Things Going My Way

I’m trainblogging again, somewhere between Norrköping and Nyköping, and the sun is shining. I am pretty pleased with things, not least with how my project about elite sites in Östergötland is working out.

Yesterday I received the Kaga parish landowner’s permission to excavate in his field after the harvest, that is, in mid- and late September. This is where a gold-foil figure die turned up a year ago.

Then I received information that the Royal Academy of Sciences has given me the largest grant so far in my career, meaning that I wouldn’t have to worry about my livelihood before Christmas 2009 even if I quit applying for more grants.

Today I went to Linköping and met with the County Archaeologist and the head of the County Museum’s excavation unit. I received immediate permission to metal detect 4½ of the 6 sites I had applied for, and the remaining 1½ sites did not look too bad either. It was also hinted that an excavation permit for the Kaga site in September might not be entirely out of the question.

I was then treated to lunch by my dear colleagues at the museum, and handed over the finds from six of thirteen sites we have metal detected in the past six years. I am happy that the paperwork for those sites has now been processed in good order, as it means that I will have less stuff to take care of. I also handed over the Skamby amber gaming pieces found in a boat-burial in 2005. They are due to receive prominent exposure in the County Museum’s new permanent exhibition, one of the highest honours a field archaeologist can aspire to.

The only disappointment really was not finding a certain geocache on Barefoot Lane near the Cathedral, and looking silly while searching for it.

(And by the way:

  • There is wifi not only on the fast X2000 trains, but also on Swedish Rail’s slower but newer double-decker regional trains.
  • The sf podcast Escape Pod now has a second sibling in addition to the horror-themed Pseudopod. The newborn fantasy short fiction podcast is named Podcastle and has started out with a classic 1960s story by Peter S. Beagle. Check it out!



The Erosion of Print-Media Authority

Over the past few days I’ve had an exchange with a paper-mag editor that highlighted the extent to which blogging has eroded my respect for printed media.

I was asked by a print mag to write 400 words about archaeology, and they were in a big hurry. I wrote a quick piece (blog-entry length composition sort of comes naturally to me) and submitted it. The editor then began to fuck around with my text. He did things to it that I didn’t like at all, and when I reinstated a few key bits of my original wordings he politely asked me to be more cooperative. “I know it’s frustrating for a scientist to go through this, but trust me, I’m an editor.” I thought about it briefly, and wrote the following letter.

Dear N.N.,

I’m both an editor (two quarterlies for many years) and a scientist. I don’t mind you trying to make me sound better, but I am very unhappy to see you change the sense of what I say.

I don’t know how to tell you this without sounding rude, but you really aren’t offering me much of anything I want: little money, little control, little space, very short deadline. Seeing my name in print is no big deal to me. It isn’t anywhere near worth putting that name to an article I don’t agree with. You, on the other hand, have a page space to fill, apparently quite urgently. And I can help you.

[…] I append a third version for your consideration.



P.S. Humanities scholars are the worst for an editor, because they actually believe that they can write.

I just got the guy’s reply. He has backed down and sent my version to final copy-editing. This whole attitude only worked, of course, because I truly didn’t give a damn whether I got into print or not.