Blogging Archaeology: January

Written by: Katy Meyers Emery

Primary Source: Bones Don’t Lie

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Thumbs up for the best of BDL’s posts! Image via Sharp Cookie

This post is the third question in the Blogging Archaeology Carnival hosted by Doug’s Archaeology. You can read a summary of questions from last month’s carnival on why we blog and learn more about this month’s question on his website. This month’s question is about our best and worst posts. Within blogging, best/worst can define a lot of different things. Quantitatively, there are posts that get the most hits and comments, and those with the least. Qualitatively, there are articles that have created the best discussions, garnered the best feedback, and then those which were not accepted well by the audience. There are also just posts written that we either like or didn’t like regardless of what the audience felt. In order to answer this question, I’m going to look at the few different bests and worsts.

Quantitative Best (What do the numbers say?)

  • By far the most popular post I have ever written is “Viking Women: A Reinterpretation of the Bones”. The reason for its high popularity is that there is a strong Viking interest group who continually is posting and using the post in discussions on Reddit. It is also the post that has received the second most comments with 21 total (Most comments goes to “Displaying the Famous Dead” with 42!). The post was also reblogged onto 5 other websites. My newer Viking posts are also fairly popular and have numerous comments. I don’t think I expected that these posts would be some of the most popular, but because of them I do try to make an effort to find new articles and news on Viking sites.
  • The most popular series of articles I’ve done has been the “Bones Abroad” posts. Each of my posts from Italy and England are among the most visited, and everyday someone visits my site using the search term “Florence” or “Pompeii”. These posts bring in a completely different type of audience from my normal audience, and that is fun. I love getting emails from unexpected people wondering where they can find excellent mortuary sites in other countries. Luckily for me, I continue to travel for research and will be able to add more content to this series. I also find it funny that this is one of the more popular types of posts since my first ever blogging experience was a blog I started called Bones Abroad. It was primarily meant for my family members to keep in touch while I was doing my MSc in Scotland! (And yes, the site still exists and you can visit it)

Qualitative (Best comments and discussions)

  • The highest number of comments, and by far the one of the greatest qualitative is shockingly my short post that announced I was taking a brief hiatus from blogging to take my PhD exams. So many readers commented on the post, emailed me, or tweeted me to wish me good luck and send their support. I was completely surprised and flattered that everyone was rooting for me. It was an amazing feeling to know that I had such an amazing audience! (Love you guys!)
  • Last year, I wrote a weird post that I wasn’t sure was going to be received well call “New Morbid Terminology: Coffin Birth”. This was my first post that got picked up by major news and Scientific American authors through twitter. It was even nominated as one of the top Scientific Blogging posts of 2012! It spread like wildfire! It also led to the creation of more morbid terminology posts, which continue to be a fun type of post to write.

My Takeaway from the ‘Best’

  • What I’ve learned over years of blogging about mortuary archaeology and bioarchaeology, is that in general what people like about my posts is the variety. Yes, there is a great Viking contingency following me, yes there are forensics people who contact me and want to learn more about modern things, and yes, there are tourists who want more on locations and trips. In the end, what I hear the most is that the blog is a great way to see the breadth and variety of work that occurs within this discipline.
  • I am often tempted to blog more about my own personal work on cremation remains and Anglo-Saxon England, but I think its important not to become so focused on my own sub-fields. This blog is my excuse for continuing to learn about my field broadly, and I am glad that I have an amazing audience who supports this!

But this isn’t just about me… what are your favorites? What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? This is your chance to help shape Bones Don’t Lie!!!

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Katy Meyers Emery
Katy is currently a graduate student studying mortuary archaeology at Michigan State University. Her academic interests are in mortuary and bioarchaeology, with a specific interest in connecting the physical remains to the mortuary context. Along with this, she is also interested in Digital Humanities, and the integration of technology into academia, as well as public archaeology and outreach.
Katy Meyers Emery

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