International Archaeology Day

Chinese terracotta soldiers

Chinese terracotta soldiers

October 19, 2013, is International Archaeology Day around the world.  Archaeologists discover the human past, giving us more information about our ancestors and our world than we have ever known before. They do it through hard physical work, digging outdoors in all kinds of weather and all kinds of terrain. They also do it through hard intellectual work in the lab, sorting, measuring, comparing, figuring out what the bits and pieces mean.  It can be cold and lonesome. It’s almost always tedious and frustrating.  And it’s always fascinating.

Historic artifacts

Historic artifacts

If you know an archaeologist, first of all, count yourself lucky. Secondly, take him or her to lunch during October to show your appreciation. You’re bound to enjoy their stories!

Below, I’ve compiled a short, select tour of archaeology around the world to acquaint you with some of the amazing work that’s helping us all understand who we are.

http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/tracing-neandertal-territories-in-the-mountains-of-southeast-france/

http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/category/maritime-archaeology/

Archaeologists at work in the field

Archaeologists at work in the field

http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/doing-archaeology-digitally/

http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/spanish-mission-archaeology-near-pensacola-florida/

http://japanesearchaeology.com

http://www.archaeology.org/issues/98-1307/letter-from/934-china-looting-henan-tombs-wei-dynasty

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/hinds/index.html

Underwater Archaeology

Underwater Archaeology

Take an Archaeologist to Lunch Month!

Even archaeologists have to eat

Even archaeologists have to eat

Even archaeologists have to eat

Even archaeologists have to eat

In many states, even Texas, October is designated as Archaeology Awareness Month. During this month, archaeologists share their work with the public in all kinds of lectures, workshops, demonstrations, re-creations and tours.  Many school kids and other members of the public get their first understanding of the work of archaeology at such events.

An informal email survey I published in the Society of American Archaeology Bulletin way back in 1999

Some of the 'pit crew' at the Raven Bluff archeological site, Alaska. Left to right: Steve Lanford, Stephan Heidenreich, Ines Medved, Jess Peterson, Gared Smith, and Jeff Rasic

Some of the ‘pit crew’ at the Raven Bluff archeological site, Alaska. Left to right: Steve Lanford, Stephan Heidenreich, Ines Medved, Jess Peterson, Gared Smith, and Jeff Rasic

demonstrated that the majority of working archaeologists who responded were influenced as pre-teens to become archaeologists by such public presentations.  They were engaged by the mysteries of the past that archaeologists investigate every day.

Archaeologists, park rangers, historic conservationists, museum personnel, and others protect the cultural heritage and natural environment of our nation. Now the government, which pays many of their salaries, is shut down, leaving many of these folks without paychecks. Do you know somebody in this position? I do.

So I would like to make a modest suggestion. During October, take an archaeologist–or a park ranger, etc.–to lunch.  Just to say thanks.

What do you say?  Let’s make October “Take an Archaeologist to Lunch Month!”