Interactive Journey of the Zuytdorp Silver

Earlier this year I gave a presentation at the National Archaeology Student Conference about the silver assemblage from the wreckage of the Zuytdorp. The Zuytdorp was a Dutch ship wrecked on the Western Australian coast in 1712. After the failed salvage attempts of the Vergulde Draeck, another Dutch ship wrecked off WA, the Dutch didn’t bother sending anyone to look for survivors, and so the wreck represents a near complete assemblage of the ship’s cargo. Continue reading


Please treat me like a grownup!

The isolation that comes with postgrad research can be dangerous when you don’t know if what you’re going through is normal or not, OK or not. I guarantee your university has things in place to help you. Use them! Don’t suffer in silence, it isn’t worth it.
This post is from the Thesis Whisperer about supervisor bullying.

The Thesis Whisperer

One of the pleasures of running the thesis whisperer blog are the large number of emails I receive, on a daily basis, from research students located all over the world.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 5.16.27 pmSometimes students submit a guest post in response to the open invitation I have on my About page. Other times they just want to thank me – or tell me that they have finished their PhD and how I have helped them along the way. Both these kinds of letters make my heart burst with happiness. I couldn’t continue the blog without guest contributions. I love hearing the blog has been useful.

But there is another kind of letter I get. The type that makes me sad – even angry. Over the years I’ve become a kind of thesis ‘agony aunt’. Students from all over see me as someone to whom they can pour out their tales of woe to…

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What Not to Wear to University Graduation

I recently graduated… not from my PhD, from a BA Philosophy that has been kind of a nerdy hobby of mine for a long time. I struggled hard finding something to wear. All my clothes are in boxes everywhere because I’m moving house.

I ended up wearing nothing special, just what I had on that day with some heels I made my boyfriend bring from home into the city on the train. Lucky he is comfortable in his masculinity and he can carry women’s shoes around, sans woman. Long story short, I felt a bit drab, and I paid extra attention to what everyone else had on. It turns out, 20 year old ladies are not completely aware of the difference between dressing up to go out, and dressing up to go out out.

Continue reading

Academic assholes and the circle of niceness

Selfishness in academia is all around you, and is not always easy to spot. There’s the obvious higher ups putting their names on your papers when you did all the work, but there’s also the less obvious. If you want to get something done and you need help, you’ll only get it if benefits them too.

The Thesis Whisperer

Two of my favourite people in the academic world are my friends Rachael Pitt (aka @thefellowette) and Nigel Palmer. Whenever we have a catch up, which is sadly rare, we have a fine old time talking shop over beer and chips (well lemonade in my case, but you get the picture).

Some time ago ago Rachael started calling us ‘The B Team’ because we were all appointed on a level B in the Australian university pay-scale system (academic Level B is not quite shit kicker entry level academia – that’s level A just in case you were wondering – but it’s pretty close). I always go home feeling a warm glow of collegiality after a B team talk, convinced that being an academic is the best job in the entire world. Rachael reckons that this positive glow is a result of the ‘circle of niceness’ we create just by being…

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How to Get Into the VOC Archives Online

With a crowbar.

lol jks.

I recently attended a workshop with Professor Charles Jeurgens of Leiden University about the Dutch East India Company Archives.
If you’re interested in the Dutch East India Company (VOC), you can’t go past the opportunity to investigate their archives. However, these archives are numerous, hand written, locked away somewhere, sometimes inaccurate and poorly organised. So you think “Maybe I’ll just have a look in the literature, see if someone else has found the thing I want to know and written it in a more easily accessible format” i.e. googleable. But if they haven’t, here are some preliminary ways you can get into the VOC archives. Continue reading