About

Hello! I’m Smiti and welcome to Habits of a Travelling Archaeologist.

I’m an archaeologist who travels worldwide for both work and pleasure. I have a penchant for exploring ancient and modern places and the people, plants, and foods entangled in them.

This website is a space where I share stories, advice, and the habits I maintain.

Hello from a trench in Ethiopia!

Currently, I am…

If you’re curious about my other experiences, check out: https://smitinathan.com/

If you want to know more about me, keep reading!


My Story: Archaeologist, Traveller, and Blogger

The Archaeologist

As an archaeologist, I have done a variety of archaeological work in many countries (Hungary, India, Ethiopia, Oman, France, etc.) and lived in a couple of other countries too (UK, Germany, Greece). This has allowed me to spend months (even years) in many places and understand what it means to live, study, work, and travel in different countries.

I earned my Ph.D. in Anthropology from New York University. My dissertation investigated the strategic choices made by oasis agriculture communities in Oman during the Bronze Age (ca. 3100 – 1250 BCE).

Within archaeology, I have a number of specialties and interests. Geographically, I work with archaeological projects based in Oman and Ethiopia. I love working in these two countries because the people are great and the archaeology is an exciting frontier.

I’m interested in ancient human decision-making and I currently work on projects that examine ancient agriculture, mining, and softstone production. In terms of methods, I’m proficient in geospatial analyses (GIS and remote sensing) and archaeobotany (ancient plant analysis), and ethnoarchaeology (ethnography for archaeologists).

Here, I’m checking out wood anatomical structures at the Arnold Arboretum. Photo Credit: H. Suarez

The Traveller

Archaeology is a huge part of my life, but another major part is travelling. The travel bug bit me about ten years ago. Since then, I have travelled around the world for fieldwork, education, and pleasure. My husband and I use part of our free-time and vacation days to explore different countries, including the one we’re living in. So far, I have travelled to 30 countries, worked in 7, and lived in 3.

Mudbrick Village in Oman

The Blogger

When I tell people I’m an archaeologist, I usually get some variant of the following response: “Wow! I always wanted to do that as a kid. You must get to travel all the time and dig up cool stuff. How do you do that?

After years of these conversations, two things dawned on me that had been stirring aimlessly in my mind for awhile.

First, most people don’t know what archaeologists REALLY do. This is not their fault. It’s ours. While there are many great archaeologists who do an excellent job in engaging the general public about what we do, the majority of us really need to work on this.

Second, so many people expressed a desire to travel and see new parts of the world, but something seems to stop them. I decided to start this website because I wanted to reach out to the inner travelling archaeologist in all of us. Just because you graduated elementary school, doesn’t mean you have to give up your interest in archaeology or seeing the world!

Writing in Colombia

This website will give you an inside look into what archaeologists do and how we travel for both work and pleasure.  In order to effectively balance archaeology and travel (and everything in between), I try to maintain the following ten habits:

  1. Travel Smartly: Travelling can be exciting, overwhelming, chaotic, life-changing, and a whole host of other adjectives at the same time. Still, we can be smart about it.
  2. Keep Learning: As archaeologists, we are trying to figure out what was going on in the past. Trust me, there was a lot happening and in order to attempt to figure out what was going on, we need to know a bit about everything. Since most of us don’t know it all, we need to keep the learning going.
  3. Get and Stay Organized: Getting organized is one thing, but staying organized is another. Both are important and we all could use some new ideas and refreshers.
  4. Build a Great Network: Networks have been important in the success of many ancient civilizations and leaders. This still holds true today.
  5. Fuel Creativity: We all know creativity is an important skill and sometimes we need some strategies to keep the creative process going.
  6. Make Contributions: Whether it’s publishing your own research or forwarding on a job opportunity, contributions come in many forms and it’s important to make them. Sharing is caring so let’s spread the information.
  7. Rest and Relax: Between work and travel, we need to make time for R&R. While we don’t do this enough, we should make a habit out of it.
  8. Have a Personal Life: Archaeology and travel are great; however, they can be challenging at times. What keeps me sane is making time for my family and friends. No matter who or what makes up your personal life, it’s important to have one.
  9. Experience the World: Part of the reason I got into archaeology was not just to see the world, but experience it in a way that most tourists don’t get to. It’s not all whips and snakes (thank goodness!), it’s actually so much more.
  10. Advocate:  As an archaeologist and traveller, I’m part of many communities. My feeling of community encompasses a basic recognition of our collective humanity. When our communities are jeopardized, I feel we must stand up for them and work to change things.

Most posts will touch on at least one of these habits. Overall, this website will cover a wide range of topics that aim to be both inspiring and useful. I hope you join in on the adventure!

Let’s Go!

Quick Word About Photos: All the images on this site were taken by me. If they weren’t taken by me, I received permission from the photographer or they are in the public domain. If you would like to use an image, please use the Contact Form and we can chat about it. Thanks!

Quick Word About Affiliate Links & Programs: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy a product I mention. It helps out the site and doesn’t cost you anything. Check out my Affiliate Disclosure for more information.

Logo: My logo was created in collaboration with Eve Li. I totally love it!

Smiti Nathan

I’m an archaeologist that travels around the world for both work and pleasure. I have a penchant for exploring ancient and modern places and the people, plants, and foods entangled in them. I write about archaeology, travel, and productivity.

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