Sunday, July 6, 2008

Brandon Olson: Penn State University

My name is Brandon Olson and this is my first year with the Mopsos Survey. I am a PhD candidate at Penn State in the Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies program. I have been asked to oversee the operations of this blog for the 2008 season and I gladly obliged. Over the next few days other contributors will provide personal introductions where they will describe their academic interests and explain why they decided to come to Turkey this year. After the initial introductions I anticipate this blog serving, as it did last year, as a public medium where contributors can discuss issues such as the daily grind of an archaeological survey, interesting finds, personal experiences, learning experiences, and their overall interpretations and opinions of what they are doing and why. That said I would like to provide my introduction.

In 2003 I earned a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology/archaeology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. In 2004 I earned a Master’s degree in European Historical Archaeology focusing on antiquity from the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, England. After completing the program I became interested in utilizing history within archaeology. I realized that in order to do this I required formal training in history. So in 2007 I earned a Master’s degree in history from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Now I am at Penn State studying both the history and archaeology of the Roman Empire.

I decided to participate in the Mopsos Survey to, above all, enhance my archaeological training in the eastern Mediterranean. For the last three years I have worked in southern Cyprus with the Pyla Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (PKAP). Although I have worked with four other projects in the U.S. and Britain, PKAP really provided me with the fundamental archaeological training in a Mediterranean context. I hope to utilize this training while I am in Turkey. For each field season I try to set a few goals. Since this is my first year here I have yet to have a solid research design. Therefore my two goals for this season are simple. I hope to become proficient enough in GIS (ArcGIS) to make basic maps essential for my research and become more familiar with Roman pottery forms to better prepare me for working with the material next year.

The goal of this blog now is to provide posts daily but long days, internet issues, and fatigue may cause periodic lapses. I do maintain a personal blog, which I will on occasion double publish with this one. All the material, however, will be Mopsos Survey specific. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome.

Brandon Olson

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