Someone holding a mug with the words "The Adventure begins". Photo by Matthew Sleeper on Unsplash

An end is only a new beginning


For the last seven years, I worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Archaeology, chair for Digital and Computational Archaeology. This week is my last week in a job that I didn’t really know what to expect of, started to love, and will build upon in the future. This is how I came to my position, how it was and how it will go on with a new beginning.

How I came to my position

So I was a student of the Archaeology of West Asia at the Freie Universität Berlin and still during my time as a student, I co-founded a visualisation company called Artefacts. After I graduated in 2010, I fully immersed myself in freelance work for that company. I build up a reputation for doing “3D-Archaeology”, whatever this is and soon was approached by colleagues and friends to apply for a position in Cologne.

At first, I was sceptical for sure, but as the call mentioned something about 3D reconstruction (what I did mainly in 2016), I applied. I was not so familiar with the other area of 3D documentation, but tried to compensate for that by getting some lectures from friends and colleagues before my interview. I was pretty sure I nailed also that part in the interview, but realised later – when talking with my employer – that it was pretty clear I knew everything about 3D modelling and reconstruction and only little about 3D documentation. 🙂

What did I do the past seven years?

In October 2016 I started my position in Cologne and thankfully got an introduction to everything by a colleague, who started her position just a half year earlier. I surly spent much of the first months to design courses that I needed to give until I had a running system that still works. The last year or so I even gave more teaching than I needed to just to mix things up a little. I really enjoy teaching and think it is beneficial both ways.

Then there was 3D documentation. I was of course under pressure to become a 3D documentation specialist and so I did. Structure from Motion or Laser scanning was not really difficult, so I specialised on a technology called Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). After seven years, I am not only doing RTI, I actively develop it further (see next part). I also partake in 3D scanning projects and was able to finally also feel that I know what I am talking about.

What is the new beginning?

This is the big question. I am thinking about this for a while now. After much evaluation and some very tempting offers I decided to stay in Germany for now, because my little son first needs to get his school done. Sure, you can move abroad with children, but I am not for it. So I started to apply for positions and am currently writing a project proposal that probably will get me through the next three years at least. And, although I never thought this seven years ago, it will focus on RTI. Until then, I can help out here in a project in Cologne, of course with RTI. 🙂

This clearly shows how a position like this can shape a whole career. I am regularly thinking about what I would do now, if I hadn’t got the position here in Cologne. I honestly don’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway. We shouldn’t focus on the past OR the future:

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.”

– Seneca


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Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

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