Passion

In the middle of the forest path

To be archaeologist is not only to have an occupation… It is to be a freak in a way.

Today I want to share a story with you about my friend and a colleague. Not so long time ago, somewhere around middle of June this year, a friend of mine came to my house very excited. She ran inside with dirty hands almost screaming with an enormous smile on her face.

“I need a shovel!” she said, “anything to dig, any sharp edges! Come on, I found something in the middle of the forest path, we HAVE TO dig it up!”.

So we sat for some time, talked a little, but in the end we finished walking through the forest, looking for a hidden archaeological treasure in the middle of the forest path.

I must admit, I wasn’t so curious, or even half way excited as her, but when we finally found the spot, I couldn’t imagine leaving without digging up the metal, round object lying in the very middle of the forest path, just few centimeters beneath the surface.

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Of course, we haven’t brought any tools with us, but it didn’t matter. We started digging with our bare hands, with help of some sherds and stones found near us.

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After some time two older people, who were walking through the stated path got interested in our digging action. It must have been very bizarre seeing two young girls digging up with their hands something in the middle of the forest path.

They stopped, they asked, and they got interested. They stayed with us until our work was done, helping us to examine the metal object we dug up.

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It wasn’t anything special, just a peace of not that old pipe and a metal tap near it.

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BUT it wasn’t about treasure, it was about the curiosity, dedication, and peoples interest in archaeology.

My friend proved she’s an arch-freak, but without her I would never be able to share this incredible story here.

What are the conclusions?

Very simple and obvious. Archaeology is around us, everywhere we go somebody was there before us, and possibly left a piece of themselves in our way. Let’s enjoy the landscape we observe throughout its deep history written by lifes of our forbearers.

Steve White: Archaeologists Rock!

My name’s Steve, I play guitar in ‘From the Ashes’ and I have a problem, an addiction, and there’s no support group for it (well, there is, but more on that later). I’m an Archaeologist…and if any single one of you is now thinking “Oh cool, he digs up dinosaurs” I would like to direct you to the image directly below…

Not even close.

What a few million years between friends? (source: shovelbums.org)

For those look about in confusion a quick elaboration, Archaeology is the study of past human societies through material culture, wheras Palaeontology is the study of things that are pre-historic and NOT HUMAN. Yes, I know its more technical than that, but I’m not gonna spend 10,000 words discussing the differences between the disciplines.

Anyway, I’m writing this lovely (metaphorically speaking) Friday morning because *somebody* (I’m looking squarely at you here young Steph) said I should write up what it’s like being in a band and an archaeologist. As we had a gig last night, I’m currently an archaeologist who plays in a band and also has a *slight* hangover.

Anywho, I’m trying to think my way through what it means to do this thing, to be an archaeologist who plays in a band, and the thing that I keep coming back to is that I do both things because I care about them. I love playing in a band, being on stage is a massive high, and the boys I play with are my brothers (one of them actually by birth, technically). I became an archaeologist cos I enjoyed it, and am passionate about it. The people you meet while working as an archaeologist will similarly have your back through thick and thin. In both cases there’s an almost familial bond with the people you work and/or create with.

For both of these endeavours, its you against the world, through thick and thin. Commercial Archaeology can be a hard industry to work in, the pay is generally crap, the pressure and stress can be abominable. But, the love for this thing we do, and the strength you gain from the people around you sees you through to the end of every week. Being in a band, and attempting to make it, there is rejection after rejection. People promising the world, but delivering only dust, wind and the rolling of tumble-weeds. But, you do it cos you love it, and the guys you share a stage with help you get through it.

And lets not even mention the need to burn the candle at both ends! Getting up at 6am to go run a site is decidedly less than fun if you’ve headlined a gig the night before and only gotten home at 1am.

But we do it because we choose to. We want to do it, are passionate about it, perhaps even need to do it.

And that’s the addiction, we’d probably do it for free (which ain’t a great bargaining position when you’re trying to negotiate a pay rise, let me tell ya…).

So, in conclusion, what’s it like being in an archaeologist and being in a band? Its pretty much the same to be perfectly honest. That could just be me though, who knows…

You do spend an awful lot of time in pubs for both though…

See ya from the stage (or the bottom of a trench).

Steve

(Original blog post here: http://fromtheashesband.com/blog-day-of-archaeology)