Monday, April 09, 2007

Unfortunately, Your Child Is Displaying All The Symptoms Of Becoming an Archaeologist

While we're on the subject of documentaries, did anyone see the BBC thingy on ABC Television last night about Boaedecia? What a load of old cow bollocks that one was! Fat, prematurely balding men stomped about in the dirt waving pieces of rock about and shouting away from the camera, "This is potentially an important potential find!" Old dudes in museums would turn the pieces of rock over, and say, "This is a very potentially interesting find indeed!" Young bespectacled blondes*, sitting in darkened laboratories with microscopes, handle rusty old pieces of metal and announce in weird, piping northern English accents, "This is certainly a very important, very potential find! Although the details about it aren't quite clear to me yet, a casual scrutiny tells that it obviously comes from the Very Late Iron Age, That Bit That Was Not Quite The Bronze Age But Just Leading Up To the Bronze Age Although It Hadn't Reached It Yet. Wow!"

Probably off camera, all these weirdos started having fights about whether the find was more Very Important or Very Potential, or whether it came from the Very-Very-Late-Bronze-Age-Indeed or just the Very-Late-But-Nothing-To-Write-Home-About-Bronze-Age.

What possesses these crazy kids to do it? Why do potentially normal people suddenly get possessed with an urge to dig great big holes in the dirt and get enthused over shabby pieces of old rock? It is one of the great mysteries of our age: instead of frollicking around in the fields, or throwing eggs at people on the street, or painting graffiti on pieces of wall, young people are turning in increasing numbers to the recondite arts of archaeology. Heaven only knows if we can reverse the trend before it is too late...

*I tell a lie. She didn't have glasses on.


Anonymous said...

Archaeology is the new modelling, for those who are attractive in a more bookish way. This trend has been going on for quite some time. The Beeb has decided that we need eye candy with our Very Late and Very Potential Bronze Ages. And so, as we speak, someone purporting to be a minister is running around English cemetries in cape and unbuttoned shirt.

Still applauding your marathon Bible run-down. Makes me feel very self-conscious as a godless lapsed Catholic whose religious education consisted predominantly of drawing comics of the baby Moses in the bullrushes and reading books like "Why God doesn't want you to vandalise trains and why you may lose an arm if you do".

TimT said...

Archeology is the new rolling around in muddy ovals banging away at stones on the ground while it rains, which used to be known as mud wrestling. Though I imagine the British are quite used to both of those things. When I was a kid I saw 'Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc' and decided I wanted to be an archeologist, then spent the next 10 years at school reading science-fiction books in class while everyone else threw pieces of paper at one another. There's a moral in that anecdote somewhere, if I'm desperate enough to find it (and I'm not).

Thank you for commenting on that post (in this post). There's so much more I should have put in but didn't have time/enough knowledge to. Yes sir, I'm sure I'll get heaps more readers and offend nobody at all with my groundbreaking theory of 'You Can Find Heaps Of Useful Shit In The Bible'. I probably sound like I'm nuts, but then, that's only because I'm nuts.

Hooray for the Bible, hooray for archeologists, and hooray for geekish bespectacled laboratory-dwelling girls who don't wear spectacles.n\

Anonymous said...

Ha! You posted the same comment multiple times, so it's not just me who does these things.

Archeology is the new rolling around in muddy ovals banging away at stones on the ground while it rains, which used to be known as mud wrestling.

Yes, and as Darcy remarked of Lizzie Bennett when she traipsed through the muddy fields to visit her sister at Netherfield, the archaeologist's fine eyes are considerably brightened by the exercise! Good to see that we are in agreement on this point.

Indiana Jones scared the willikers out of me as a child, but then I am very squeamish (I fainted when I was told the facts of life, for example). My sister was very fond of it- and she's a non-bespectacled laboratory-dwelling girl doing a PhD in immunology, which is quite far from archaeology, but they do both involve microscopes.

Who knows? I may even answer a comment you write here under the Bible-bashing post. I'm unpredictable like that (and I still have Lindt chocolate bunny coursing through my veins).

ras said...

My fiance's sister (Blonde with glasses but also the size of a house and not attractive in the slightest) has a degree in Archaeology. However she gave up her dream of sliding around in the mud and behaving like indiana jones in raiders of the lost arc once she discovered she would actually have to leave the city and god forbid, get her hands dirty! She also may even have to sleep in a tent and eat less than a full buffet at every meal whilst getting her hands dirty.

I think her newer choice of career as a primary school teach is far more fitting, and leaves room for those more attractive women to come through and provide eye candy for these many documentaries about the Bronze age and Stone age that seem to keep popping up on the ABC.

TimT said...

The allure of primary school teaching has become far less alluring since they ruled out the use of the cane. Where is a teacher without the masterly swish and swash of the cane while he is educating his diligent pupils on one matter or another?

The facts of life are truly horrifying. I myself fainted when I was told that in medieval times, Mars Bars did not exist, FOR A FACT. Why was your sister fond of them?

Legal Eagle said...

Personally, I always wanted to be an archaeologist. I am fascinated by ancient household objects (hairpins, chess sets, forks, cups etc). It seems so...personal and familiar. I wouldn't have minded getting dirty or sleeping in a tent or sifting rubble through a sieve.

Anyway, I became a lawyer instead, which I think has many parallels with archaeology - digging back into the past to see what happened, piecing together evidence...but instead of digs in exotic places, you can sort through rooms of dusty boxes of papers...

Hmm, I still think Very Late Bronze Age is sexier...

Anonymous said...

I always got the impression it was about the Rise and Fall of Empires and Wars and Conquering and what-not (which sounds fascinating in the abstract), but the delving into personal items has its own fascination. There's a kind of mysterious allure to archeology; names like 'The Etruscans' and 'Dravidians' and 'Celts' and so-on which the digging around in dirt never really quite satisfies.

Auden wrote a good poem called 'Archeology' or something like that, ending with the lines:

History is made
By the Criminal in us.
Goodness is timeless.

Can't remember if that's an exact quote, but there you go.

Tim said...

Um. We're back.

Anonymous said...

I was completely stumped by that little joke at first, Tim. Subtle vulgarity is always the most charming! I like to think that I was principally offended by the shades of pink on the diagram I was being shown at the time.

At my primary school a 5 year-old had his mouth washed out with soap for saying the word "bum". An older kid was caned for swearing (very mildly). I can remember quite vividly when the poor boy had to walk over to the principal's office- the whole place felt like the set of a Western. I was very apprehensive about what one's First Reconciliation might entail (I'm talking about a Catholic primary school).

Mrs Mean said...

I always wanted to have a never ending packet of gold stars. (And a free red star-stamp, and a smiley face stamp) Otherwise, primary school teaching would be a drag. Especially lower primary, too many little kids wanting to go to the toilet and not being able to hold it, and from what I've heard, some still being breast fed, with mums coming in at lunch time to indulge them. That may be an inducement for males getting into the profession, but not me.

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