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.