Pallets and Epoiesen

When I get overwhelmed with things to do or get stuck with a project that seems insurmountable, I start to think up new projects. In fact, over sabbatical, I got stuck and ended up writing a 35,000+ word little book.  I’ve been pretty unproductive since I’ve been home and that’s pushed my mind to drift…

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Landscapes, Olive Sieves, Tiles, and Pallets

Another week in the landscape of the Western Argolid brought another little assemblage. This time we discovered four or five olive sieves in a group. An olive sieve removes leaves and twigs from the olives making it easier to prepare the olives for pressing or curing. They’re little studies in design and improvisation with bike…

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A Visit to a Pallet Plant

Ok. I admit that it wasn’t exactly a pallet plant since the company no longer manufactures pallets there, but pallet plant is alliterative (in the most crass way) so more suitable than “a visit to a pallet redistribution facility.” Anyway.  The guys at API Pallets here in Grand Forks were very generous with their time…

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More Pallets, More Pallets!!

I finally got around to reading Jacob Hodes’ “Whitewood Under Siege” in the Winter 2013/2014 issue of Cabinet (primarily because my distracting reading purveyor Kostis Kourelis sent it to me). The article explores the contentious and combative world of the global pallet market. In around 4000 words, it clarified some of my lingering questions about…

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Pallets and Scavenging

Archaeologists are scavengers. We collect objects that have been cast aside and reuse them as sources for reconstructing the past. As a result archaeologists are pretty good at finding inventive ways to reuse whatever is at hand to serve their purposes. As part of my Pallet Project, my buddy Chris Cloke sent along some pallet…

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Pallet Project Update

The Pallet Project continues apace. I have developed an ad hoc sampling strategy which involves taking photos of pallets when I see them with my iPhone 5 camera. For a brief description of the Pallet Project, go here. To be honest, I don’t really have a plan right now, but I suppose, being a bit…

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The Pallet Project

Nothing gives me time to think quite like time to think. So far my good friends Sarah James and Dimitri Nakassis have been doing virtually all the heavily lifting on the Western Argolid Regional Project where I am now stationed, and this has left me time to think up bad plans and half backed ideas. …

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The Bakken Gaze: Tourism, Petroculture, and Modern Views of the Industrial Landscape (Part 3)

Here’s the final installment of my paper for the Northern Great Plains History Conference next week here in Grand Forks.  As I wrote about on Monday, I had hoped to make this paper paper more accessible and more breezy and personable, but by about word 1500, it had turned into the typical academic trudge. (I…

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Bricolage and Performance

I was intrigued by Katy Soar and Paul-François Tremlett’s recent contribution to the World Archaeology issue on counter-archaeologies. They examine the material culture and space of the Occupy Democracy demonstration in London in 2014 and the “Disobedient Objects” exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum during the same year.  For the authors “protest objects” represent both…

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Shipping Containers

If I had all the time in the world, I would write an article on shipping pallets or vernacular architecture in science fiction novels or global adhocism or something. Mostly, I do far more mundane things like tend to databases or find pot sherds in crowded storerooms. On Saturday, I found myself working as an…

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