Why don’t Hollywood archaeologists ever break a single bone?

This afternoon, I came across a post on LinkedIn by Nigel Hetherington of Past Preservers that mentioned the BBC’s The Conversation radio programme featuring two women archaeologists, one of whom you already know: Egyptologist Salima Ikram. In the two-minute clip of the longer programme about exploring the past, Salima ponders why Hollywood archaeologists don’t ever break a single bone when they fall.

As I listened to Salima describe a major accident she had a couple of years back, I recalled the time on the dig where I took a bad fall and how scary it was to think–even for a split second–that I might have broken my back. (I described the incident on my other blog La Vida Aegyptiaca on Dec 16, 2007. It was the dig season from hell.)

Unlike Hollywood archaeologists in the movies who get back on their feet a tad stunned and with a few scratches, real life archaeologists can get badly hurt while excavating.  It’s one of those things you don’t really think about, but accidents do happen even on a dig (it’s not just tropical illness and bugs and snakes).  And you can’t just call 911 for the paramedics if you’re in the desert.  So really, the only thing we truly have in common with Indiana Jones is the hat…. and the library work!

(You can listen to the whole programme here.)

I wonder what the king is eating tonight?

Here’s the other iMalqata post I had enjoyed yesterday. Want to learn more about Egyptian food, meat in particular? Read this entry by Salima Ikram. Enjoy!

iMalqata - A Joint Expedition

Salima Ikram

It is fabulous to be at Malqata—an ancient Egyptian settlement with areas that show social stratigraphy and organisation. Kings, nobles, and commoners all lived here and celebrated the sed festivals of King Amenhotep III. I first worked on animal bones that were excavated from Malqata in the 1970s for my Ph.D., and am thrilled that the Met is digging now in different parts of the site so that there is a fresh source of bones to examine. The animal bones that I am studying come from trash pits, and undisturbed fill that lay in the North Village. By examining these, we are learning about what people ate and how animals were butchered.

Part of the [] bone of a calf, with butchery marks. Part of the rib of a cow that has been chopped in half.. Many of the bones I am examining come from a pit just outside the enclosure wall of a ceremonial area known as the Audience Pavilion…

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