“That was 90% gravity.” – Buster Bluth, Arrested Development/ s1:e6
Pterodactyl skull under Fashion Island.
(p.s. I know this isn’t a pterodactyl skull..it’s just another quote from the show. I do not own the image or the words.)
So why start with a quote from a TV show? Well 1) because it is in reference to archaeology and 2) it’s an icebreaker.
I’m not a great writer. It’s something I struggle with tremendously. I didn’t need to do much of it during my undergrad years, two reasons: 1) I wasn’t always aiming towards a anthropology or archaeology path) and 2) I was lucky enough to have dual-credit courses in high school so my English and History requirements were already fulfilled.
Also, it seemed like a good ice breaker since I missed the first week of this project, precisely because I had not the courage (or will) to post yet. (hence the name of the post) I’ll also admit now that I generally communicate through quotes and references, so much so that I’ve frequently been told that people need a reference guide to understand what I am talking about. Anywhooo..
This is all to say that I am extremely self-conscious about my writing and I shy away from having other folks read it. Of course as someone wrapping up a M.A. in anthropology (focus in geoarchaeology, see photos below) dozens of folks have now had to read my writing. It is also a preface so that you (the reader) know that my writing style will not be perfect. It may be choppy, fragmented, and nonsensical at times, but know that I am working on it.
Somewhat selfishly I hope that through the three months of this project I will improve and benefit from reading the other amazing blogs that are being posted. I also hope to contribute my own perspective about the various aspects of graduate school, CRM work, and all the other wonderful things that come with being an archaeologist.
Now that I’ve rambled on about things that people probably don’t care to know, please enjoy this next section that is actually about my work (well my day job at least). 🙂
CRM in the City
Currently I work for a firm in a city that happens to have lots of cultural resources that run the spectrum of historical to archaeological. This means I don’t always get to go out on large surveys or do tons of data recovery. We do a lot of monitoring…sometimes in cool spots of the city… sometimes in areas that are a bit less exciting. But all in all, it’s a part of the job that sometimes get over looked during the early stages of folks’ journey into the CRM world.
I try not to think of it as the boring side of archaeology…I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t prefer to be out on survey, exploring different parts of the state and country. It’s just a different side of archaeology that allows you to channel your inner cultural anthropologist…which I know may not be a plus to many archaeologists, but I firmly believe that we are all at our core still cultural anthropologists. We just come about our study of culture in a different way. (Note: this is totally just my opinion) I digress..Monitoring — especially on long-term jobs that are 3+ months long– give us the ability to care for archaeology as well as observe the interactions of the construction workers, drillers, operators, and the whole slew of other folks that find themselves at the site too.
Over the past few months, my colleagues and I have worked along side these men (I say men because I am literally the only woman on the site on a daily basis/ever) and developed relationships with them. We speak to them, explain what and why we are doing what we do, and try to express the importance and versatility of archaeology. More often than not they get a kick out of learning what to look for and take an interest in our work because of this whenever they see something they point it out too. We definitely still get asked a bunch if we are looking for gold or if we think we would find gold or treasures, but it’s usually all in good fun. We’ve gotten to know about where these guys have come from, about them and their families, and why they do what they do.
I guess this is all to say is that archaeology isn’t always survey and data recovery. It doesn’t always lean to “hard” sciences. It’s also to say that archaeology to me (and the folks I’m lucky enough to work with) it is an opportunity to connect back to the humanity and the public side of our work.