31 July 2010

Man On The Moon

Blog post title taken from one of my favourite R.E.M. songs.

Top picture: Maschen, Germany. The largest marshalling yard in Europe (2nd largest worldwide after Bailey Yard, North Platte, NE).
Bottom picture: Night sky above Bardowick, Germany. F/5.6; ISO400; 240 seconds. Both pictures taken in July 2010.

The second week of the excavation has gone by real fast. We found more bronze, iron, and pottery. In addition, we found a lot of bones, mostly of cattle. The digging gets harder and harder the deeper we dig. I've never worked so hard in my life but I'm loving every minute of it and I know I made the right decision when I signed up for a degree in archaeology a year ago. 

Today I'm gonna relax and be lazy all day long because I feel every muscle in my body and every bone in my hands. Next week would've been my last regular week but I decided to continue  digging for another week. In that fourth week, I'll be a regular worker already, so they're paying 30 Euros per day, which sounds good to me.

Have a nice weekend!

- Dom

26 July 2010

London Calling

Richmond upon Thames. 2007 archive shot.

Yesterday evening as the sun set slowly in the west, I went out for a ride on the racing cycle. By accident, I had earlier stumbled upon a book full of photographs of the English coast published by the National Trust and as I rode along empty roads, I recalled how once I had planned to hike the full length of the  Cornish Coast Path. This must've been during my first visit to Cornwall in 2002. On another visit two or three years later, I changed my plans and decided I'd ride along the path on a mountain bike. Another couple years later, I changed this plan once again; I said that one day I'm gonna drive along all of southern England's coastline. Not just the Cornish coast, but also that of Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Kent, Somerset, and the Sussexes.

Whenever I plan a trip, I pay attention to every detail; I do a lot of research to find out where the most beautiful locations and all the archaeological and historical sites are at, and I must admit I wouldn't want to drive the route I had planned for Denmark, Norway and Sweden all on my own. It's one hell of a long drive. 

So the new plan is to drive along England's southern coast and stop in all the beautiful little villages. There's a lot of places I'd like to see again. I'm planning to spend a day or two in London too. Gonna keep you updated on this.

Have a great week!

- Dom

25 July 2010

Saints Of The Soil

A little update on what's been happening at the excavation site:

On Friday, we'd reached a level of roughly a metre below the sealing layer. I was lucky and found a bronze fibula with an enamel depiction of a saint. It's from the Middle Ages, ca. 10th or 11th century, and the archaeologist said it's one of the best ones ever to have been found in that village (please understand that I won't be able to mention any information concerning the location). 

In addition to this great discovery, we found some more bronze fibulas, coins, iron nails, pottery, and slag. Last but not least, part of the wall of a house has been uncovered.

We were introduced to an important tool at archaeological excavations, the dumpy level, which is actually not as difficult to work with as I had imagined.

More information: Excavation; Fibula  

There was nothing interesting on the telly yesterday, so I went out to shoot some long exposures... here's the best one.

Petrol station and garage, Bardowick, Germany. 
July 2010.
200 seconds, F/10, ISO 200

Have a nice weekend.

- Dom

22 July 2010

Like A Rolling Stone

With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

(Bob Dylan)

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City. 
Previously unreleased July 2009 archive shot which I've wanted to upload for a while now.

Today was the fourth day of the excavation. We found more 10th and 11th century pottery, as well as some pieces made of bronze and iron respectively. The work is still the same as on the days before, but it's getting harder to keep digging, so I'm looking forward to relax on the weekend. It's a very rewarding job though - I can't remember the last time I've been so tired that I slept like a baby.

I went to the British shop in Hamburg yesterday after work, where I bought some goods from the UK - Abbot Ale, Innis & Gunn, Scrumpy Jack, and Woodpecker (my favourite cider)... gonna spoil myself this weekend. The owner is such a friendly fellow too.

Hope you enjoyed your week so far...

- Dom

19 July 2010

Forever Young

We could sleep in the twilight 
By the river bed
With a wide open country in our eyes 
And these romantic dreams in our heads

Bruce Springsteen
"No Surrender" (alternative version)

The title of this blog post has been taken from a song by Bob Dylan.

Somewhere near Lake Mead in Nevada.
 June 2009. 

Goodnight y'all.

- Dom

Walk Of Life

Grand Central, New York City. July 2009.

All those moments will be lost in time, 
like tears in rain.

(Blade Runner)

Song title taken from the third track on "Brothers In Arms", the brilliant Dire Straits album.

So today was my first day at the excavation... 

I enjoyed it a lot... I worked hard, basically just digging through different layers of earth, about 60 to 80 centimetres deep for roughly six hours. Found some bits and pieces of pottery, probably from the 11th century AD, the supervisor said.

One of my college buddies who is working at the same excavation put in a lot of effort too, but just like in school, there's always a bunch of lazy guys and gals who sit in the shade most of the time. And this has only been the first day of the dig. We'll be working three weeks. Might as well think about another job if they're too much of a sissy to work them shovels and spades.

Have a great week!

- Dom

18 July 2010

Running On Faith

Ain't got no time to take new pictures this weekend, although I got plans to shoot an interesting new building in Hamburg next weekend.

I'm currently taking a break from writing a short (five pages) essay about an Attic bilingual amphora featuring a depiction of Greek god Dionysos. Gotta finish this one before tonight and hand it in tomorrow after the dig. I'll be working on the excavation site from half past eight until four o'clock in the afternoon.

The North Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona. June 2009. 

Have a nice weekend!

- Dom

15 July 2010

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

Title taken from a song by Eric Clapton. Also frequently played this week: When You Say Nothing At All by Alison Kraus, which was only recently introduced to me by a friend who shares my taste in music and my love for Mucha.

I'm busy studying for what is hopefully my last exam this semester (I might have to resit another exam originally written on Wednesday). The one tomorrow is the resit exam of the one written on Monday, which I failed. Those two are both from my minor, Classic Archaeology. My major, which is Archaeology concerning itself with the periods of prehistory and protohistory, suits me much more. It's much less based on the history of ancient arts and architecture but more of an applied science instead.  

I can't wait for the excavation to begin this coming Monday. The hands-on work in the field is what I'm mainly interested in. Originally, it was supposed to be the excavation of a Saxon burial ground. The subject has been changed; now I'm going to take part in a salvage excavation because there's a supermarket gonna be built at an archaeological site in a nearby village real soon, and they think there might be remains from the Middle Ages. I reckon I won't be allowed to take any pictures, but I never cared much about rules anyways so I might just take some  photos on the last day because then I can't get fired anymore.

I'm happy the semester is over... I signed up for too many classes, which lead to me dropping out of some again. I always think big, so I had set me the overambitious goal of getting more than 45 credit points this semester - in Germany, you need 180 credit points to get your Bachelor of Arts degree after six semesters... that means you'll do perfectly fine with 30 points per semester. I think there's a different system being used in the UK, but I never bothered to learn more about that because I always knew I'd fail to even get through UCAS.

Rügen, Germany. July 2009.

The chalk cliffs are not as majestic as the Seven Sisters in Sussex, which I always loved way more than the more well-known cliffs of Dover. They might be more beautiful though because of the dense tree population. Along with the Scandinavia trip, I plan on visiting Rügen again this summer to get some decent long exposures in the morning and afternoon. The cliffs are famous for a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, who stood on top of one of the cliffs to the left of the position of my camera, which is now gone due to erosion.

Have a great weekend!

- Dom

13 July 2010

Blue Moon Revisited

The title of tonight's blog post has been taken from one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded.

Near Lüneburg, Germany. July 2010.

So the 2010 World Cup is over. The final was a disappointment. The Dutch side must have mistaken the football pitch for a battlefield and the Spanish team simply didn't play well either. Throughout the whole tournament they only scored eight goals. 

I enjoyed the third-place playoff on Saturday much more. Both the Germans and the Uruguayans played way better than Sunday's finalists... they played fair and with a great amount of passion... that's the reason why I think Diego Forlán (Golden Ball award) and Thomas Müller (Golden Boot award as well as Best Young Player award) totally deserved to win their personal awards too.

Have a great week!

- Dom

10 July 2010

Why Worry

Ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

(Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA)

The things they do, the things they say
But baby I'll wipe away those bitter tears
I'll chase away those restless fears
That turn your blue skies into grey 

(Dire Straits - Why Worry)

Kingman, Arizona. A little more than one year ago.

Germany's World Cup squad claimed third place against a tough team from Uruguay in a match that was a lot of fun to watch.  Now I'm hoping the Dutch side will win against Spain in the final tomorrow.

Earlier today, I watched coverage of the seventh stage of the Tour de France and I must admit that Chavanel was stunning to watch... what a great ride that was! 

I had earlier come back from a difficult bike ride myself, climbing the slopes in and around Lüneburg. The motorists behave aggressively towards cyclists over here and I still find it difficult to clip into my new pedals (just got them yesterday). In addition, the chain makes a strange noise when changing gears although the shift levers seem to be working fine. Any clue what might be the reason for this? I'm not technically savvy...

Have a nice weekend.

- Dom

04 July 2010

Days Of Heaven

One of the things I love most about summer is the last hour before the sun finally sets behind the horizon, followed by that short period during which the sky quickly turns from light blue to dark blue and then fades into night.

Terrence Malick filmed almost an entire movie during magic hour, and it’s one of the most beautiful films ever made. It’s called “Days Of Heaven” and features Richard Gere in his first major role. The soundtrack, composed by Ennio Morricone, is simply brilliant.
Lüneburg, Germany. July 2010.

Goodnight y'all.

- Dom  

Picture In A Frame

"Picture In A Frame", a great song by Tom Waits.

Somewhere in the fields around Lüneburg, Germany. July 2010.

Late yesterday night, after watching the world cup match Germany vs. Argentina with my friends from uni and attending a weekend seminar at a blacksmith's shop, I watched the Norwegian movie North. It's sort of an off-road movie rather than a road movie, and the protagonist, who's depressive and about to meet his young son for the first time, comes across some really interesting characters. I'll recommend the movie to everyone who's got a good sense of humour.

I found a well-written short article featuring loads of pictures  of one of the coolest people ever, Steve McQueen. What a man - and it seems like he never did anything else but act in movies, drive his cars and ride his motorcycles. Here are two great quotes...

I live for myself and I answer to nobody.

When I believe in something, 
I fight like hell for it.

Have a great week!

- Dom