journal, university

Passport to digging

Aspiring dual citizens rejoice! I learnt that Archaeologists in Australia collaborated to make:

The Australian Archaeology Skills Passport is a 94-page document which looks like a Quest list in a video game, and is for professional archaeologists to reference and audit themselves in their career.

Some skills are very specific to digging, such as understanding stratigraphy (looking at lines/layers in the earth in order to date them) and some are broader, eg collaboration (not getting into fistfights with your fellow team members because you’re tired and grumpy in hot working conditions).

Stratigraphy helps archaeologists date buried artefacts. Image credit:

I won’t list all the skills because I have to write about them already for an assignment, but you get the idea.

Part of the assignment topic is to describe some of the skills you already have and list experiences to justify them.

I had to opt for the non-specific ones like Analytical Writing (dabbles with words) and working in a team. As I have not gone excavating*, I could say I have a 100% track record in not getting into wrestling matches on field trips. This may, hopefully, be something of merit in counting towards the assignment grade**.

*yet! First ever field trip with the uni is now booked in April.

**I’m not really going to submit something about wrestling matches.


Week of wondering

Things I have done in the last week:

1. Wondered what there is to do, relevant to Archaeology, between now and Semester 1.

As a 20-something-year-old, I was always dying for the end of year break – those lovely 6 long weeks of luxurious nothingness, when studying wasn’t imperative. 10 years later, the summer holidays are approaching and I am looking for things to read and to study. Go figure.

2. Signed up to AAA Inc.

There are quite a few societies with this name according to Google e.g. American Automobile Association; All About Architecture; Australasian Association of Aryuveda… how interesting! Of course the relevant one was the Australian Archaeological Association.

Yay! Always feels special to be in an in-group. I have sent them $60 without knowing anyone else in it. Hmm. It looks legitimate, but will update here if I have unwittingly joined an internet Ponzi scheme.

Hopefully ancient structures are the only kind of pyramid I encounter.

3. Started researching where I might go digging in 2022.

I found out that there is a tiny town in Australia where an excavation is being planned for next year. In the 19th Century there was a gold rush in Australia, certainly in the state of Victoria. A lot of artefacts would have been left at these old mining sites.

For a person to join in and excavate, the fee is like, $1100+ (and this is the student price!)

Plus you have to pay for or arrange your own accommodation. Getting there will require taking two flights ($600+ return) and driving two hours to reach the middle of nowhere. The alternate route, says Google Maps, is to drive nonstop for 10 hours from home.

Both of these seem like wildly impractical and difficult options. I am now wondering what it would cost to embark on such an adventure, which seems laden with mystery and meaning. If this dig is a yardstick at all for excavations in general, archaeology sounds extremely expensive. And Fun Fact: archaeologists do not keep the things they find. Generally the items go to be studied and/or housed in museums.

Now I’m left wondering – just how do archaeologists make money??

More to come.

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