Archaeology in the margins

Some days, archaeology only creeps into the margins of one’s day or one’s plans. It might be in one’s social media “feeds” or compilations of news tidbits; it might be in “calls for proposals,” conference announcements, or correspondences with fellow archaeologists.

Today for instance, my immersion within pure archaeological bounds/boundaries was quite minimalist, not necessarily by design, but rather, because that’s how some things play out.

In one regard, that frustrates me, especially when hearing and seeing what is being done around the globe in investigation, lab work, preservation, conservation, education, etc. as it just feels as though I could and would want to do more, but it is something I accept the same too.

When I teach, it primarily is sociology, cultural anthropology, or nowadays, even biological anthropology (human evolution specifically); there just are not the archaeology courses left to teach. Even still, I keep the archaeology in the margins, mixing it in as examples relate, as questions correspond, or as it supports learning and increases engagement. I also informally educate K-12 students in informal workshops when I can, with mock dig boxes, pseudo-soil stratigraphy boxes (use paint chips as Munsell charts!) In that regard, the passion for archaeology is still there, but it is leveling out with my passions across all disciplines of anthropology, along with my work experiences as a more generalist, and as an anthropologist.

While I still read up on archaeology and keep current that way, I see myself and identify myself more as an anthropologist first rather than as an archaeologist, in part because it steers more away from “where/when was your last dig” or even, “how do you get a job in that” discourse. The archaeology identity is there, but like much of textual analysis and translation; it is more in the margins than sprawled across the daily or even the monthly calendar personally.

For that reason, although I blogged since the inception of Day of Archaeology in 2011, I think I am going to transition into reading the entries and in that way leave archaeological blogging in the margins. It has been an enjoyable time, and the more I get to know the bloggers, the more I know I will still have the means to relate and to exchange information, just like good marginalia notes do for translations and for deep textual analysis. I will forever support this international blogging cause, as I will always be an archaeologist at heart.