Drowning in Pottery

This is a brilliant field school. I am having so much fun here already, and I’ve been here for four days. So far we are still getting primed in the city of Xi’an, which is near the site that we’ll be excavating. We’ve been doing a lot of basic stuff on Neolithic-Han dynasty Chinese archaeology and some theory/method stuff. We visited the pottery and osteology labs here today and they were SO AWESOME. There are 5 Chinese students in my course, and we have the greatest conversations. I learn so much from them about their methods, archaeological words in Mandarin and their history, which they know infinitely better than I. We have some really engaging conversations about tool use, jade types, prestige items, kilns, mapping terminology, etc. We have class in the mornings usually and then go out to a museum or a site near here. Xi’an and the greater province of Shaanxi has so much history it is incredible. There has been continuous occupation of the area since the paleolithic, and it feels like there are more museums than modern inhabitants.

I can’t wait to get out to the field! I’ve been doing a lot of reading about pottery, excavation and the Neolithic in general. Relatively speaking, I wasnt all that excited about the Neolithic until we got down to the nitty gritty of pottery lips and decorations today. I am so excited to get to work! We go out on Saturday and we start work on Monday. I can’t wait!

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