Monday, August 04, 2003

Archaeology I've wanted to be an archaeologist ever since I was 8 or 9. In 1972 my mom showed me a National Geographic article about the island of Santorini, which had a volcano that erupted about 4,000 years ago, burying a Minoan city in ash. Lots of nifty things found there- the most exciting are beautiful frescoes of monkeys, boys boxing, women gathering fruit for a ritual, flowers, etc. When I visited Santorini in 1996 it was kind of a letdown, since there was no museum. Since that time they have opened one and you can actually see the artifacts and frescoes there instead of at the National Museum in Athens.

So I went away to U of Michigan, got an A.B. degree, specializing in human bone analysis. Went away for a 10 week long dig in Mountainair, New Mexico- got hooked on the craft of archaeology. It really does take a lot of skill to be able to read the soil. And then returned to Ann Arbor for the worst months of my life. I didn't know how to get an archaeology job and my professors were no help, they didn't realize that there was archaeology outside of academia. I ended up working at the U of Michigan Business School taking care of their journal collection.

Oh my, that was an evil job. I replaced a woman who was mildly retarded. What took her 8 hrs to do I could finish in 4 hrs. And then I would have to find something to do. My superiors nagged at me to buy more "business-like" attire. Finally I had to tell them that at $5.91 an hour (this is in 1986-1987) there was no way I could afford dressy clothes. They nagged at me about my handwriting. I had to write call numbers on the outside of the journals. Except the business students were soooo stupid that the journals were filed alphabetically, so it didn't matter what the call number was. They nagged because I would read Time and Newsweek on my break and because I didn't eat in the cafeteria with the students boasting about their $60k jobs they were going to be getting.

I started going to work 5 minutes late each day, and then started leaving 5 minutes early, knowing that in 48 days I would get a free day out of the stolen time. Luckily I didn't have to wait. On the day I had my introductory lunch with the head of the library the National Park Service called and hired me for a dig at Fort Union Trading Post in North Dakota. Off I went to start my exciting new life.

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