Episode 27 “Ranger Danger”



Hello and Welcome back for Episode 27 of The Struggling Archaeologist’s Guide to Getting Dirty “Ranger Danger!”

It’s the end of field season, so it’s time to discuss field work do’s and don’ts and then get safety conscious with a talk about the dangers of field archaeology. I had a fun time discussing this topic with some of my archaeology internet friend-type people, who contributed some of their horror stories from the field. It’s hard out there for an arch sometimes, but don’t let that scare you, it’s still an exciting and rewarding career that will keep you on your toes no matter where you’re working!

I was so jazzed about this topic that I created a little infographic for you to demonstrate what I’m talking about and present some of the info from the pod in a more streamlined manner. Here it is, and yes, that is me in the purple shirt and camo hat! It’s hard finding royalty free pictures of archaeologists in proper field gear, so I had to use myself as the model. I think I really make the whole infographic 😉
I also threw in a shorty news piece about glacier archaeology because COOLNESS.
Here are links to things I mention in the podcast:

So that’s it for the show folks. Hope you liked it and feel a little bit more confident heading out into the wide world to do your thing. Remember to check out this and other great archaeology podcasts on the Archaeology Podcast Network. And as always, contact me at:



@strugglingarch on Twitter


McNiven Out!


Episode 24 “The Mother of All Archaeology Podcasts”


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HEY! It’s me, Jenny, and I’m back baby! It’s time for episode 24 of The Struggling Archaeologist’s Guide to Getting Dirty, and this one is the MOTHER of all archaeology podcasts.

I can say that because I gave birth in the middle of this podcast. You’ll have to listen to it to find out exactly how that went down, but I promise you it was pretty exciting. SO, where have I been for the last oh, I don’t know, 6 months??? Really really pregnant for 3 of them and trying to clean spit-up out of my clothes and hair for the other 3. Having a baby is hard work, and so while my attention has been elsewhere for a while I have been continuing to keep up with the archaeology world at large and thinking of lots of great podcasts to bring you in 2016.

This podcast continues on the theme of pregnancy/childbirth that I started last episode. But this time I’m tackling pregnancy within the field, as a struggling and very pregnant rchaeologist. For those of you who wonder about whether you can start a family while working, or worry about how you will be treated as a big old preggo in the field- tune in to hear all about my personal experience during this past year.

Then it’s time to review two of the biggest news stories in archaeology during 2015: is there a hidden chamber in King Tut’s tomb? And what’s up with this new hominin Homo naledi?

To read more on the Homo naledi discovery click here and here! To read more on King Tut’s tomb click here! Also, don’t forget to check out this and other great archaeology podcasts on the Archaeology Podcast Network!

I would write more, but there’s a baby gnawing on my left hand and typing is kind of difficult. #mommyproblems

Here’s a picture of me in the field at 7 months pregnant, and the adorable archaeobaby that has stolen my heart… and time and energy.









Cheers, McNiven out!



Episode 16 “Go West, Young (Wo)Man!”


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Welcome back friends! It’s another fantabulous episode of basically the best podcast that ever lived, “The Struggling Archaeologist’s Guide to Getting Dirty!”

So perhaps you noticed that I disappeared from the interwebs all of last week, that’s because I was working outside the reach of modern technology (and air conditioning). I had a fun week camping and surveying in the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico, which sounded like a pretty good topic for this week’s episode. We discuss the history of pioneering logging efforts in this area, as well as what an archaeological survey is like (well, at least a Jenny-style one!).

The Zuni Mountain Railroad operated between 1890 and1930, and created a web of industrial and cultural landscapes snaking through the pine forests and hills of central New Mexico. Now a national park, the remains of the railroads and the men and women who lived hard lives in the shadow of the mountains are scattered through the area. The efforts of the Park Service will hopefully allow for the preservation of this valuable cultural heritage.

Have fun listening to the podcast, here are some of the pictures I promised from my super fun week out in the woods! Be sure to follow me at thestrugglingarchaeologist.tumblr.com  and on twitter @strugglingarch!

McNiven OUT!



My gigantic palace tent!






Remains from the Zuni Mountian Railroad, ready for surveying!





I found a fork! Forks are the best!






This rail line disappears into the ravine (a product of recent erosion)




A turn-of-the-century cabin, almost lost completely to the eroding canyon below…












My excitement over said trestle






El Morro national park






The El Morro Pueblo, perched atop the massive Cliffside…





The El Morro Kiva







The top of El Morro







Rock art from the El Morro site




That’s all folks, thanks for reading, enjoy the podcast and visit your state’s national parks this summer!