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Showing posts from November, 2018

Viking Age Tar Production and the Decoupling of Ideas

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Where do you get all your stories and examples from? This is a question that people often ask me after lectures and workshops. The short but unhelpful answer is that they come from my “ideas file”. This ideas file is not so much a file as a concept. At times it has been a box, a massive green folder, a notes file in my phone and all of the above.
But how do the ideas get into the file? This is where the real secret lies. Searching for ideas and examples when you need them is extremely difficult and often frustrating. The solution is to decouple the search from the need. My method is to scan news and new research routinely and then to squirrel away all the things that could be useful one day.
Some of these articles and research papers are useful almost immediately. Some wait in the conceptual ideas file for months or years before they suddenly become useful.
Let’s take a concrete example. In October 2018 Andreas Hennius of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala Un…