Well, am I ever glad to be writing on here again. All it took was a month of insane work and an 11 hour flight to Amman. During that time I managed to get the draft of my MA thesis put together, present at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) meeting in Las Vegas, attend the Palaeoanthropology conference in Chicago, decide where I am going to do my PhD (Montreal, Tucson, and Stillwater…don’t ask), and get prepared for another season of fieldwork in Jordan. It sounds even more ridiculous now that I’ve written it down but it’s all done now and I get to enjoy my fieldwork and read a whole bunch of stuff about geoarchaeology, soils, geomorpohology, and Jordanian prehistory. Sounds like it’s going to be a pretty good five weeks in Jordan.
I am part of a crew that is working on the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in the northeastern part of the country. Last summer our survey turned up a substantial sequence of Lower Palaeolithic (likely about 250,000 year old) through Epipalaeolithic (around 15,000 years old). The craziest part of this is that it is located in a depression that used to be a swamp only 20 or so years ago. After looking at the sediments in our test trenches we also discovered that the basin used to be a lake with substantially fluctuating water levels in the past, fluctuations appearing to correlate with the global patterns of glacial advance and retreat. I presented these preliminary results at the AAG this past March and reconstructing the basin throughout the past 300,000 odd years – lake levels and associated environments – is going to be my PhD project… or I guess is my PhD seeing as it has already started!
For now we are in the American Center for Oriental Research until we can get a hold of the proper permits and any gear we still need. As soon as possible, most likely tomorrow, we will be heading north to Azraq to truly get the work underway. So, over the next five weeks I’ll do my best to get the exciting new events up here and any anecdotes from the field. In the evenings I’m probably going to try and get the ball rolling on a few other papers and touch up my thesis, so don’t be surprised if some of that stuff pops up on here as well.
And, no, I haven’t had any Baklava yet, but soon….I hope.