I'm now employed as a Research Archaeologist at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS). My position involves no teaching, which I'm finding to be a relief. Like the rest of the University of Illinois, we're operating under COVID constraints, which means I have yet to meet many of my colleagues face-to-face. I've been busy writing grant proposals, working on transportation-related archaeology projects, and pushing forward with some of my own research. I recently gave a talk on some of what I'm interested in pursuing now that I've moved back to the Midwest. You can watch it here:
I've got a great workshop space at our new place - half of a barn. I've been working out there occasionally but it's been tough to find the time once you add "pandemic" into the work-life balance. And it's been cold. So I've been spending most of the time I have for art on drawing. I feel like my 2D art game has really improved over the last year, and things are starting to fall into place in the strange way that art things do. I haven't been good about updating my art website, but I have added a store section with some 2D work for sale. Eventually I'll have more on there and will add sculptures back into the mix. Given how little time I have for art, I'd much rather do it than work on a website about it.
Pseudoarchaeology is perhaps the part of my old life that I have the least time for right now. Most of what comes across my radar is pretty boring, honestly, and it's difficult to justify spending a whole lot of time and energy having the same arguments over and over again. I don't even read many of the comments I get on old blog posts or my YouTube videos.
The most interesting thing I've seen lately is the inter-connectivity of pseudoarchaeological nonsense and the conspiracy theory baloney about the "stolen election" that led to a bunch of idiots storming the U.S. Capitol. None of it surprised me, and none of it should have surprised anybody who's been paying attention. The mainstream media still doesn't understand the connections between these layers of conspiracy theory, anti-intellectual sentiment, and white supremacist fantasies about the past, though, and perhaps it never will. If you're looking for evidence of crossover, you need look no further than the fact that "100% confirmed Roman sword" advocate J. Hutton Pulitzer traded in his treasure hunter costume for a suit and became a star witness for Team Trump arguing for voter fraud in Georgia. I heard an interesting interview with the lawyers for Dominion (the voting machines that were under attack) where they were asked "how can you demonstrate malice if someone really thought what they were saying was true?" They answered that one avenue was to demonstrate that someone repeatedly relied on sources they knew to be not credible. Rim shot.