Gearing Up! (Our Italian Summer - Dispatch 1)

Greetings, all! Behold my triumphant return to blogging at Powered by Osteons! Or, in emoji-speak: 💪💻💀

Today starts the first of hopefully many posts about my summer adventures -- with family in tow -- in Europe. We're leaving Monday for six weeks abroad while I work on skeletons from the site of Oplontis outside of Pompeii. This is the first time I've been abroad for fieldwork for longer than two weeks since my girls (Cecilia - 8 and Linnea - 3.5) were born. So, since my husband (Patrick) works remotely (for GitHub), we decided to pack everyone up for a change of scenery. That is, we're going from Florida - where it's in the 80s and 90s with 85% humidity - to Naples - where it's in the 80s and 90s with slightly lower humidity, but less A/C.

I'm spending today doing laundry and packing up all the scientific equipment I need to bring... and that involves checking with the TSA's rules about a variety of weird stuff. Here's the carry-on bag that I packed -- I was impressed with myself for figuring out a Tetris-like arrangement for everything. But when I posted it to Facebook, fellow archaeologists raised some concerns. Can you figure out why?

It's not the hundreds of little plastic baggies and sample vials, or the two 3D scanners, or the two portable hard drives, or the optical mouse. It's the trowel, the calipers, and the bamboo and metal dental picks (all of which are kind of hidden).

I've definitely traveled with a trowel and the metal vernier calipers in carry-on before, and had no problem. But that was years ago. I used the handy @AskTSA account on Twitter to check about the calipers -- sure enough, any tool over 7" long (and anything with something resembling a blade more than 4" long) cannot go in carry-on. So the spreading calipers, the vernier calipers, and the bamboo picks and dental tools are headed for my checked bag after all.

I did learn that up to 18oz of aerosol bug spray is OK for checked bags, though. Important to know since I hear that Pompeii and other sites have a mosquito problem right now. (And I find that Italian mosquito bites make me swell up like crazy.)

Still haven't figured out what to do with my DSLR. It's enormous, bulky, and might very well go into checked luggage, even though in practice I don't like to check equipment that expensive. We'll see if there's enough room in my "personal item" (a ginormous and awesome backpack that Victorinox donated to my project) to carry it on.

So, I plan to use PbO to blog regularly over the next 6 weeks. Stay tuned for posts about how great it is to take a 10-hour international flight (not!), and then schlep bags through Termini to the metro (ugh!), all while dragging two seriously jetlagged children (oh god what have I done?!). Cue panic attack in 5... 4... 


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