The ArcNames project has entered its final week and it is time to review the progress and results – and think about the future. Personally and professionally, conducting the project has been a great experience for me and an incredible value for my development as a researcher. I have had the opportunity to delve into Iron Age mentalities in completely new ways both from iconographic and linguistic perspectives. It has been more difficult and more time consuming than I had anticipated to acquire the proper understanding, especially regarding the linguistic issues. However, I feel that I have reached a new level of insight that will give me a fresh approach to studying these periods in the future. But although I have written some papers, it feels like I have only scratched the surface: there are many ideas that have only reached the drawing board. Even though I have managed to fulfill the basic goals of the project, I feel that it’s a shame I was not able to transform everything I have acquired into papers and dissemination. Processing and really understanding takes so much time!
So, although I am happy about the project, I do feel that more could have been achieved. Yet, this has also been a very difficult time. Everyone has struggled through the pandemic and at the same time (although unrelated to the COVID-situation) my family at home has experienced unexpected deaths and disease, making it very hard to work – and to be abroad in a time when travelling is made almost impossible.
Another great challenge, especially in the last phase of the project has been administration. The communication with the different units at UiB, especially in relation to project economy, has not always been easy and my enquiries and requests have often been pending – or I have simply not known where to go to solve my problems. My advice to other MSCA postdocs would be to seek information proactively to avoid ending up in a labyrinth like I did.
I have been very fortunate though to have a good working environment at my department, with some wonderful colleagues at archaeology. I initially planned the project with Sæbjørg W. Nordeide, who very sadly passed away. I am grateful to professor Randi Barndon who took over and has been an excellent supervisor.
The pandemic has meant that there was some extra funding available, because I did not use as much as expected for travelling and holding a seminar (which was moved online). Therefore, the project funds will in stead go to a publication related to the workshop. I have gathered a collection of papers by various authors about archaeology and place names in Norway. The papers are being sent to peer review these days and the collection will be out in the end of the year. I am very grateful to all the people who decided to contribute.
Further, I have planned to follow up the project with a small series of videos that will cover the main themes and explain the basics of names and Scandinavian Iron Age people, society and culture. These will be created over the following months and will be posted here.