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
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!”