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Space Age Archaeology

The right stuff: how archaeologists come to be.

4 Dec 2017, 00:08 UTC
The right stuff: how archaeologists come to be.
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Am I an archaeologist because I'm interested in the stuff? Or am I interested in the stuff because I'm an archaeologist? Which came first?Some time ago, I was talking with the erudite Dr Duncan Wright about how common it was for archaeologists to have been collectors as children. I collected fairly ordinary things - shells, stamps, feathers, and tram tickets, and had hoards of apricot stones stashed in hollows of trees. Nothing more exotic than that. Today, I have a possibly unhealthy interest in lids, pencil cases, tiny spoons, and the fairies-on-sticks that you buy at agricultural and horticultural shows. (There's a whole cabinet at the Pitt Rivers Museum full of tiny tiny spoons for removing ear wax! Oh the splendour! And there is nothing more satisfying than a well-fitting lid, not a screw-top like on a jar, but a tea pot lid, for example). Healthier collecting interests are space things (obviously), icons, fans, gloves and hats, 1960s tea cups and other ceramics, and stone tools. (This feels a bit confessional. Don't judge me).The tactile and aesthetic qualities of things are important. I think I like tiny spoons because of the scale; perhaps this a child's interest in the miniature. ...

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