About me

Have you ever left behind, regretfully, a career, hobby or activity which you loved when you were younger?

My name is Victoria Clayton and I am passionate about archaeology!

However, life takes its twists and turns and I haven’t been actively involved in archaeology for 15 years. I believe it’s never too late to regain the joy you once had in a much-loved activity or interest.

Me in field

Me as a young archaeologist on site at Tell Ahmar.

I studied archaeology at the University of Melbourne and spent my 20s excavating in Syria, Turkey, Victoria and Tasmania. I received my doctorate in Near Eastern archaeology from the University of Melbourne in 2001.

Following the completion of my PhD my career changed direction because I could not see how I could make archaeology a career without moving overseas.  The opportunities for archaeologists with a Middle Eastern focus are few and far between in Australia, however I was not keen to relocate to Europe or the US. Furthermore, my interest in modern Australian society had been piqued by the challenges of the arrivals of asylum seekers and refugees in our community and I retrained as a migration adviser. I found work in the community sector and later opened my own immigration agency.

Operating a small business is hard work and after four years I decided to give that away and completed a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Languages, culture, socio-linguistics, historical, social and cultural interactions…all these areas are intriguing to me and although I have had an odd career path, the thread has been people and society. Having a qualification which allows me to travel and work overseas is very exciting. I am a keen traveller, having also visited France, Britain, Bahrain, Egypt, Cyprus, China, Vietnam and Laos.  I will be blogging about travel at www.wordfromthehorizon.wordpress.com.

I am now working as an English language teacher and taught English in China for three years.  I am also hoping to be blogging about my China adventures soon.

brainstorming introductions with the class

Teaching English in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China.

Ancient Figurines is a blog about archaeology, figurines and the ancient Near East. It is my journey back into archaeology, which I’m hoping you will take with me. It hasn’t been easy; I experience (and sometimes continue to experience) feelings of regret, sorrow and depression from not following my greatest interest. However,  I’m hoping that after many years out of active involvement in a field which was my first love, I can show that it is never too late to do what you love!

Here’s a great example: after 12 years, I’ve finally self-published my doctoral research in Figurines, Slaves and Soldiers: The Iron Age Figurines from the Euphrates Valley, North Syria. It was a long-held dream to publish my findings, but for one reason or another, the time never seemed right. Finally, in 2013, I’ve produced my very first book and I’m so excited to share it with the world!

FSS Cover blog header

Please leave a comment on my blog posts or contact me through figurinesslavesandsoldiers@gmail.com.

I’d love to hear from any other people who are returning to archaeology, either as a career, or a hobby after a hiatus of some time! What does your archaeological record look like?



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