Post-Book Projects

I submitted my book manuscript yesterday and have plans to spend the rest of the week mostly distracting myself from survivor guilt, but I also wanted to start to sort out what I should be doing over the summer. I’m a bit worried that turning in my manuscript in May runs the risk of making my summer a kind of victory tour rather than my most productive research time. And while there’s nothing wrong with a victory tour, the summer is usually my productive research and writing time and sort of sets the stage for the fall semester. It’s also a chance to recover, read, and think about stuff rather than bouncing from one deadline to the next. 

That means, I need to start to think about what I want to be dong.

Right now, I have three long-term projects that are looming over me.

1. Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project 2: The second volume of our PKAP duet will focus on the results of our and Maria Hadjicosti’s excavations at the site. Our manuscript for PKAP 2 is stuck at 80% done. We have most of the fussy and fiddly work completed, including the description of the stratigraphy and the artifact catalogues; we now need to finish the introduction and conclusion. This feels a bit more like a fall semester project than one to which I should devote precious summer time.

2. Polis. This is a project that has to move forward this summer, in part, because I have an article due in June that developed from a paper that I read at a conference this past winter on the Long Late Antiquity in the Chrysochou Valley. That paper will focus rather narrowly on revision the dating ceramics associated with two areas that we’ve studied at the site, EF2 (which features the South Basilica) and EF1. 

We have also worked to put together a volume that focuses on our work at EF1. It’s probably 50-60% done as well as a new guide to the excavations around the village. While it seems improbably that either of these projects can be completed this summer, it would also be rewarding to move them forward. Having large chunks of unfinished text floating about is annoying.

3. Western Argolid Regional Project. We’ve scheduled a virtual study season starting in June to continue to push this project along. We heard this past week that our preliminary report was accepted with minor revisions. We also have chunks of text begging to be integrated into a more cohesive final publication. It’s fun work in that the project is genuinely collaborative and there’s still some positive energy and momentum behind it. It makes up for the relatively tedious task of wading through data instead of walking around the Inachos Valley.

These three project invariably keep me up at night as they are long-simmering projects that I can’t forget exist in some kind of almost complete or emerging state.

To this list, I probably should add completing my write up of mid-century housing in Grand Forks, which should be done by Mid-May. I also need to finish up some work on Early Christian baptisteries for a project that I’m doing with David Pettegrew.

In June, I’ll also start to receive contributions for the first volume in the CHAT (Contemporary and Historical Archaeology and Theory) book series that I’m editing with Rachael Kiddey. Our hope is for this book not only to be a wild introduction to our series, but also shine a light on last winter’s festivalCHAT, an online conference modeled on a music festival.   

It goes without saying that I have other obligations including a few volumes approaching production from my press and as editor of of the Annual of ASOR.

This is all good and meaningful and fulfilling work, but I also have a few other projects that are fresh and new and have me excited.

1. Archaeology, History, and Sun Ra. This project will dominate my summer reading list and, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure where it’s going. My hope is to produce a very rough draft of an article at some point in the next six months that considers what it means to read Near Eastern archaeology through Sun Ra.

2. The Greenway. I have this growing fascination with the Grand Forks Greenway. It started as an interest in the flood wall and how such walls contribute to the growing discussion of walls in archaeology. I’ve also become interested in the space as a complex archaeological landscape that serves as a kind of case study for the blurring of ontological boundaries associated with ruins, nature, and contemporary notions of recreation, play, and place.

3. Slow. If I had the kind of job that gave me time to write in a consistent way, I’d work on a book on slow archaeology that brings together a number of strands in my thinking. It would be a short book – 30,000-50,000 words – and essayistic rather than academic, but with citations. It would be self-indulgent.

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