Gee, Archaeology Must Be Coooool

Me excavating in the Netherlands

I was watching a show on the History Channel last night about how much of Indiana Jones is based in fact, and how much in fiction. The final conclusion is that  more of it than you might think is based in fact, and that Indiana Jones, as an archaeologist, is a pretty excellent guy. He favors acquisition of information over acquisition of treasure, believes that artifacts belong in museums rather than private collections, is hugely respectful of the cultures he studies, and a decent human being to boot.

As this show is going through the various cultures associated with the movies and interviewing experts at each of the sites, I caught myself thinking “gee, wouldn’t it be cool to be an archaeologist?”

And then: “Holy crap. I AM an archaeologist!!”

Okay, I’m not a very convincing archaeologist. I have a masters degree in archaeology, yes, but I haven’t done much with it. I excavated during two seasons in the Netherlands (about the highlight of my life), and also for three months with the State Archaeologist in South Dakota (not really a highlight at all). I know lots of stuff about old stuff (especially ancient Levantine goddesses) and I know how to dig a pretty excellent feature profile.

I gave it up in favor of being able to live with my husband and also being able to earn enough money to support myself, but I miss it. Even the less-than-thrilling South Dakotan bits. Archaeology IS exciting, whether you get chased through ancient temples by 5-ton boulders or not. It is about a hunt for information that has been lost for hundreds or thousands of years.

Someday, when I’m a millionaire (this is my catchphrase lately), I am going to be an archaeologist again. I’m going to move to Europe, find a job working on something cool, and live happily ever after.

Until then, I guess I’ll spend an unfair portion of my free time watching the History Channel.

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One thought on “Gee, Archaeology Must Be Coooool

  1. After reading the Cairo Jim books as a kid, I spent a good five or six years planning to be an archaeologist. I took German and Latin at school, because those were the languages teachers suggested I might need to be good at it, dug into history (which I loved anyway, and mythology – probably why I liked Cairo Jim to begin with), but eventually drifted away. Not from the idea, or the knowledge, but because I like writing and reading more.

    Still, I do know an awful lot about triple goddess myths in the ancient world. Weirdly enough, when you’re married to a philosopher and hang out with philosophers, this can work as a pretty good ice-breaker, although the precise reason why escapes me.

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