Episode 17 “Great Odin’s Raven- it’s Archaeology 101!


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Hi friends, welcome to Episode 17 of The Struggling Archaeologist’s Guide to Getting Dirty Podcast “Great Odin’s Raven-it’s Archaeology 101!”

In this fun filled episode we tackle some of the basics of excavation, with a focus on why archaeology and geology are old friends- and how this makes us better at what we do. It’s like taking that Archaeology 101 class you never got around to in college! (Unless you actually did take that class, then it’s more of a review of things you probably already know…sorry). In this new segment “Back to Basics with Jenny” I get all lectury on your asses while I impart some sweet knowledge on you like:

  • How did our knowledge of stratification and the geological time scale come to be?
  • How does this relate to dating, fossils, and artifacts?
  • What does any of this have to do with archaeology?
  • Why is Ken Ham a jerk face?
  • What will happen to your stuff when zombies eat your face?
  • What does my imaginary dystopian future look like?
  • What do archaeologists do when we’re not fighting Nazis?

And much much more! Also, there’s a shorty news segment at the beginning of the podcast about a pretty cool new archaeological discovery- namely, THE HAMMER OF THOR! So I threw in some cool stuff about comic-book movies, norse mythology, Tom Hiddleston, ancient runes, Vikings, and Hogwarts just for fun.

That’s all, and if you were wondering what that sweet Mjöllnir (hammer of Thor) amulet looks like- here it is!



This bronze amulet dates to the 10th century and was discovered on the Danish island of Lolland. The runes on the back read “This is a hammer”

(Credit: National Museum of Denmark)



This is an actual depiction of the Norse God Thor wielding said magical hammer.


(Credit: Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios)

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McNiven Out!



Podcastless for one more week!


Hi friends! It’s your friendly neighborhood struggling archaeologist here…

Just wanted to inform my lovely listeners/readers that unfortunately you will have to wait one more week until a new podcast episode (I know, I know, how will you go on?)

But never fear, I will be back before long to bring you some fantastic news and goings on from around the spheroid. Why this gap in publication you ask? Well it’s been a pretty crazy last few weeks for me. My inner showgirl was let out of her shell and forced to perform showtunes in fancy costumes in front of throngs of screaming fans (i.e. I was in a musical!)…(and yes, it was really just like that). And even though the show ends tomorrow I won’t have enough time to record before I leave town for a week!

Leaving us you say (single tear), but how long? Only a week dear friends. I will be doing some field work out in the mountains where no technology survives and I will be forced to camp and eat elderberries and forsake all modern extravagances like communication with the outside world… So wish me luck (don’t worry, I have pepper spray to ward off bear attacks), and I will return soon with some awesome new posts and podcasts, so stay tuned!

Your bestie,


Medieval Scottish Village Brought to Light in New Investigation

Hey lads and lasses! Check out this super fun article by Ben Miller of Culture24.org.uk “

“Archaeologists find ‘lost’ medieval village full of pottery, coins and bones in Scottish Borders”


Miller reports on the discovery of a “lost” Medieval town in Southern Scotland, likely spanning from the 15th to 17th centuries, and associated with the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645. Recovery also includes artifacts from 18th and 19th century activity at the site.

The site report on this project (also linked at the bottom of the article) by Bob Will, Alan Hunter Blair, and others, is a really good read. As someone with a moderate obsession with all things Scottish (my ancestors were in Scotland at the time of the battle of Philiphaugh), I’m always super excited to read about sites like this.

It’s also a great example of how a multi-disciplinary approach can be really successful on historical sites. The location of the battlefield was derived through documentary research in conjunction with archaeological survey by Historic Scotland, the University of Stirling (under Dr. T Turpie), and the Center for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. Following work on the battlefield component, a cultural resource survey by Alan Hunter Blair for GUARD Archaeology, Ltd. in preparation for the construction of a pipeline, brought to light the extent of Medieval occupation in the area.

Now (happily), the pipeline has been rerouted and this exciting site can be studied and commemorated properly! I think this may require a celebratory scotch or two 😉

v0_master (1)(Photo 1: Fieldwork being undertaken at the site Photo 2: A spindle whorl recovered in the excavations. All photos © Guard Archaeology Ltd)