After an Ultra Bad Work Day in 2021, I thought, “I can’t do this anymore, I’m going to change my career to something, anything else.” I jumped onto a university website to look at what degrees exist.
Archaeology, of course, came first under ‘A’.
(I liked telling this story to a few friends as it got some laughs. It made me sound like someone who creates their travel plans by pointing blindly at a world map. The partner jokes that if I had started elsewhere I’d be doing Zoology.)
In truth, I looked at this list, and realised I knew nothing about Archaeology as a profession. Curious, and bored, I Googled, “is Archaeology boring?”
One of the top results is Dr Colleen Morgan’s blog post, Stop Saying Archaeology is Actually Boring. She exhorts those in the profession to please, for the love of Ancient Egyptian Gods* stop beginning their presentations to the lay public with, “you might think that my work is like Indiana Jones, but it’s not nearly so exciting. Anyway, here are some broken pots I found…”
Her writing about her career is compelling and vibrant. My favourite quote of hers would have to be:
As archaeologists we are the discoverers and keepers and storytellers of the different ways we have found to be human.Dr Colleen Morgan
Reading that line gave me the feeling that my inner escape artist had just been handed a passcode out of a locked room. I went on a massive reading spree after that.
I do mean to reach out to Dr Morgan personally, but wanted to do it when I had made some headway into the Certificate first. I hope this namedrop isn’t too creepy. She (phD and awesome) is a lot more famous than I (Miss Nobody) am, anyway.
Another article I read soon after was from Cracked.com, which describes the reality of Archaeology in a fun way: “It’s like putting together an enormous puzzle after your dog chewed the box with the picture to shreds and somebody stole half the pieces.”
It was a Hasty Generalisation, but after a few articles I thought, Archaeologists are good writers!
I went down a big rabbit hole reading about both archaeology and forensic anthropology for a few weeks before I made Dreams Of Digging.
*my embellishment, and I’ve paraphrased to summarise the gist of her plea.