I didn’t think I would ever turn into the person who took their work away with them—especially not to the furthermost reaches of Nepal. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re an archaeologist who’s interested in farming and landscape.
My latest trip was to Nepal. Making the most of a month off before the start of my Humboldt fellowship to hike the Annapurna Circuit in the off-season. Needless to say that the scenery was stunning, but while I was excited about the prospect of high mountain vistas, what really struck a chord were the villages that went about their daily business in the shadow of the 8000m mountain giants. I had never seen terraces like these—every square inch of the hillside manipulated and manicured to produce buckwheat in the winter, barley and wheat in the spring and sometimes an extra crop of maize in the summer. It was with pure skill that they managed to plough these tiny parcels of land with two oxen—almost tripping over each other when forced to turn around in such small plots.