Blogging Archaeology: January Questions

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This is the third post as part of the Blogging Archaeology  Carnival hosted by Doug’s Archaeology. To learn more about this, please see our first post: Why do we blog? and our second post: The Good, Bad and Ugly

This month, our blogging archaeology carnival question from Doug’s Archaeology examines the best of posts. He leaves it up to us to define ‘best’, but suggests we look at number of views, most comments, best conversation created, or went the most viral. You can read about this month’s question and see the answers from last month’s question here: #BlogArch: Responses to Good, Bad and Ugly of Blogging.

This is a difficult question to answer since we have a large number of ever changing bloggers, and what each may define as their best post would probably be different. We are going to look at our favorite posts by different criteria, including the ones that started the most conversation, the ones that are most viewed, and the ones that are the most revealing.

Conversation starters: Our most popular conversation starters are the posts that tell university students, faculty and staff more about the historic university and the people. They like hearing about who lived in the university, what students in the 19th century were like, and how this relates to the archaeology we are doing today. A great example of this is the work by past intern Eve, who wrote about finding the heart of campus. Her posts talked about how what is perceived as being the focal point of of the university, whether that means what people see as the symbol of the campus like Beaumont Tower or the rock, or the area that is the literal center of activity. Another example is the work of intern Paige, who connected archival text from the university to artifacts that we had excavated. She was able to show why combining these two resources is so important, and also link tangible items to behavior in the past.

Most views: Our posts that consistently receive the most unique views are the ones that review topics in archaeology and artifact identification. The Archaeology 101 series started by Terry included posts on reading stratigraphy and doing shovel test pits. It isn’t surprising that these helpful and general posts are the ones that are viewed more frequently. Second to these are posts about specific artifacts which receive quite a few comments. These posts demonstrate the research that goes into identification of artifacts, and hopefully makes it easier for future research. We get numerous comments on these posts asking for more information and details! Some examples are the post on the paperclip, dairy bottles, makeup containers, and nails.

Most revealing: There are two posts that had surprises on campus, and that I would think are some of the best. The first is when Terry determined that a piece of plaster found near Beal Street was a portion of a wall from College Hall. This answered the question of what happened to the demolished remains of the building- they were used to build up the banks of the river to prevent flooding! The blog post he wrote explained how they were able to use artifacts to fill in archival information. The second big surprise on campus was when construction crews found a building under East Circle Drive. The blog post I wrote describes how we figured out what the building was and the excavation of it.

On a personal note, my favorite two posts have been the Halloween ones. I loved Amy’s post on how Halloween has been celebrated on campus, and I loved writing my own post on where campus may be haunted. Enjoy!



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