The non-glamorous (but fun) life of an archaeologist and woodturner

My better half likes to call me Pig-Pen sometimes (well, actually a lot these days). Not the most flattering nickname, but I can’t blame her. I have a job where unless I’m working on a report, I’m out in the field, and when I’m home, I’m usually working in the yard or in the shop. That means I carry a lot of dirt and sawdust around with me, and I bring it into the house….What can I say? Even though I think I’ve brushed myself off, I inevitably leave a trail of debris wherever I go, only to have poor Lori follow me around with a dustpan and broom, haha.


Me out in the field messing with my mittens while mapping points with a total station. We work year-round.


My crew out on the same project. There are few glamorous National Geographic settings in the everyday life of an archaeologist. This was a particularly muddy affair trying to deal with some water issues in a trench. Think this looks bad? You should have seen us when we walked out of there and headed back to the hotel after a long day….


This is me weighing rough turned bowl blanks before I do a final turning. Yes, it would make more sense to bring the scale into the shop, but I never claim to operate solely with logic.


Lori gathered up close-up evidence of my debris. I thought I had brushed myself off well enough. Maybe not….


Ah, yes, more debris, and it’s even sticking to my very fashionably beat up steel-toed Doc Martens. I promise I really thought I had brushed myself off before going inside!

My concerns regarding the “debris” usually are more limited to whether I brought any ticks home from the field or whether the dogs will mistake a curly wood chip for a tantalizing bit of bread or cheese that we accidentally dropped onto the floor. It’s annoying to sometimes find that the washing machine never really gets rid of all the sawdust in my pockets, so I end up dirty before I get out there, but then I figure I’ll just get more sawdust in there anyway, and I shrug my shoulders (shrugging them even now as I think about it).

Lori is VERY understanding. Did I mention that? VERY UNDERSTANDING.

So I’ve been getting ready for the Harrodsburg Oktoberfest in October and Berea Holiday Makers Market in November, and I’m really excited about them. This means I’ve been putting in time in the shop every day (and creating more wood chip piles in my wake whenever I go in the house to get something).

I’ve been working on some pens…


A cut up bocote bottle stopper blank that had gone awry…


quickly transformed on my lathe…


into Victoria (who I describe as a Beckham in the form of a pen). Click here to read about her on Etsy!

And other things have not gone so well, as for example, what would have been a very nice cherry pen cup that ended up maimed in a “lathe incident” (don’t tell OSHA).


Even with General Sherman on guard, this pen cup met its end. Tragic.

All in all, things are going well, and good things are coming out of the shop and onto the Etsy highway. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep my Pig-Pen status to a minimum, but I make no promises…. (sorry, Lori!)

Thanks for stopping by!