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“Don't they dig up dinosaurs or something?”
Archaeologists are people who search for remmnants of human culture, such as rusty beer cans from keggers dating to the late 1950's. Their objective is the recovery of ancient stuff from dusty cellars and caves in order to put them in dusty museums that are only open on weekdays ending in a T and on the 5th day of the epistle. (Or so they would like you to think. Their true goal is in fact world domination.)
Archaeologists, like geologists, tend to be drunkards and cads who live by the rule "a fool and his money are soon partying". However, anyone knows a geologist can drink an archaeologist under the table, despite the fact that almost no one aside from geologists take this phrase literally. This has resulted in many wildly awkward social 'snafus'.
Ignore the above sentence. It is very, very, very wrong. While geologists can hold their liquor, an archaeologist can drink anyone except an Engineering student under the table... figuratively speaking, that is. How do I know? I am an archaeologist. Oh, and anthropologists can't hold their liquor at all. It is true despite the fact that archaeologists are specialized anthropologists. As stated, an archaeologist has specialized in the physical remains of humanity and the physical compounds of alcohol.
edit Modus Operandi
Most archaeologists, as depicted accurately in Hollywood film and most comic books, lead lives of high adventure and death-defying intrigue. Whether tracking down ancient artifacts for, um, science and subsequently mass-murdering multiple galaxies, accidentally reawakening malevolent fire-bombing mummies, incurring the curse of the Dragon Emperor and his acolytes with foolish mortal arrogance, or saving the world from Goa'uld oppression, the archaeologist is always busy. Their cavalier and carefree antics are envied by their colleagues; hotties swoon over their field-work stubble. Ah, yes. So what if some native coolies get their hearts ripped out by a cult of Kali-worshippers? Who cares if some Commie gets her head blown up by aliens? A true archaeologist, like James Bond, cares naught for such trivialities.
Why just the other day I was digging a test pit on the site of a future strip mall, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the skull of Elvis himself. Then a band of raging llamas burst out of the ground waving bat'leths and shrieking obscenities in ancient Sanskrit, which I could understand, because I am an archaeologist, which means I know all things and see all things, like Sauron. A harrowing and occasionally hilarious adventure ensued, which I cannot relate here for matters of national security. Suffice it to say that Hitler, Farrah Fawcett and copious amounts of Jack Daniels were involved.
This is a typical occurence in the life of an archaeologist. Anthropologists, on the other hand, wear nerdy glasses and usually join the bad guys.
The term archaeologist is derived from "arch" (like as in Roman) and "aeology", which also means something.
Their patron saint is Indiana Jones.
The first archaeologist sprang forth from the loins of Sean Connery a few years before he was born. This remarkable individual traveled the country for some time under the fictitious name of Harrison Ford before realizing his true calling. This first archaeologist then engaged in a series of adventures much too complex to describe here. His escapades inspired many socially awkward young men to learn such useless skills as profiecency with a bullwhip. For this reason, the number of archaeologists boomed after the 1990's. However, field schools and copious amounts of alchohol have helped control the archaeological population due to "unexpected familial obligations" and the necessity to get a real job.
Archaeologists have many enemies, especially fundamentalists, God, Nazis, Communists, Aliens, Anthropologists, Geologists, Paleontologists, miners, looters, Republicans, offroaders and wealth. Despite the inter-field rivalries described below, the archaeologist's greatest enemy is ALWAYS another archaeologist, who functions as a nemesis. Some archaeologists have more than one nemesis. The greatest insult that an archaeologist can heap upon another is to use the word "Doctor" in a sarcastic manner before pronouncing his or her last name. (NOTE: this insult applies only to those archaeologists who actually have a doctorate). On to archaeologists' other natural enemies:
edit Archaeologists vs. Aliens
Despite their best efforts to make peaceful contact, aliens have been constantly attacked by archaeologists from every era. Most of the ruins present on earth are actually the result of battles between aliens and archaeologists.
It is unclear why archaeologists hate aliens so much, but it is believed to be due to the desire of archaeologists to lay claim that all development of culture on earth has been independently developed by human beings. Aliens both invalidate that claim, and muddy up the present artifacts, forcing archaeologists to try and determine just what was the result of human efforts, and what was the result of aliens.
Archaeologists consciously make an effort to destroy all alien features and artifacts, thereby proving that humans are the superior species. Unfortunately, their claims are difficult to validate, and some alien artifacts are simply too resistant to be destroyed. Many of the larger ancient structures made by aliens, such as the pan-global pyramids, Stonehenge, Easter Island (the entire island, not the silly heads that the natives made)the Nazca lines, and every single bit of rock art ever drawn were simply too beautiful and well-known to be destroyed. Thus, archaeologists have spent centuries making outlandish claims in a vain attempt to convince people that these were the result of human work, and not aliens. Archaeologists also claim that aliens are racist.
edit Archaeologists vs. Anthropologists
Archaeologists and Anthropologists are long time bitter rivals, fighting many bloody wars, including the 7 Year Itch War. Because, as one of the conditions of peace, the Anthropologists were made responsible for keeping the records of this conflict safe and accessible, no one can tell what the hell actually happened. Most believe it has something to do with the indoctrination into anthropology that is foisted upon most archaeologists during their early schooling. Unfortunately, many archaeologists must work alongside a superior number of anthropologists because they are housed in the same department. This produces a large number of tooth-loosing brawls, nefarious revenge plots, and an occasional lawsuit. Oddly, archaeologists still believe in a quaint concept called "culture," which cultural anthropologists abandoned two decades ago for meaningless postmodern drivel. Some archaeologists have been tainted by this development, and as a consequence have forgotten how to dig or do anything practical at all. Such hapless misfits are usually scorned by real "dirt" archaeologists.
A breed of peculiar hominid known as a bio-anthropologist (or palaeoanthropologist) has been bred by some maverick geneticists in an attempt to bridge the gap between these two incompatible species. Unfortunately, the result was a mutant superweapon more akin to a paleontologist than anything else. These mutants also sometimes dwell in the same departments as archaeologists and anthropologists, providing endless entertainment for all.
edit Archaeologists VS Carbon
Carbon is just so cute. Why won't she ever let us date her? Is she really still mad about that time we got together and stole all her panties for research purposes?
edit Archaeologists VS Communists
Communists declared war on Archaeologists some time around 1954, over an incident involving one of their psychic operatives, several ants, three rogue former archaeologists that had escaped from a geriatric hospital, and a small rodent-like creature, referred to alternately as either "Shia LaBeouf," or "Jar Jar Binks all over again."
Communists also attacked Archaeologists for stealing three of their most cherished, and original concepts, known as "class-warfare," "Thesis, and Antithesis," and "Atheism." Archaeologists stated that they were guilty as charged, and explained that these thefts were needed to protect themselves from the threat of a "Shia LaBeouf sequel." The two groups have since formed an uneasy alliance against this more serious threat. Some have even interbred, creating "Post-Processuralist Archaeologists," which are just as annoying as both parties, but far less effective, and therefore not particularly dangerous.
edit Archaeologists VS Fundamentalists
The inherently destructive nature of excavation offends fundamentalists, partly because it threatens their precious fundaments, and partly because it leaves fewer things for them to destroy in their fight against the spirit of environmentalists. Fundamentalists also despise Archaeologists because our omniscience offends their gods. Archaeologists mainly are against fundamentalists because they keep telling us that flood geology is a legitimate science, and that we have to use their book in all of our text-aided research for historical archaeology. It also bothers us that the fundamentalists think we excavate dinosaurs, and want us to go get the ark of the covenant back for them. Jerks.
edit Archaeologists VS Geologists
Archaeologists and Geologists have long been fighting each other over who can lay claim to the Estwing rock hammer as an icon of their party. Geologists contend that archaeologists will rapidly become too drunk to wield an estwing rock hammer with any safety at a party. Archaeologists contend that this belief is due to an incorrect understanding of the term "safety" when applied to weapons. Archaeology teaches them that when applied to a weapon, the term "Safety" relates solely to the safety of the wielder, and any injury or homicide caused to others is merely proper use of the weapon. A large number of Geologists have died in these debates, but no archaeologist has ever been injured.
Geologists also complain that Archaeologists have hijacked all their tools and models both practical, and theoretical. On their part, Archaeologists just snicker, and say "Heck yeah we did," as they wave Estwing picks, Soil resistivity meters, and Munsell color charts about while teaching hotties how to "assume superposition."
As with many other opponents, Archaeologists have made angry love to Geologists, and crossbred to develop a particularly virulent strain of Geo-archaeologists. Geo-archaeologists are highly contagious, and resemble the Ebola Virus, except that instead of infecting you, and causing your internal organs to turn into mush, they lecture you on pedogenesis, layers of sols and paleosols, and the origin of gravels until your heart and brain turn into mush.
edit Archaeologists VS Gophers, moles, and ground squirrels
"Filthy little creatures that know nothing but how to burrow through the earth, grub for food, and badger each other for sex. Oh, I thought you were asking me about the archaeologists. Those other critters are kind of tasty if you can grind up the bones. Plus they're a damned site more comfortable to sit on." -Oscar Wilde, on gophers, moles, and ground squirrels.
edit Archaeologists VS God
God has been battling Archaeologists ever since archaeologists proved that the earth wasn't 6,000 years old. So far, there has been little success on either side and the result has been a tepid battle, in which God occasionally regrets creating carbon-14, and Archaeologists occasionally wonder if they would have fewer satanic manifestations interfere with their work if they had not rebelled against the Almighty.
This rivalry stems mainly from the claim that both God, and Archaeologists, are Omniscient beings, and do not believe in each other; a position which is both self-reinforcing for those who hold the claim, and self-denying for everyone else.
Efforts to cross-breed God with Archaeologists have utterly failed to infuse any God into the subject, but have produced some of the most notable Archaeologists, including Jesus, Indiana Jones, and Lewis Binford.
Actually, that wasn't Lewis Binford, it was just God pretending he was Lewis Binford.
edit Archaeologists VS Looters
Archaeologists attack Looters at every turn... unless their ethical soul dies, and they become looters themselves. This battle involves many complicated aspects, but mostly boils down to the perceived value of four things: Context, Science, Antiquities, and currency. Archaeologists generally put more value on context and science, whereas the looters tend to value currency and antiquities more. Unsurprisingly, the looters become wealthy, productive members of society, while the archaeologists have to breed among themselves in the hopes that they can eat the babies they make.
edit Archaeologists VS Miners
The battle between Archaeologists and Miners is essentially the same as that between Archaeologists and Looters, with a few subtleties. Archaeologists have less immediate animosity against Miners, because after all, they're just kids for God's sake. Also, the miners are not always after the same thing the archaeologists are. However, the Miners tend to grate on archaeologists more, because they constantly ask Archaeologists about gold, brag about finding artifacts more often, and are able to stake out a claim on a piece of land, something that Archaeologists cannot do.
Miners for their part tend to laugh at the Archaeologists, with their tiny dental picks, but there's not much archaeologists can do, since the miners have well developed muscles from swinging their pickaxes all day, and can see in the dark, thanks to their carbide hard hat lanterns.
edit Archaeologists VS NAZIS
NAZIS first began to develop a hatred for Archaeologists when it was discovered that their submarines, secret bases, and tanks were susceptible to infiltration by Archaeologist operatives. They also found that archaeologists were better at hand to hand combat than most of their top SS agents. This became a serious problem, especially after the United States discovered this, and began training crack teams of archaeologists, ending in the defeat of the Third Reich. NAZI survivors ever since this debacle have been defacing archaeological sites with swastikas, and targeting ethnographic interview subjects for hate crimes.
Archaeologists first began to develop a hatred for NAZIS when it was discovered that they were the only humans (aside from archaeologists) who were capable of winning over the love interests of archaeologists. Later, Archaeologists realized that the Nazis were created through genetic experiments that cross-bred fundamentalists with looters, thereby solidifying the hate of Archaeologists against NAZIS.
edit Archaeologists VS Offroaders
Archaeologists are under constant attack by offroaders, because both of these strange creatures extrude a chemical known as "Flagging Tape" from their abdomens. Unfortunately, archaeologists extrude this chemical to mark scientifically interesting territories they claim, such as "Can dumps," whereas Offroaders extrude the chemical to mark their territory, known as "trails." The two species use their territories in remarkably different ways, with the archaeologist leaving, and gathering resources to "record" and "excavate" in a process that can take months, or years, and which leaves strange square burrows in the soil known as "units," while the offroader leaves, and gathers resources in order to "Shred" and "Flip," which leaves longer, rounded burrows, known as "trails." Archaeologists complain that "trails" can interfere with their units, and destroy their all important "Context," "Provenience," and "Artifacts." Offroaders complain that "units" can interfere with their trails, and destroy their all important "Buggies," "jeeps," "ATVs" and "Dirt Bikes."
The two parties are also at odds due to a great deal of envy. Archaeologists are jealous of the cool wheels, and sweet CB radios that the offroaders use. The offroaders are jealous of the archaeologists because they get to dig up all the sweet jumps. Each one is angry at the other group for buying up all the energy drinks and Jeff Foxworthy hats at the last truck stop, as well as hogging the space at those sweet hotsprings down the road.
On top of this, Archaeologists are peeved at offroaders for asking insanely strange questions, and interrupting their answers after the first sentence by saying "Cool," and for throwing their empty energy drink cans all over archaeological sites. The offroaders are peeved at archaeologists for thinking all their schooling makes them better, for trying to give answers that involve multiple words, and for not telling them where to find all the really cool arrow heads and pyramids. These differences normally preclude cross-breeding, although there have been rare instances of non-procreative intercourse caught on film. Sadly, we cannot link to any of those steamy videos.
edit Archaeologists VS Paleontologists
The rivalry between archaeologists and paleontologists has been around ever since Hanna Barbara leaked top secret documentary footage showing that humans, dinosaurs, and Pleistocene mega fauna coexisted. This has led to a sibling rivalry, in which neither party can safely work beside the other, for fear of Indian burns, and getting told on to mom and dad. This forces each party to work in complete isolation from each other.
Archaeologists, for their part, hate paleontologists, because nobody in the general public knows what archaeology is, and the general public mistakenly assumes that they are looking for fossils of extinct animals. Paleontologists hate archaeologists for similar reasons, because the general public always asks them if they are archaeologists, and assumes they are looking for buried treasures, such as artifacts, coins, and arrowheads, and constantly asks archaeologists if they are paleontologists
Public, Please get it right; Archaeologists look for people. Paleontologists look for animals.
edit Archaeologists VS Mole Children
This long-standing battle was eventually taken to a global scale when the mole children, under the rule of the Mole Queen formed a cannibalist sect which eventually proceeded to conquer all nations of the world, driving humans into hiding. Eventually, the only feasible resistance lay in an army of archaeologists based in Cortez, Colorado. Using various instruments and techniques (most notably carbon dating to determine which areas had been disturbed by the mole children tunnels) the archaeologists were able to form an underground base, guarded by various explosives and battle-hardened archaeologists. While the struggle initially seemed hopeless, the tide quickly turned when an elite squad of archaeologists successfully infiltrated the mole queen's palace. While they failed to kill the mole queen, they did manage to kill her information gathering firstling and forced her to evacuate, which caused her to relinquish large swathes of land.
While this victory managed to give the archaeologists cause a significant boost, The odds were still against them. Despite her advantage however, the Mole Queen then proceeded to birth 2000 more children. This resulted in a new species of mole child known as Homo Severus (rather than the previous species Homo Horus, fathered by John Edwards). Originally, the Homo Severi working with the Homo Hori proved to be a significant threat to the archaeologists; however their significant differences soon caused relations to deteriorate and each species began fighting and consequently eating the other in order to express their dominance. With their attentions diverted away from the archaeologists, they were ambushed numerous times and the archaeologists enjoyed a string of victories which eventually gave them the upper hand against the Mole Queen.
As casualties mounted for both Homo Hori and Homo Severi, the Mole Queen began to grow desperate. Her sanity had slowly been deteriorating ever since the death of her firstling and the war was turning less and less in her favor. In desperation, she appointed herself a personal guard of about 100 Homo Severi and directed the remaining Homo Hori and Homo Severi (about 20,000 total) to attack Cortez directly. The attack, though powerful was in the end unsuccessful due to the lack of coordination of the attack and the massive success of the defenses set up by an archaeologist that is to this day, unknown. However, recent investigation has led to the conclusion that they were allergic to wheat and infamous throughout Cortez for their catchphrase, "bitch, please". After the Battle of Cortez, the remaining Homo Hori split up into factions and lived in tribes throughout the Mesa Verde region. The war now almost decisively concluded, the archaeologists launched a final assault on the mole queen and her personal guard. Little is known about the details of this conflict, however, it resulted in a treaty in which the mole queen and her remaining Homo Severi were entitled to continue living on an island they were allowed to pick, while rebuilding the world would be the responsibility of the archaeologists.
An archaeologist's work requires him to demolish ancient buildings, break open old doors and disturb local communities. Therefore, they have many natural enemies, such as fundamentalists, who aim to preserve fundaments, and Nazis, who see that as part of their job.
Certain individuals in politics claim that the true purpose of an archaeologist is to preserve the past by telling construction workers that they have to stop digging until another cursed native american burial ground can be ritually removed. That is entirely false. Archaeologists only care about burial grounds if they include a portal to hell. They've been working on a way to ship kegs of beer there for the party.
Generally, laypeople perceive archaeologists to be folks who didn't grow up and keep fantasising about mummies, and dinosaurs. This is only because laypeople known nothing about the Stargate program, which employs 98.26525% of all modern-day archaelogists in SECRET government work.
Outside of of the Stargate program there are only six or seven tenured archaeology academic position which are tenaciously gripped by octogenarians who still think Margret Mead is a hottie. (That they ever thought that she was a hottie demonstrates the very low standards for shaggability that archaeologists are famous for.) There are few other real job opportunities in archaeology. There are approximatively a dozen "assistant" archaeology professor positions advertised at any given moment, but there is no record of any of these having been filled since the 1970's. For students who are not smart enough to enter academic archaeology or the Stargate program they can enter the world of Cultural Resource Management (CRM). CRM provides aspiring archaeologists the opportunity to pay back their mountain of student loan debt they incurred getting a Masters in archaeology using a minimum wage salary this is called "doing this because we love it, we don't do it for the money", it is also called foolhardy or helotry. Those in the know realize that it is nothing but debt peonage, resulting in a similar state of bondage and living standard to that of their starving Irish great-great-great-grandparents.
edit What to do if you see an Archaeologist
Here is what you should do if you ever meet an archaeologist:
- Ask them, "Wha'cha doin'? Digg'n fer gold?"
- Complain at them saying that what they are doing is a complete waste of time and money and they should just get out of the way and let the house/office/road be built.
- Point to one of their most important finds and say, "I saw this exact same thing at Walmart."
- Point to an ordinary mug in their sink and say, "Ah! Tang Dynasty!"
- Point to something in their office that is obviously a priceless artifact and say, "You should take that to Antiques Roadshow".
- Ask them what the best fossil they have ever found is. (This really narcs them.)
- Ask them how much they get paid. (This REALLY narcs them!)
- Ask them what their favorite dinosaur is. (This mildly narcs them.)
- Ask them if they know Tony Robinson.
- Ask them what they are looking for. Demand a specific answer, and leave without asking what they have found.
- Ask them how many dinosaurs they have found.
- The instant they touch anything, ask how old it is.
- Ask them why they don't have a whip.
- Offer them a larger dental pick, brush, trowel, shovel, or backhoe.
- As soon as they move any soil, tell them not to feel too bad, and say you're sure there's a pyramid under the next grain of sand.
- Ask them if you can have all the gold that they find.
- Tell them that when they are finished they can come and do your garden.
- Tell them that they are digging in the wrong spot.
- Tell them you found an entire grave, dug it out with a backhoe, and put the pretty things in your back yard.
- Show them a "Y" shaped stick, and ask if they need you to dowse for anything.
- Ask about the flood.
- Repeatedly use the terms BCE, BC, and Antedilluvian.
If they respond to your questions the best thing to do is to take them to the pub and buy them a warm brown drink called Ale - it will generally shut them up for a while! (Remember, the more ale/beer/cider/tequila/scotch you buy us, the longer we will talk about the differences between the processual and postprocessual theoretical paradigms. You've been warned...)