|—||Frederic William Maitland|
Screw advanced astronomy and the concept of the number zero, this was Mesoamerica’s greatest contribution to the world.
Who knew that fermented, ground up cacao beans would actually not taste completely disgusting? Gutsy move, pre-Olmec peoples.
Seriously, what was the rest of the world doing? Creating empires? Pff, please - as if that actually compares to chocolate.
Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
Wow Dove, thanks for reminding me that I live in a dorm with public showers and no plausible way for me to take an actual bath.
Otherwise known as one of my many history-crushes. o3o I mean, come on - the man could do everything. Tuesday, he’s talking about astronomy, Wednesday he’s got mathematics covered, and then on Thursday (just to switch it up) he’s gonna go theorize about the human subconscious.
This BAMF Grecian Philosopher was the student of Plato, which means he was the grand-student of the original BAMF Socrates. Some of Aristotle’s more popular contributions to basically everything are:
-The Five Elements - Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Aether.
-Defining motion as “the actuality as such.” Whatever that means. But hey, he said it.
-The concepts of substance, potentiality, and actuality.
-A classification of living things which was arguably better than Linnaeus’.
-Considering a governing body as a living creature; i.e. not able to survive without all of its parts.
-Using empirical research.
Yep, Aristotle is classified as “one of those awesome people who did pretty much everything” along with Da Vinci, Archimedes and Thomas Jefferson.
On top of that, ever heard of Alexander the Great? Yeah, Aristotle was his tutor. You have to be pretty awesome to be Alexander the Great’s tutor. Y’know, him ruling a good chunk of Eurasia and North Africa and all.
How many of you actually don’t like people very much? I like people, I’m just picky about WHICH people.
Children celebrate the surrender of the remaining German forces in the Netherlands with their Canadian liberators, May 5 1945
I originally submitted this to Anthro Fox, but thought it was appropriate for here too.
It’s a well-established truth that archaeologists are slightly insane. Normal people don’t enjoy waking up at 4:30am six days a week to do physical labor in extreme sun and high temperatures, working alongside all variety of disturbing, potentially poisonous insects. (Okay, admittedly, put like that, it doesn’t sound super appealing.) But every year, hundreds of professors, students, and eager adventurers pack their work boots, sunscreen, and trowels into backpacks and head out to domestic and international excavation sites to put themselves through an average 6-8 weeks of the aforementioned work environment. What’s the appeal?
Archaeology, mainly thanks to the Indiana Jones franchise and the over-emphasized chest of Lara Croft, is commonly perceived as a pseudoscientific pursuit that mainly targets bright, shiny objects. Conveniently, these objects turn out to be extremely valuable or possess mysterious supernatural powers. Unfortunately, the entire field historically developed out of a pursuit of such items, so the contemporary push to study cultures for the sake of cultural significance rather than monetary value has been a slow change.
For example, consider the most prevalent archaeological discoveries commonly known in contemporary society. Tutankhamen, or “King Tut!” as he has been affectionately dubbed, remains one of the most popular international attractions to date. This is due in no small part to the allure of the mythic curse surrounding the mummy and the original excavations. No less sensational, though definitively less historically-grounded, are the annual claims of finding Noah’s Ark, artifacts from the time of Jesus, and other biblically-charged “discoveries.” The drive for prestige based on the level of popularity and attention given to the find remains, sadly, one of the biggest obstructions to a true conception of what archaeology is and the importance it carries.
Just like cinematic sex scenes and the ability of movie protagonists to get through airport security without a ticket, archaeology is far less glamorous and exciting than Hollywood would have you believe. But this sentence remains true if the only reason one pursues archaeology is for the discovery of shiny things. Begone, magpies! Archaeology is for academics and historical enthusiasts. And no amount of physical pain, sunburns, or insect bites can detract from the high-energy, tense, exciting environment unique to an archaeological dig.
Every day is an uncertainty. There are the days where you dig and dig and find nothing more than bone fragments and pottery sherds. (And, on some digs, not even those.) Yet the potential always exists…the potential for a complete vessel, an inscription, a piece of jewelry, a burial, a temple, and, naturally, the hope of finding the archaeological discovery of the century. While such larger discoveries are not infrequent, more often, daily searches in the ground uncover more gratifying, albeit smaller discoveries. Perhaps one day a door is revealed, marked only by the rectangular pattern of stone. Another morning the dirt flakes perfectly off a lower layer, marking an ancient floor. And the next afternoon a piece of mosaic might be uncovered.
Each piece of history, however insignificant, is a piece of history taken directly from its time period. (Assuming the excavation has an undisturbed stratigraphy!) As an excavator, being able to hold even the smallest sherd of pottery, in the knowledge that you are the first person to interact with that artifact since it was buried, however many hundreds or thousands of years ago, is an emotion of wonder, passion, and exhilaration.
So yes, archaeologists are insane. There are much less strenuous ways to spend the best months of the year…or are there? For archaeologists, the addiction to the dirt, the history, and the potential for wonder are an irresistible draw. And for almost anyone, the excavations are a place, where for two months every year, you get to share and enjoy the experience with a group of people just as crazy as you are.
You know how this blog’s main page caption is “This isn’t Indiana Jones. This is…archaeology!?”
Well…this (well, that above anecdote) is archaeology!
I will just add my two cents, however. A good friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status a few days ago: “Decided to show up to my first Archaeology of Ancient Egypt class in full Indiana Jones attire.”
I used this as an opportunity (after first joking that I’d “keel” her) to mention that the propagation of the Indiana Jones stereotype is not cool. It’s really hard to proudly declare your major to the world only to have it be shut down or viewed as a joke. Hopefully, this blog shows that archaeology is a serious pursuit. It is also my hope that you can all see that it is also an incredibly fun field, and it doesn’t have to rely on killing Nazis or running from booby traps to be fun. It’s just innately awesome. ;)
Indiana Jones has his place. But it is not here (well, except for that hipster meme I posted a few months ago as a humourous space filler…).
That said, I have two exams and a paper left to go (I finished archaeology yesterday! Yay!). After that, be prepared for a more regular posting schedule. Summer’s a comin’!