple of changes around the blog, the first being the new masthead. I was a little iffy on it, and the DD’s have been the subject of some critique, but ultimately I’m happy with it. And it’s all open source/creative commons fonts! Everything except the “V” is Blackout from the League of Moveable Type. The “V” is from the Skullphabet type set from the Skull a Day Project. I had to fix the kerning a bit, but it wasn’t a big deal in Illustrator.

I created two new pages:

Collections – I have been amassing some kinds of archaeological photos and ephemera in a somewhat lackadaisical fashion with the help of some of my friends. I thought I’d be a bit more organized about it and share the collections as I have time. They’re a little miscellaneous, but what do you want?

Greatest Hits – I have a “Top Posts” widget, but it’s a little bit random and changeable. I picked some posts that have proved to be popular by getting linked a lot, and some that I felt were examples that best showed what the blog was all about. I should get together a sub-genres collection of my series of “Poetry and Prose that remind me of Archaeology” and my photo comics, but that will be another Sunday’s work.

What do you think? Any suggestions?