things are going well academically. not only have i been getting a lot of dissertation-oriented reading done, i've also begun pondering the structure of the thing and figuring out how many chapters i'm going to need and what they'll be on. i've started deciding exactly what i need to be looking at next summer when i'm over, and if i will need to spend some non-summer time there. i was even inspired with a douglas adams quote to stick either in the title or in the introduction!
but i'm having a little bit of a difficult time actually getting started with the writing, and i think i've figured out why. my research for this project, while centered around the analysis i have been doing of the worked bone produced at the site, also necessarily relies heavily on work done by others in the four years of excavation in the 1960s (not too many artifacts, but i can't re-examine most of them because they were lost in a housefire, so they're not comparable to the stuff i've done myself) and in the eleven years of the modern excavation before i joined (over a thousand objects. which, given that a) it takes me three weeks to analyze two hundred in optimal nine-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week working conditions with no distractions, and b) most of the objects can't be removed from the site, which is only open for max eight or nine weeks a year--three of which have to be for new stuff--would take me at least three years to re-examine, without allowing time to look at any of the other things i need to, and thus simply can't be re-examined completely). i think there are two things going on here.
1. i hate relying on other people's work. while i know and trust rissa, i also know that she wasn't looking at the same kinds of things i am, and she doesn't have the experimental background in the area, so she probably hasn't seen everything i need her to have seen.
2. i kind of feel like it's cheating to be doing an archaeology dissertation on stuff i didn't excavate, so i keep trying to shoehorn excavation into my research plan. while there is a lot of discussion in the discipline on the value of new excavation given the quantity of material that remains unexamined from completed excavation, there is still a very strong sense that if you're not an excavator, you're not really an archaeologist. and i know that this is just lingering traces of positivism and the masculinist notion that archaeology is a macho field requiring dirt and harsh living conditions on the edges of civilization, but it's still hard not to buy in. because let's be honest, archaeologists love indiana jones as much as (if not more than) the next guy.
it feels as though, by staying in the lab (even though the lab is in the field and i have just as crappy living conditions as the excavators-no one appreciates a good strong european-style-toilet flush more than me when we hit the big city on our days off!) and working with pretty things like jewelry and figurines and paintings, i'm taking the easy way.
perhaps having expressed these thoughts will allow me to get that freaking introduction finished this quarter!