Themes for Basics Posts?

Reader “Chez Jake” suggests that I might write a few “basics of archaeology” posts like other Sb bloggers are doing. I’d be happy to! Dear Reader, please tell me something basic you’d like me to explain about archaeology that isn’t answered well by Wikipedia.


  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    January 15, 2007

    You could explain how the life of a typical archaelogist is just like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

  2. #2 Martin Rundkvist
    January 15, 2007

    Yes, and of course emphasise that people in India are cruel, stupid and superstitious and that they eat bugs.

  3. #3 Alun
    January 15, 2007

    That reminds me of trying to find the way to a temple in Cefalu. I asked for directions, got a funny look and the local pointed the way up to the rock where the temple is. I’d forgotten I’d watched Indiana Jones in Italian the night before. Il Tempio Maledetto is not a good translation for Temple of Diana.

  4. #4 Martin Rundkvist
    January 16, 2007

    Sounds like something one of Eco’s diabolics would say…

  5. #5 Thinker
    January 16, 2007

    Some thoughts and suggestions on blog posts (whether or not they fit your theme of “basic things about archeology”):

    – Enabling new tools in archaeology – not just for documenting digs, but also in interpreting data.

    – Along the same lines: the methods for how data of a completely different nature can be integrated or synthesized to create an understanding, say physical artefacts, botanical/zoological remains and genetic and linguistic data

    – A series of “State of the find” posts presenting the latest data and interpretations (as well as remaining controversies) for some well-known finds (Lascaux, Clovis, Macchu Pichu, L’Anse aux Meadows … I’m sure you can come up with many more)

    Just a little wish list from half a mile from Iarlabanki’s bridge…

  6. #6 Martin Rundkvist
    January 16, 2007

    Those are good ideas! I’ll give them some thought.

  7. #7 M
    January 16, 2007

    The only thing that comes to mind is dating techniques, but that can be quite dry.

  8. #8 Becky
    January 16, 2007

    I’ve always been interested in how archaeology leads to better understanding of past medical practices, health beliefs, etc.

    Glad to hear that things are going well at the new blog home!

  9. #9 Henrik
    January 16, 2007

    A little something for the nighthawks:

    “…inside the Tempio Maledetto I found rare looking carved stones. Some of the other archaeologists were whispering: Yes, the Kensington stone, ahh, yes…. I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about!
    Suddenly a strange looking man dressed as a cook entered the chamber, which was instantly soaked in a deep, purple light. Music started playing out of nowhere and as he mounted a podium of sorts he adressed the crowd in a most horrifying laguage: Börk börk börk, börkobörk, börk börk börk bööörk, börk! he said. This troubling behaviour was met with much appreciation and happy mumbling from the crowd.”

    (Umberto Rundkvist: Il Tempio Maledetto – Or: The Gentle Art of Persuading Diabolical Archaeologists of All Kinds Into Doing Bizarre Tricks in a Language Nobody Understands. Stockholm 1963. I quote the facsimile reprint; Basel 2003, p. 742f.)

    I have to much spare time.

  10. #10 Henrik
    January 16, 2007

    And to little understanding of HTML entities, I might add.

  11. #11 Martin Rundkvist
    January 16, 2007

    LOL! Love you, man!

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