Forging Ahead!

2020 went from from 60 to 0 in a couple months. I returned from Italy to the US and thought I would have a slightly longer stay than usual. Then as the news from around the world rolled in, one by one everything got cancelled or rescheduled for 2021. So now I am reacquainting myself to being in the US, but in an odd way, without the usual parties and social contact that I usually have when I’m here.  Halfway through the year we’ve dealt with lockdowns, riots, second waves (or is it still the first?), loss, and grudging hope.

Not being able to travel, even around the US can get depressing, but I am keeping busy. I spent part of my stimulus check on a wood lathe, something I wanted for a long time. I’m using it to make replicas of antique and ancient textile tools. That has been a lot of fun, and I am enjoying learning a new craft.

I’ve also enrolled in the university. Since all the classes are online now, I can take courses, even if I do get to do some travelling. I’m enjoying the benefits of being a student again, including access to the excellent library here. I was told at the time I was a student here fifteen years ago that the library was outstanding, but I didn’t realise how truly great it was until I got to England and experienced the university libraries there. The University of Minnesota’s libraries rival that of Cambridge.

I continue to work in experimental archaeology, mainly in wood and textiles. Metalworking is a bit hampered because it’s difficult to get the raw materials I need for building a furnace. On the plus side, I’ve generated enough fine wood shavings to substitute for horse manure. I might just get some casting done yet!

As you can see above, I’ve started an Instagram account. If you want to follow me and see up to date photos from my travels, look for fregnigiovanna, or check for postings with #ancienttoolsandcraft.

Was this article useful? Please share!
Liked this post? Please consider supporting experimental archaeology on Patreon!

2 thoughts on “Forging Ahead!”

  1. Dear Giovanna,

    My name is Josanna Simpson and I work in the Curriculum Department of The Institute of Reading Development, an education-based company located in Northern California, USA. Currently I am project manager for the creation of a textbook on World History for middle school students that our company plans to publish in-house. I found your blog posting entitled “World’s Oldest Needle” contained an excellent photograph of the bone needle in question. This image would be extremely helpful for our chapter on the Paleolithic Period. May we have permission to reuse this image? Our textbook has a planned publication date of Fall 2020 and an estimated first print run of 5000. If we may have permission to use the image, please let me know how the image should be credited and if any royalties are required. Below is the link to the article in question:


    Josanna Simpson, Curriculum Department
    Institute of Reading Development

    1. I am afraid that the photograph is not mine and came from an article in the Siberian Times. I had the link to the article in my post, bit it appeared to have been lost. Last year my website crashed and I learned too late that my hosting service did not provide backups. Most of my website was reconstructed from the Internet Archives. While it was a godsend, they cannot do everything, and so I lost a lot of details such as links and captions. I have fixed the post now and have the link provided again. Thanks for your interest in my post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *