Twosday: PKAP II and 1100 Miles of Racing

Like many people, I’ve started to get a bit antsy about what I’ve accomplished and how I’ve prioritized my time during the pandemic. Not only am I feeling a good bit of survivor’s guilt surrounding any productivity that I did manage during the pandemic, but I also feel bad about prioritizing some of my own projects – namely my single-authored book and a number of single-author articles – over the same stretch of time.

Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project 2

To get back to feeling good about myself, I’ve (finally) returned to the long stagnant project that is the second volume of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project’s final excavation report. The book is 90% complete with just a few odds and ends necessary to prepare it for review. So, this week, I’m going to get PKAP2 into shape for publication and, with any luck, get it to the editor of ASOR’s Archaeological Report Series by the middle of next month (warts and all).

The book will mostly be just a report and as such, it won’t be very interesting to anyone not invested in the archaeology of Late Roman Cyprus. The excavations of the church at Pyla-Koutsopetria, for example, produced very little additional information about the architecture or design of the building. The work on the hill of Pyla-Vigla is rather more interesting, but it is likely to be superseded by ongoing work at the site. That said, the artifact assemblages produced at Koutsopetria and Vigla will continue to add some nuance to our understanding of the Late Roman and Hellenistic periods.

As importantly, it’ll also offer some context for the work of our survey in the region and allow us to connect our survey to more secure excavated contexts. For the Late Roman period, better contexts exist elsewhere on the island, but for the Hellenistic period, the assemblages documented from our excavation of a “clean up pit” adjoining the fortification wall on the height will likely be of interest to scholars of the Late Classical and Hellenistic period on the island. The painted plaster from the church should also be of interest.

The most interesting thing that we hope to accomplish is the complete integration of our digital dataset from the project. In fact, the data is already available via Open Context here.

1100 Miles of Racing

This weekend is the Indy 500 (Indy Car) and the Coca Cola 600 (NASCAR) and both happen on Sunday. I’ve been trying to take some time off on Sundays to enjoy parts of life that don’t involve books, writing, and laptops. Part of the challenge, of course, with being an academic is that almost anything in my world could become an academic task.

One place that seems safe, so far, from my perspective, is my love of autoracing. Usually, I’m overseas over the Memorial Day holiday and last year with the Indy 500 running in August on account of the COVID pandemic, things just didn’t feel right. This summer, while things remain a long way from being normal, both the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 will happen on the same day.

Part of me (a small part, I must admit) wants to live blog BOTH races. I have no idea why I want to do this. I mean, first off, no one live blogs any more. It’s just not a thing. People post on social media. 

Secondly, what can I say about about 1100 miles of racing in a weekend? I mean, I know the racers and the events fairly well and have been following this season, but I don’t feel like I have any particular insights (of course, when has that stopped me from blogging in the past)?

Finally, I realize that part of what I want to do with my blog is expand its scope a bit. As any number of pundits have opined, the academic blog is likely in terminal decline. The stakes of blogging are too high (as academics have become targets of partisan politics and bad faith arguments), readership is split between social media, podcasts, and more conventional academic writing, and people are just too busy to enjoy reading someone’s half-baked and poorly edited ideas. That said, there is something liberating about this situation. Maybe realizing that relatively few people read this blog any more is exactly what I need to do new things and to stray further from its long-standing academic-lite format? 

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