Back at last!

I’m back. It’s been nearly a year since my last post, but I have finally returned, and I hope to update the blog on a weekly basis (more or less) at least until my next thesis deadline crisis. Yes, that’s right: another thesis -or rather a dissertation- is coming up at some point. The topic? I dunno. I haven’t really gotten that far yet. As it stands now, it’s going to involve lithics (big shock, I know), it will almost certainly be based in BC’s southern interior, and it will conceivably have some focus on microblades. All of the tiny flakes I’ve come to know and love from Haida Gwaii, with none of the rain, moss, and 5 vertical metres of gorgeous stratigraphy. We’ll see how it goes. More after the break.

In any case, the past year has been a busy one. I successfully defended my MA thesis (download it here or here), moved back to Vancouver with my wife, and started my PhD at UBC. Not exactly in that order, but that’s OK. I spent September to April taking care of the bulk of the PhD coursework and TAing. I reckon I was sleeping a maximum of 5 nights a week for at least 4 of those 8 months. Somehow during that time I also managed to teach myself the basics of various opensource GIS programs: QGIS, GRASS, and SAGA GIS. I now have a minor obsession with archaeological mapping to go along with my major obsession with stone tools.

A map I made for a CAA paper I was coauthor on.

Speaking of stone tools, I’ve been knapping. I haven’t put in anything close to the hours I would have liked to, but I have certainly made use of the school facilities. Did I mention that the UBC archaeology lab has a purpose-built knapping room complete with a swanky ventilation system and nice big window? No? How remiss of me. Yup. Fancy knapping room. It’s packed to overflowing with my rock boxes, and I seem to be pretty much the only user, but that suits me just fine. Having a space where my rocks and kit all have a proper (and accessible) place is a delight, and my knapping skill has improved for it. I’ll get some more examples up sometime soon.

A recent point of mine made from vitreous basalt. One my few points that I have photographed.

That’s about it for this first post back. I plan to update regularly in the future. I’ve got no active experiments on the go at the moment, but the GIS stuff is likely to get some attention, so stay tuned.

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