Dig Diary, March 10, 2017:

It is very hot in Luxor right now, so the team often takes a break under the marquee that the Hopkins University team has loaned us (thank you, Betsy!). From left to right are Dr. Jacobus van Dijk of Groningen, who is studying the Sakhmet statues and their epithets with me; our senior Egyptian inspector, Mme Shemaa Mahmoud Ahmed; our second inspector, Mr. Yusuf Mohamed Ahmed; and me. Mary McKercher, of course, is behind the camera as usual.

While we’re not excavating this year (the season is too short), we are carrying out a few useful, small projects. First, at the request of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) we began on March 4 to cut back the reeds that have once again taken over the northern ends of the sacred lake, particularly on the east side. You can see how thick and tall they have grown in the past year.

Our second project is to clean off the dirt that has accumulated over the past 35 years or so on a Ramesses II doorjamb that we discovered lying on what’s left of the mud brick core of Temple A’s 2nd Pylon. We’ll build a small wall around it to prevent further encroachment. We decided to remove the large undecorated block standing beside it because it obscured a re-used relief in the pylon’s stone facing.

This was no easy task as the rock is not only heavy but awkwardly shaped. However, our workers were able to get it up and out fairly quickly; they do this kind of thing all the time. We admire both their strength and their skill.

To our surprise, we found that the bottom of the Ramesses II block, which we had never cleared, was also decorated! The way the block is lying, the “new” scene, probably from the east face of the 25th Dynasty pylon, is upside down. Seen right side up here, it consists of the crowns of 2 facing figures and several columns of text. The tall plumes on the right probably belong to Amun, and the plumes and sun disk are probably a king. Unfortunately no names are preserved.

You are looking southeast at Temple A’s 2nd Pylon, built in Dynasty 25. The blocks came almost entirely from earlier monuments, including the Ramesses III temple southwest of the sacred lake, which was no longer in use. The reliefs and sculptures were split apart when necessary and their rear surfaces smoothed to form the face of the pylon. This is most obvious in the pylon’s north wing (bottom of picture) where the decay of the mud brick core has made the blocks more visible. The south wing seems to have been built entirely of stone.

Here’s a more detailed view of the inner side of the east facing. The two torsos and upside down head came from the Ramesses III temple. Other reliefs date from earlier in the New Kingdom. The relief on the left, by the way, is the one that was partially hidden by the block we moved.

At the end of a long, hot day, we sit on our hotel balcony and watch the sun set. One evening recently, this enormous flock of ibises flew by heading north. There must have been hundreds altogether.

At the end of a long, hot day, we sit on our hotel balcony and watch the sun set over the Nile. It is a sight that never fails to awe and amaze us.

Posted by Richard Fazzini


The Sounds of Indigenous Language Revitalization - the LSA plenary talk by Colleen Fitzgerald is now online in full

Submission: Here’s some cute! During fieldwork this morning I caught a little second year (as of Jan. 1, that is) red-headed woodpecker. By the time he’s gone through another molt cycle, his head will be a full glossy red!

Oh, wow. What a unique stage to see him in! He looks so unenthused. 

The notebook lies at the outer reaches of language and order. It lies at the outer reaches of language in its ungrammatical jottings and staccato burps and hiccups. And it lies at the outer limits of order because it represents the chance pole of a collection, rather than the design pole. It is more open to chance than the diary, for example, which is ordered by the wheel of time. In other words, the notebook page is all interstices - impossible but true.
—  Michael Taussig, “Fieldwork Notebooks”, p10-11.

If there’s a single most important part of processing the bird, it’s making sure to get it banded. This red-headed woodpecker is rocking his size 2 USGS federal band as well as three color bands so I can identify and study him from a distance without capturing him again.

It’s important to collect all of your data swiftly, grab photo documentation, and get the bird back to the wild, but what if the animal is stressed and there isn’t time? Just band it. Adding a unique marker means you can get all the data you need later, when the bird is feeling better.

One of the most important parts of being a good field biologist is respecting and closely monitoring the wellbeing of your animals! I only pause for photos and video on healthy birds, and make sure to constantly check for signs of stress (puffing, eye closing, reduced activity).


A few photos from Marojejy National Park, Madagascar. I am currently sitting on a bent tree surrounded by leaf litter, rainforest, the deafening cries of cicadas, and the occasional bird song and frog call. I’ve been in the forest for almost two weeks, and in that time we have found an absolutely incredible diversity of species, including at least ten new to science. It has been a wonderful trip so far. Regrettably, it will be cut short, and tomorrow will be my last day in the forest because of unbelievably stupid bureaucratic issues with our research permits (I should be in the forest another week!) so the next two nights are going to be intense, trying to fill gaps in our findings and answer some questions as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The animals in order of appearance:
Platypelis/Cophyla sp. cf. noromalalae
Sanzinia madagascariensis
Boophis roseipalmatus
Uroplatus cf. fimbriatus
Parastenophis betsileanus
Uroplatus lineatus
Brookesia griveaudi

My pre-fieldwork checklist to make my post-fieldwork life better.

So I have this checklist of things that I consider essential field trip prep because it makes my life when I get back from the field so much better and relaxing.

  • Clean your house. 
    • Cause coming back from being dirty all week/weekend to a clean environment boosts your mood like crazy
  • Buy a 6-pack of your favorite beer and stick it in the refrigerator before you leave
    • Beer-showers are a must for me when I get back from the field (a.k.a I take my shower to scrub off all that grit and I drink a beer while I do it 10/10 would recommend)
    • Plus you know you’re gonna want to just relax with a cold beer after anyways
      • Exception to this being that your field area allows you access to a favorite beer. Buy that shit, and buy a lot while you are out. (I’m looking at you Mammoth Lakes Brewing Co. Epic IPA. Thanks for making my beer shower yesterday the best one yet) 
  • Fill up your water pitcher and put it in the refrigerator 
    • Cause although you wish you could only drink beer, you’re probably dehydrated as fuck and having cold, crisp water at hand is fucking excellent.
  • Lay out your most comfortable clothing/favorite relaxing outfit 
    • So you know it’s not dirty cause it may have made it with you on the trip
    • And after a beer shower, clean, comfy clothes are fucking amazing 
  • Take out the fucking trash
    • Just do it. Smelly homes are no bueno to come back to.
  • Make your bed with clean sheets 
    • Oh boy clean, crisp, not yet sweated-out sheets after a sleeping bad for days. You all know you love it. 
Arsonist’s Lullaby [2]

Summary: You are a pyrokinetic, being sought after by both Hydra and the Avengers. What will become of you?

Bucky Barnes X enhanced!Reader [eventually]

Word Count: 1689

Warnings: Angst, Mentions of Cancer, Death. 

A/N: Here’s part 2! As always feedback would be amazing, as this is quite different from my other stories. It’s going to be a slow burn for now at least (no pun intended). Please let me know if you want to be tagged, or untagged! :)

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