Day in the life of an archaeologist

A fun new chronicle is now available on An Archaeologist’s Diary: Day in the life of an archaeologist!  The title is inspired by my favourite Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life” and the chronicle gives a detailed account of a day in my life as an archaeologist. Today, I am offering you a glimpse of a day during my first ever archaeological season in Sudan, back in 2000, at the Royal City of Meroe (now on the UNESCO World Heritage list).  Enjoy!

To seek out new life and new civilisations…

Last night, after watching a TED talk by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, I thought I would write a blog post seemingly unrelated to archaeology: the reason why I like Star Trek.

I say seemingly unrelated to archaeology because that’s what one would think at first glance, but it is related in some way (otherwise I would not write about it here!). Archaeological research is a bit like the Enterprise’s five-year mission; archaeologists and anthropologists explore strange new worlds and seek new life and new civilisations. Instead of searching out there in the vastness of space, we search in remote and not-so-remote corners of this earth. One of the reasons I like Star Trek is because it’s all about exploring the unknown, living an adventurous life and going boldly where few have gone before… very similar to the life of an archaeologist.

The other would be because I find Captain Kirk absolutely awesome. (Bill Shatner, back in the day. Oh, my!) However, for the longest time, I actually refused to watch any of the other series in the Star Trek franchise because I did not want to see any captain other than Kirk at the helm of the Enterprise. I eventually watched The Next Generation (many years after the show had ended) and I was pleased to find out that Captain Picard was an amateur archaeologist, which made his character even more endearing. (Plus, I realised that he and I have many things in common.)

Were I to join Starfleet and the crew of the Enterprise, I’d be wearing a blue shirt and beaming down to study ancient ruins, abandoned cities and alien cultures…