When I was living in Japan, I got to see some truly amazing exhibitions. Its common for a floor or space within large shopping complexes to be given over as a semi public space, and these spaces often show exhibitions of art and antiquities. During my 18 months there, I saw paintings from Monet, antiquities from Egypt and Ancient Greece, Samurai exhibitions and many other delights for the eyes.
I was transitioning in my career path. I had literally fled my former life and was searching for a new career. In the meantime I was teaching English to Japanese people and weighing things up in my mind……
During one of my solo visits to an exhibition, it dawned on me. These things that delighted me so much did not just turn up in these places, someone had to organise them. Who was that someone? Could I be that someone? My imagination immediately took hold of me and I envisaged myself working at the British Museum, well paid and immaculately dressed, organising wondrous items and their travels around the world. THIS IS IT! I thought. Im going to be a museum curator…..
So upon my return to Oz, I enrolled in a preparatory course held at our tertiary counterpart to university, TAFE. This was because, although I knew I could handle uni, I was wary of going in without a little practice so to speak. I did very well at this course and so during the last semester of prep, I enrolled in uni as an external student for a semester to get a feel of what it was like. I did a course that had two components, one was museums and the other was archaeology.
Long story short, I HATED THE MUSEUM PART!! Like hated it. It seemed so so so so so boring and the complete opposite of my highly paid, well dressed, imaginary job. BUT I LOVED LOVED LOVED THE ARCHAEOLOGY! It was so exciting! I had always been a bit of a geek about Ancient History, I loved it at high school and would make time to watch documentaries on tv whenever I could. I had a very solid interest in Egypt, like so many people, but had never entertained that my love of history could be a career. And here it was, being handed out to me. A career in archaeology……. I was hooked. And I have never looked back.
I have been studying archaeology now for almost 9 years. I have a bit of writing to finish up my PhD and then Im done. With studying formally that is 🙂 I have been gainfully employed as an archaeologist for about 5 of those years. Its never been boring for me and I look forward to each job I do, as its a little bit more of the human story that I get to interact with.
The biggest kick I get out of being an archaeologist is the tangible connection that we can experience with the past. In my research, I have held in my very own hand objects over 2 million years old! Thats freaky deaky old my dear reader! Its not even made by us (Anatomically Modern Humans are a bit younger than that). But we can observe so much from these objects. Its like a virtual time machine
It continually blows my mind that we, as modern humans, can interact with objects made by people like or a little bit like us, but who lived a life so dramatically different to the one we live today. Archaeology has provided me with an intellectual love affair with the past that generates so much happiness in my life. I love interacting with the objects of the past, talking to other archeologists about the past and thinking (and daydreaming) about the past. Its such a massive contrast to the iPhones, twitter, Facebook, uni, tv, movies, restaurants, cars, houses and other things that crowd our lives today.
Archaeology is the best career choice I could have made, although its definitely not as well dressed as my imaginary job. I wear a lot of ugly clothing, and often look terrible at work as its always outdoors and here in Australia, usually hot. But fashion aside, it sustains me in a way that no other job has. And best of all, all my mates are archaeologists as well. Its like a tribe, we all get it. And we can get rowdy, very rowdy indeed, its true………
So thats why I Love Archaeology!
If anyone else out there is an archaeologist, I would love to hear how you got into it and what you love about it……. Don’t be shy!