Rock of Ages

Field archaeology has its perks, one of which is the interaction with the public. Most site visitors are simply full of polite interest. A few tend to be local patriots who wish to reaffirm that their neck of the woods was once enormously important. And then there are those who, well, possess more curiosity than knowledge, shall we say.

A colleague at the Stockholm Town Museum told me a story about this latter group. He was digging in the Old Town once, when a person approached his trench and looked intently at his spoil dumps. After a while this person stooped and picked a small stone out of a dump. “Excuse me”, they asked, “is this stone from the Middle Ages?”.

Replied my colleague, straight-facedly, “As a matter of fact, that stone is actually a bit older even than the Middle Ages”.

Comments

  1. #1 Marshdrifter
    January 6, 2008

    LOL! That’s just mean.

    When I was a field tech, processing float samples meant running water through a combination of 5-gallon buckets and fine-meshed geologic screens. There was no elaborate setup, so we sat on the curb with hoses to do this, completely in view of anybody who happened to be walking or driving on the road. The most commonly asked question was “Panning for gold?”, which, while funny the first time, gets a little old by the 500th. Of course, none of the passers by really wanted to take the time to hear about botanical remains and all that, so eventually we just started answering, “No, these are screens.”