SO, YOU’RE AN ARCHAEOLOGIST: AN INTRODUCTION

Philosoraptor isn’t wrong, but we still don’t dig dinos.

Hello there, and welcome to the beginning of what I hope will be a fun adventure for everyone!  If you haven’t already read up on this project, I recommend checking out the What’s Up, Archaeology welcome post.

I’m excited to be a part of this project which I think will be a great way for the general public to get a glimpse into the world of archaeology and how diverse our field is.  As you can see, my fellow contributors are all super cool people.

So, what exactly do I plan to contribute to this endeavor?  Well, I’m still formulating my thoughts on this.  I am a cultural resource management (CRM) archaeologist (see my bio page).  What that means is I am basically a contractor.  I work for a private company that is hired by construction, energy, and engineering companies, and sometimes local, state, and federal government agencies to conduct archaeological investigations for their projects (examples include infrastructure, new development, and alternative energy projects).  However, I’m not the only CRM archaeologist contributing to this project so I may spend less time discussing CRM if others make it the focus of their weekly blog posts.  Or there is the potential for collaboration between us for a specific blog entry on CRM.

Giorgio probably would be better off listening to real archaeologists.

In addition to CRM, I am passionate about other areas of the field.  One of these things is the huge issue archaeology is facing today with the increased acceptance of pseudoscience.  Cable network outlets like the History Channel and the Travel Channel (networks presumably established to help educate the general population) are increasingly contributing to the spread of pseudoscience.  They’ve given non-scientists like Erich von Däniken, Giorgio Tsoukalos, and even actress Megan Fox an outlet to spread their ideas with no real scientific, archaeological, or historical evidence to back up their claims.  A lot of people say “What’s the harm?” or “Is it really that big of a deal? It’s just a TV show.”  However, shows like Ancient Aliens paint a false image of real archaeologists as being part of some big conspiracy to cover up the truth about humanity’s past and origins.  This results in more of the general public mistrusting archaeologists and scientists.  What makes this project so wonderful is that archaeologists from various areas of the field and the world can present their work in a more informal environment that will hopefully garner interest from the public as a means to better understand real archaeology. Trust me, it’s honestly a lot cooler than Giorgio Tsoukalos would like you to believe.

If you’ve read my bio I’m sure you’re wondering how a real archaeologist who is trying to combat pseudoarchaeology and pseudoscience can be such a fan of fictional archaeologists like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft (although calling them archaeologists is a joke).  I mean I run a fan site dedicated to them and all of my social media presence is linked to that site so like it’s a big part of my identity.  It’s pretty easy to reconcile.  Most of us have no problem discerning fact from fiction, we know that movies and video games are products of human creativity meant to be enjoyed for fun but not taken literally.  Pseudoarchaeology and pseudoscience on the other hand takes fiction and tries to convince you that it’s fact.  Taking liberties with reality for creative entertainment has been around since the beginning, as soon as our ancestors began developing ways to communicate with each other.  What isn’t okay is when liberties are taken with reality in order to create a false reality which is usually used to suppress minority and indigenous voices as well as perpetuate racist and colonial ideologies. For the sake of keeping this post at a reasonable length, I’ll talk more about this in the future.

I also have spent a great deal of time researching rock art.  It’s something I was introduced to early on in my academic and professional careers that I have a soft spot for.  I’ve written papers and presented at conferences on some of my research and may convert those papers/presentations into blog form.

I look forward to sharing my stories and contributing to this project.  I hope that it will be an insightful and fun experience for you, the reader.  Please feel free to leave feedback, comments, or questions.

In my next blog post I will talk a little bit about CRM in the United States.  Until next time, happy reading!

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