Why is it that when you tell people that you have studied or worked as an archaeologist, that people then proceed to tell you about a distant cousin related to them who dug up a dinosaur? Man that gets me going.
I personally have no claim to the title of an ‘archaeologist’. I have had field experience on two sites, one in the UK and one in Alaska. I studied under some real hard-core archaeologists, who are both old school and progressive at the same time. Archaeology is near and dear to my heart- I just have a foot in the door.
So I like to say that I have my foot in the door. I have an above average understanding of articles about excavations, and laugh at photos thinking, “That must have been a pain in the you-know-where to get that out of that hole”. I marvel and the patience and fortitude of these people, when their methods are questioned or when they have to sacrifice their job security to ensure that what they do is ethical.
In the first year of my studies, back when I was a nervous eighteen-year-old hanging on every word of these archaeologists in a crowded classroom clutching a cup of coffee, I was told that the glamour would fade. The novelty would not last. I don’t think I believe this. I have met a man who is pushing 70 that lives for the field, and waits all year to get back out there. And personally, I still find it to be a fascinating discipline, and my sense of wonder remains intact.
My foot is firmly in the door. I will keep my trowel for now, but honestly I would rather plan an archaeology-based exhibition at this point in time. I will always be interested, and I will always support archaeology and its enthusiasts from whatever museum I end up at. Archaeology is where I started my academic journey, and it gave me a completely different mindset that I will always appreciate. We all have to start somewhere, and then we grow and change from. As Spock says, “Change is the essential process of all existence.”
Peace and long life.