Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WOOOO! Summer Break!

I have 8 more student papers left to grade and then I am OUTTA HERE, SUCKERS!


I mean, I am almost on summer break. As I've mentioned, I'm an archaeologist and I will be hitting the road with some fieldwork on the Great Plains (and possibly other areas - anyone who's ever worked as a Shovelbum knows that fieldwork is never, ever set until about, oh, an hour before heading into the field). As web service tends to be rather spotty in the dodgy rural motels that I expect to be living in for the next few months (also rather spotty in my car, where I may also be sleeping a night or two), I have no idea how often I will be updating from now through September. But I will try!

I get some interesting responses when I tell people I am an archaeologist. Usually, their eyes get real big and they say something like,

"Really? I always wanted to be an archaeologist! When I was five!"

"Um - thanks?" I reply.

"I love looking at the dinosaurs in the museum." They say.

"Oh - no, that's paleontology. Archaeologists work with humans and cultural remains. Not dinosaurs."

They cock their heads to one side. "But what would you do if you found a dinosaur?"

"I would wonder how I had managed to inadvertently shoot thousands of years past my target stratum into solid bedrock. Dinosaurs lived a LONG time before humans."

"So you, like, go to Egypt and stuff, right?"

"No." I patiently explain. "Anywhere humans have lived there is archaeology. Including right here!"

"Can you come dig in my backyard? I think there's an Indian mound there."

"Um - no. And please don't do it yourself."


"Is it just like in Jurassic Park?"

"Yes." I say. "Yes it is."

For now, I leave you all with (dum dum dum) HOMEWORK! I just finished "The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the struggle for the soul of Indian Country", by Steve Hendricks, and I am almost done with "In The Spirit of Crazy Horse: The story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI's war on the American Indian Movement", by Peter Matthiessen. Both are excellent reads if you want to be violently angry for a while.

Ok, maybe that's not the best recommendation, but it is the major emotion I experienced while reading them. I am preparing a post on the reactions of my students to Native American issues, and that should be up by this weekend-ish. Stay tuned!

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I could find (and have found) fossils littered on the surface while on survey. We used to routinely find petrified wood stumps large enough to sit on and eat your lunch. Generally, these are scattered pieces not in context.

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