April 06, 2005

the rantings of a febrile mind

It is always faintly disturbing when you find that, in order to do research into your chosen area of archaeological theory and practice, you are spending more time looking at technical papers and the hypothetical wish-lists of the great and good, than you do at established journals and books. I am also learning to be wary of the words "in print", "forthcoming paper", and most dreaded of all, the phrase "we talked about this at TAG last year and it sounded like fun!"

I had come to accept that, given the rate of change in the field of computing and archaeology, I would have to be wary of things written six years ago. I hadn't, until today, quite grasped the fact that it would behoove me to be wary of articles written as little as six months ago.

This is the position I find myself in.

It seemed like a good idea back in February, when initial discussions for a dissertation topic were underway. Something exciting, fresh, and new that hadn't been looked into yet. Roll on April, an attempt to compile some form of basic bibliography, and an incipient nervous breakdown. Not one article in the pile on the floor has (1) come from a published book, or (2) got a publication date before 2002. I lie. One has a date of 1999, but that is purely theoretical in bent, talks only of the potential of ICT systems, and is positively antidiluvian in its out look anyway. Add to that there only seems to be ten names making any sense in the field as it is, the growing appreciation that as a post-grad I am rapidly reaching, if not the same, then the level just below, that of these people, and you have one Cas wishing she was back digging in a hole somewhere on the Isle of Man. At least I got a good tan that summer!

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