This month’s This Thing comes to you from Amsterdam airport, where I’m awaiting a transfer to Tel Aviv.
I’m, uh… I’m going to Israel/Palestine for a month. Did I mention that?
If you just stumbled on this blog recently, you might not be aware of my backstory; in the real world, I’m doing a PhD in classical studies, specialising in Roman archaeology. This means I occasionally just… go places. Often that’s Greece or Italy, today it’s somewhere new. I’m not going to be doing any excavation on this trip; I’ll be examining some material that was excavated back in the 1990s, because this is just how long it sometimes takes to publish an archaeological site (we… we’re hoarders; we have to admit it sooner or later, at least to ourselves if not to the world). My PhD thesis is on Roman window glass (which, yes, is an incredibly narrow and nerdy thing to be interested in, even for a classicist), and the stuff I’ll be looking at is from the promontory palace at Caesarea Maritima, the so-called “Palace of Herod” – yes, that Herod, the one from the Nativity story; he was a real historical king of Judaea. Well… at the moment we’re pretty sure all the window glass comes from the 3rd century AD and later, by which point Herod was long dead and the palace was probably the official residence of the Roman governor of Judaea, but it’s still cool. I’m hoping to learn more about the quality of window glass that was available to people at the highest levels of Roman society (spoiler alert: conventional wisdom is that it was pretty $#!t, which is actually interesting because the Romans were perfectly capable of manufacturing glass bottles, bowls, dishes, etc. to very high aesthetic and technical standards) and why window glass seems to have been taken up more slowly and sporadically in the eastern half of the Roman Empire than in the west (despite most Roman glass being made in Syria, Judaea and Egypt).
What I’m trying to get is… this is likely going to be a slow month for the blog. I should have wi-fi of varying quality throughout the month, even for the 10 days I’ll be spending in the middle-of-nowhere town where the excavated finds from Caesarea are stored, but… well, I’ll be busy. I’m not going to try to hold myself to the 10-day schedule I’ve been aiming for over the last six months, but I’m still going to try to get two Pokémon reviews out during July – Necrozma and probably Magearna (guess I’d better watch the Magearna movie). I’m also going to take my time on the Necrozma one, because I’ll probably be another long one like the previous two entries on the four Tapu and on Lunala and Solgaleo, and frankly I am a little bit wiped after those two. Reader questions will also continue, but probably at reduced pace. I’ll be back, hopefully at full tilt, in August.
Also, not all news is bad! Tomorrow I’ll be posting the first “bonus” article commissioned by my Dark Council (those supporting me on Patreon for at least $12 – at the moment this is one person, the inestimable Verb, but YOU TOO can take part in the Council’s shadowy deliberations if you feel like supporting me). Each month, I will invite the Council to choose a topic for me to investigate in a 2000-3000-word article – and this month, I’ve been asked to talk about Pokémon migration and its effect on trainers, who may have to release their Pokémon to follow their instincts, using the classic anime episode Bye Bye Butterfree as a jumping-off point. Hopefully these will be a refreshing way to mix up my usual routine of Pokémon reviews (or whatever else I happen to be doing at the moment) – let me know what you think when it goes live!
Anyway, I have a flight to catch, so… stay tuned!