Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Update from Catalhoyuk

In the absence of real updates, I thought I'd post some of my site diary entries. The power has been very dodgy the past few days so I might do a big catch up on email and whatever in Konya on Friday (our day off). Interestingly, Blogger has decided to present me the site in Turkish, presumably based on IP location, because the language settings on the browser are English-only. So if things go a bit strange it's because I can't really see what I'm doing.

19/07/2007
My first day on site this season. I feel like I've been pole-axed with tiredness after the trip out here, so I'm concentrating on catching up on Sarah's documentation [for her work on site this year] and generally remembering how everything works.

24/07/2007
Just had a random thought, though it's a shame I didn't think of it at the start so we could tell everyone who's been on site over the season - any blog posts, photos or videos, blah blah blah, could use the same tag (like 'catal07') on public content, so it's easier to find everything from this season regardless of where it's held.

[And now that I'm posting this on a blog I suppose I should do that myself]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I keep bouncing between looking at the Figurines and Ceramics databases.
I've been nabbing poor Chris whenever he comes anywhere near the computer room and asking questions about heat treatment and cores; he's been very patient.

We had a long meeting in the cafe on Sunday, and I re-jigged the recording structures afterwards. I think possibly last year's structure was too ambitious, given the time constraints on everyone - not only for building it, but for mapping data from old structures to the new and mostly for the time it takes to simply record the objects as it went into lots of technical detail that probably isn't sustainable at the moment.

With that in mind, I tipped the recording model on its head so that it's much more about observation than interpretation at this stage, particularly for colours and the various things that variations in colour indicate. For example, rather than breaking heat exposure down into manufacture, use, other events or post-deposition, for the moment it's enough to record that it's present. I've designed the forms to allow people to record the probable type of heat exposure (and how certain they are about it) if there's evidence to support it, but if there's no evidence either way they don't have to record a probable reason. The structures can be extended as we find out more about the raw materials around the site - I think they might change views on the intentionality represented by the presence of various inclusions.

I've spent the day reviewing the ceramics database structures with a view to normalising them, and also to fitting them into the shared clay recording system. It's a continuation of work from previous seasons but with the added pressure(?) challenge(?) that other teams will be using versions of the ceramics databases soon too, so it's really important to get the data structures right. Nurcan has been really helpful and her explanations of some of the changes have helped me think about the best solutions to her recording issues.

Journalists were out yesterday, we had our photo taken under the Catalhoyuk sign near the gate. Apparently it'll be in Wednesday's papers. I wonder if people in London could pick up copies in the off-licences around Green Lanes. 'Famous in Turkey' - sounds like a band name.

It's funny how the diary entries are starting to read like blog entries, and in a way they seem to be functioning a bit like a blog too, with people commenting on each other's entries. I almost feel like I should add a field so people can record which diary entry they're writing about alongside the units, etc, but would that be far too self-referential?

When the database goes back to London and is put on the web I think we should put an 'AddThis' button on the various diary, finds and excavation pages so people can add pages to social bookmarking sites, blogs, etc. If we sign up for an account we can see how it's used - I wonder how much activity that kind of 'passive' use would see compared to 'active' use like commenting on finds or excavation data. I really need to find out more about the barriers to participation for actively creating content. I'll suggest the 'AddThis' thing to Ian and Shahina if I get a chance.

I'm starting to really wish I'd had my hair cut before I left London because it's taken on a life of its own. Not that it really matters out here, I guess.

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