The Archaeology of Archaeology
Quite often we are engaged with something which later becomes our profession. As time goes by we are seized by the obligations and responsibilities of our profession so that forget why we choose the one which models our life. Whether we have done it because we love the activities related to the specified profession, we believe in its contribution to improving the world or simply have decided to deal with something because it brings us earnings or prestige in society? Particularly The Day of Archeology gives an opportunity once archaeologists to rethink their motives and wonder why we started to deal with archeology. Any of our responses will guide us to answer the question what archeology is about us and how it is seen in the eyes and minds of those who are not archaeologists. Therefore, regardless of our individual motives to become archaeologists and (not)objective reasons to stay still archaeologists, however most agree about our understanding of archeology and its objectives.
Archaeology is a science i.e. scientific discipline that officially exists for only three centuries. Although in the past millennia there was consistent tendency to comprehend the past, yet the first archaeologists with Bachelor appear very late, even in the 18th century. However, in comparison with many other social and natural sciences, the later institutionalization of archeology is just formalizing what thousands of years is one of the most existential human issues – the past. Man has always had an interest in what happened in the past and how it contributes in creation of the present. And particularly in the answers to this question, archeology is considered as the most competent, especially due to its possibility to have direct insight into what people left behind. Despite other sciences that considers distant past, the archeology has the privilege directly to penetrate into the items as they were and not like others had wrote and spoke about them. Perhaps such a privilege for a forensic understanding of the past is the motive that stimulates archaeologists to be attracted by the possibility for a voyeuristic glimpse into ancient cultures. Surely, such scientific voyeurism as much it is exciting that much it bears responsibility, mostly in the interpretation of the function and significance of objects and buildings in the past.
Interpretation is actually the essence of archeology, from which emerges the greatest responsibility of archaeologists as the official interpreters of the past. Archaeologists are not adventurists which digs the fields and hills or distributors of artifacts for embellishment of collectors and governors. Yes, there were any and there are some still, but most of us feel the responsibility to thoroughly examine and understand the past cultures and through argumented interpretation to share our knowledge. Although there are enormous temptations for personal glory and creating national policies through artifacts, yet we remain consistent to our responsibility with arguments to interpret the past and present as a cultural heritage. The hours spent under the blazing sun on sites or inside wet museum storages make us stronger in the determination of comprehensive understanding of the human past, as well as in its explanation to people today. Therefore, a day in honor of archeology reminds us of our scientific ethics and confront us with the challenges and responsibilities we have for a current and future generations. In a way, it brings us back to the initial motives why we became archaeologists. The desire to know the past and thoroughly to talk about it is the urge that stimulated us to be persistent in our choice and intention to contribute to the understanding of the millennia of humanity changes and achievements. We believe that this urge will still keeps us in our scientific endeavors and will further stimulate the sharing of our knowledge of Macedonian and World cultural heritage.
Macedonian Archaeological and Scientific Association