When Indiana Jones first came to life in the cinema, I was instantly caught up in the fantasy of an archaeologist living life on the edge, experiencing one adventure after another. As I grew older this developed into a deep love and appreciation for history, as well as the true nature of archaeology and how it helped to further broaden our understanding of the very nature of who we are. However, I was consistently encouraged to give up on the ‘mad notion’ of studying the discipline at University and bowing to pressure at the time, I pursued my second love, art. I wouldn’t know it at the time, but it would end up giving me a solid foundation upon which to work when finally, some fifteen years later I would finally start upon my journey in what was to prove the most rewarding decision I could have ever made.
After much ill health after an accident which left me partially disabled, I decided pursue a degree in Historical Archaeology at the University of York. It was wonderful to be in an environment that both challenged and stimulated me on such a rare level. I was able to build upon subjects such as the art & design, socialism, modernism, philosophy, science and theology that I had previously studied as well as various life skills, in particular from the military, which guaranteed that I could engage with my learning on a unique and enriching level. In my time at York I went from strength to strength, finding a particular interest in the intricacies of theory and an undiscovered love of pre-history. It seemed for all intents and purposes that I was going to come out with a top degree and be ready for my master’s and beyond. Sadly, in my third year, I took gravely ill. In January 2012, I was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called Arnold Chiari Malformation. Suddenly it appeared as though everything that I had worked so hard for was gone. However, over the following eighteen months, I slowly improved.
In time my circumstances changed dramatically and I found myself living near London. Not satisfied with my health nor my current situation, I pursued a new medical opinion. After receiving a new diagnosis and living plan for the future, I quickly saw a remarkable change in everything from my cognitive function to my physical health and wellbeing. I simply could not believe the difference, and with the support of the amazing friends in my life (who have helped me equally as much in ways they likely cannot even imagine) I started the process of rebuilding my life. After countless job applications, interviews and let-downs, I was getting quite disheartened, but suddenly a few months ago everything seemed to start coming together. I went to a Graduate Recruitment Fair at the University of London, and the rest, as they say, is history. Without boring you with the details, one thing led to another and I found myself in the UCL Archaeology Department facing an amazing prospect at a centre for learning which tapped back into what I was passionate about. Finally here was a place that I could establish myself once again and continue my academic journey through a new undergraduate degree and beyond into post-graduate research. Never once did it come into my mind that I might try to pick up where I left off, instead I adopted a clean slate approach, knowing that towards the end at York I may have not been at my best.
Yet here I was, offers in hand and the Archaeological world once again as my oyster. I have worked diligently to ensure that I will not be ruled by what happened and will endeavour to exceed expectation so that I might achieve the best possible results moving forward. I’m looking forward to being given the chance to show even a fraction of the passion and talent I can whilst being able to give back even a fragment of what inspires me and see the impact that can have. Simply being able to engage with the archaeological community once again is nothing short of magic. While I may never truly be able to repay the debt I owe to those who have so willingly looked after me over these past months, by succeeding I can at least prove that their investment in me was not in vain. So yes, readers, that means the Archaeological Anarchist is back!
All the best
The Archaeological Anarchist