Lab Rats and Lab Mice
February 13, 2009
Several of the lab crew have arrived. The cast of characters so far…
Dr. Anna Wodzińska is the head of our (largely Polish) pottery team, which includes Alexandra Ksiezak, Edyta Klimaszewska-Drabot and Meredith Brand this season). Always hard working, AERA will be publishing Anna’s impressive 4 volume Egyptian Pottery Manual this year.
Archaeozoologist Dr. Richard Redding has worked all over the Middle East for nearly 40 years and has been with AERA since 1989. He’s also on AERA’s board (see also Pyramids and Protein). As ever, he’s living in his tent in the back yard.
Marina Milić (aka Serbia) is our lithics specialist, analyzing the chipped stone tools and debitage from the settlement. This is her second season with AERA and she’s done a brilliant job of organizing and analyzing our worked stone.
Will Schenck and his assistant Yasser Mahmoud are teaching illustration to their eight Advanced Field School students in the lab. Will has worked in Egypt since 1978, illustrating everything from scarabs to tomb decoration for excavations from most countries represented in Egypt – a veteran, a true professional and all around good guy.
Our osteologist Jessica Kaiser studies the human bone from the Late Period burials on the site. She and her team (Scott Haddow, Afaf Wahba, Ahmed Gabr and Zeinab Hashesh) are also teaching a portion of the osteology Field School component here in the lab. Jessica puts 100% into whatever she does, and is a gifted and much beloved teacher.
Emmy Malak works on the objects from the settlement several days a week. She is assisting Ana Tavares with this task and has created an expert database towards this end. Today our photographer, Jason Quinlan, is here taking pictures of various artifacts to help illustrate the lectures and posters to be presented at our 20th Anniversary Open Day (more about the Anniversary next week).
As for me, I‘m responsible for all the specialists/scientists on the team and also run the lab. I’ve been working as an archaeologist for 30 some years in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere and also have a specialty studying the plants from ancient settlements. Basically, I have my ideal job here – a good gig.
When the place is abuzz with activity and industry, as it is today, it’s the lab is at its best. To add to the atmosphere, we’ve had some serious sandstorms in the last few days, relentless winds from the Western Desert blowing across the Giza Plateau.
On Monday the mice in the lab finally discovered and then ate the gelatin capsules I sometimes use to put ancient seeds in. In retaliation, we set some live traps and have caught and released three so far. No doubt they’ll make their way back, probably with a few extra pals. More crew will be arriving next week too and there will be much to report.