Every Wednesday at noon, I attend the Introduction to Archaeological Ceramics II class in the Museum’s new ceramics lab, taught by Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau. I listen and try to understand the very technical lectures about things like petrographic thin section analysis, which is how to explain what kind of mineral we saw in the thin section of the pot which is usually shown under a microscope. Also, what inclusions could be in the clay that the pot was made from, this could be rice husks or straw.
In class, I sit very close so I can see everything Marie-Claude shows us on the microscope which is also being shown to the class on the computer screen. I often have to ask Marie-Claude to explain parts of the lesson I didn’t understand on Thursday, which she does very patiently.
Around 6pm, I arrive back at my home-stay and some nights (Wednesday through Friday) we all have dinner together at the very large dinner table. We often have American food. My family will always welcome a new home-stay person with a Philadelphia cheese-steak dinner, which I like very much. After dinner, I study my English lessons and then I go to bed.
Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth is a Deputy Director of the National Museum in Vientiane and Co-director of the Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP) in Laos. His research interests are Lao prehistory and the protection and conservation of Lao cultural heritage. Mr. Bouasisengpaseuth first worked with Joyce White on the 2001 rapid assessment survey in Luang Prabang Province that provided evidence for over 10,000 years of rich archaeological heritage in Laos and direction for MMAP work.
Since September 2010, Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth and Sureeratana Bubpha of Thammasat University, Bangkok, have been studying Ban Chiang ceramics under the supervision of Dr. White, Dr. Boileau, and Professor Tartaron. Their study program finishes in May 2011.They are focusing specifically on the more than 500 intact orreconstructed vessels excavated by the University of Pennsylvania at Ban Chiang.
Click here for the Lao translation of this blog.