The world is in a state of upheaval at the moment, and we’re all looking for things to make us feel less anxious. Maybe Classics can help.
Today’s interview is with Flint Dibble
Is there a source from the ancient world that you find yourself coming back to when you want to feel better?
Hmmmm…. As a zooarchaeologist this is tough, because much of what I study are not individual objects or sources, but the pattern that derives from analyzing large numbers of things (in my case, mostly trash).
If pressed (pun intended), I’d suggest this image of a dog defecating, painted under the handle of a kylix (in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston)
When did you first come across this image?
Not sure, it’s been floating around for a while. Maybe in Pevnick 2014 “Good dog, bad dog,” but I probably came across it before reading that article.
Can you tell me a bit about this source and its context?
I’m not sure. The MFA website does not give much info. It was supposedly bought in Italy in 1899 and donated to the museum in 1910. The lack of context on many of the more prominent sources we discuss in our field is a big problem. I’ve discussed it before on Twitter (e.g., here), but the lack of detailed context for many important sources means we are missing out on a lot of information. And sometimes it leads us astray.
We need to continue to revolutionize how our field thinks about context and records it in excavations. Part and parcel with this is that we also need to give more priority to understanding information that is often overlooked (like my precious animal bones or even just the dirt our objects are found in). These overlooked sources of evidence provide a wealth of new information on the archaeological context in which our sources are found and the social context in which they operated in the past.
What is it about this source that appeals to you most?
And finally… what do you do, outside of Classics, to cheer yourself up?
Just kidding. I like to play guitar. Write fun/funny Twitter threads. Barbecue. Play video games. Listen to music. Watch movies/tv. Take walks. And mostly joke around with friends.
Flint is a Classical zooarchaeologist whose research focuses on animals and food in ancient Greece. He is currently finishing up his postdoc at the Wiener Lab of the ASCSA, and in September will be a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Classics at Dartmouth College.
“If you want to know more about my research, follow me on Twitter (@FlintDibble). Or, a good starting point would be my Eidolon article “In Defense of (Studying) Food” or my recent webinar “Live from the Lab” or lecture “Goats and Other Animals at Azoria” both produced by the ASCSA.”
Catch up with all the Comfort Classics interviews here.