What isn’t cool about archaeology? A while ago, I realized that archaeology is really the study of the history of people. How self-absorbed are we? How ADD am I? Those are intrinsically interesting questions. At least to me.
I’m not knocking botanists or whatever science the history of trees falls under. I love plants and think that the sequoia tree is probably the greatest fantastical plant species in the world. But is it a plant species? Sequoias are giant trees that are reminiscent of Harry Potter and the Hobbit, but are in the real life world of the Sequoia and Kings County National Park in California.
They are extra, extra cool because we view them in relation to ourselves and our history. Why is that? Scientists who are interested in the study of trees are called dendrologists. I didn’t even know there was a separate word for that field of study. And what a wonderful word that is. I assumed tree students were botanists.
From the last paragraph to this paragraph, I got completely sidetracked and started researching trees, sequoias and wondering if there are people who just study ancient trees. But, for most of us, we are interested in how the study of trees affects humans. Because we are obsessed with being human.
What would have happened if dinosaurs lived? Would we exist? How did the ice age affect our species? Are we connected to Neanderthals? Are they the same species as humans? Is it icky that scientists have discovered that people of European ancestry have Neanderthal DNA?
See previous, wildly interesting post about Neanderthals.
Are you interested in history? In how humans participated or started or ended historical events? In how people have survived? In what bones tell us? In true crime? Then archaeology is for you. Anything I know about archaeology I have learned from documentaries, the History Channel, National Geographic and my new find, “Archaeology, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.”
This is where my impatience comes in. One of the best things about archaeology, in my opinion, besides all the vowels in the word, is that if you liked playing in dirt as a child, it is definitely the career for you.
But I’m way too impatient for that. I would last about 2 minutes digging (read that as 0 minutes digging) and 10-15 minutes sifting for tiny treasures of bone or ceramics. If the “dig” started at 6am, by 6:15 I’d be ready for a coffee break. “Wow, that’s fantastic! Anyone interested in a snack? No? Then I’ll be in the shade reading and watching for wild animals. I got your back.”
So I will wait at home, reading Archaeology Magazine, National Geographic, watching the History Channel and wistfully dreaming about exotic places. Here are a few of the places I would visit if I had the patience to be an archaeologist.
And, of course, Mexico, Egypt, northern Europe, Alaska, Canada, Italy, Greece and, and, and……if only I had patience.