Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Essays, archaeology and history

Apologies for a slightly terse and late post today - I didn't leave work till 7, and I had an essay crisis :D

This online course thing is hard work. It's only 750 words, peer review of five other students work, and about an hour of video lectures a week, but I'm quite surprised how much effort goes into that. It is, after all, nearly three decades since I last did any work that could be described as academic, and my degree's in a subject which really didn't require serious essay writing, namely Computer Science

I'm currently being awfully tempted by DigVentures 'Dirty Weekends' - well, with a name like that, who wouldn't be! A weekend (or a week) doing hands-on archaeology with the pros. I'm really sorry I missed a shot at this weekend, which is a weekend with the Geophysics team at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk - I could have been an archaeologist and a computer geek at the same time!

It's odd - when I was a teenager, I hated essays, and I didn't get history, other than the bits of it I liked through being a wargamer. Nowadays, as I take great delight in pointing out to my son, I write more on my blog most days than he does for homework (about ten times more tonight, in fact!). I have a theory that proper history, by which I don't mean a dry regurgitation of Sir's list of facts about whatever period we're on this term, is difficult for younger kids. History is about people, when it comes down to it, and there is a degree to which you can't necessarily understand what motivates the movers and shakers of the period you're studying unless and until you have the emotional maturity to at least understand where they're coming from.


  1. DigVentures sounds great! I'm kind of kicking myself as it's only the next county over from where I used to live. Ho hum.

  2. Completely agree with your last paragraph. Spot on!

  3. I too would have loved the Geophysics side of Archaeology - but come from an era when Archaeology was firmly on the Arts side and not a science - so no degree for me.

    How the world has changed since I was hands on in a trench, sigh!

  4. Bloody wise words... spot on....! That in a nutshell is why I find wargaming so interesting, and what forms my choice when reading military history... I'm less interested in the big picture - I want the "Face of Battle", and "Red Coat" ie. the individual experience...

  5. I love history and have for as long as I remember. It still took 15 years for me to complete my "four" year degree in history because of the way it was taught.
    Good luck and enjoy the writing, (and digging.)

  6. I took part in a dig as a volunteer years ago in Surrey, led by "experienced" archeologists.

    Just cut through that old pipe with a hacksaw he said... It'll be fine he said....

    It took 2 hours for the fire brigade to let us back into the dig site once they'd capped off the gas leak!


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