In 2011, I composed a research paper looking at the relationship between cremation and inhumation in early Anglo-Saxon England to present at the Sacramento SAA conference. However, due to impending birth of my son, I could not attend and so I presented in absentia. I was delighted to learn both that my paper was well received and our session, organised by Ian Kuijt, Colin Quinn and Gabriel Cooney, won the SAA Amerind Foundation Prize. This meant that many of us had the opportunity to reconvene at the Amerind Museum near Dragoon, Arizona, in November 2011, for a seminar in which we took the idea of the session forward to publication.
I hadn’t been to the USA since 2001, in fact I was stranded in NYC a few days because of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. 10 years and 2 months later, I finally got on a plane again across the Atlantic, and two more (Philadelphia to Phoenix and Phoenix to Tucson) to get to my destination. This 48 hours round-trip well- worth it because I got to meet and discuss my favourite archaeological topic with some of the brightest and friendliest archaeologists I know. It was an amazing and rare experience of a fabulous location and landscape, great in-depth debate and superb food and drink.
In addition to our long meetings discussing our papers and how to improve them towards publication, we also got the opportunity to explore the museum itself with director John Ware. Here we got to see many of the rich artefacts collected by William Shirley Fulton from the South-West as well as elsewhere in the Americas.
Also in our spare time, we took walks through the evening and early morning through Texas Canyon. I heard coyotes and saw owls. I climbed up to the highest rock outcrops – a semi-desert version of Dartmoor – and experienced some spectacular views over southern Arizona and onwards over the border to Mexico. We also had a great trip to Apache Springs and Fort Bowie.
Fire and the Body: Cremation as a Social Context, edited by Ian Kuijt, Colin Quinn and Gabriel Cooney
I am now excited to announce that I have signed a contract with the University of Arizona Press for my two contributions to the book resulting from the SAA conference and the Amerind Seminar. Entitled ‘Fire and the Body: Cremation as a Social Context’, the book will be edited by Ian Kuijt, Colin Quinn and Gabriel Cooney.
I am authoring my own paper about the interplay of cremation and inhumation: A Well-Urned Rest: Cremation and Inhumation in Early Anglo-Saxon England.
Also, I am working with the superbly talented archaeologist and physical anthropologist Jessica. I. Cerezo-Román on a concluding piece that attempts to outline future directions for research in the archaeology of cremation: Future Directions for the Archaeology of Cremation.
The full list of contributors to the book is: Joanna Brück, Jessica. I. Cerezo-Román, Della Cook, Gabriel Cooney, Lynne Goldstein, Ian Kuijt, Åsa M Larsson, Katy Meyers, Liv Nilsson Stutz, Colin P. Quinn, Mark Schurr, Tim Flohr Sørensen, David Hurst Thomas and Howard Williams.
I currently understand the book is scheduled for publication in 2014.