I do archaeology. I mean kind of. I used to do a lot more of it than I do now. I used to drag myself out of bed every day at the crack of dawn to dig prehistoric pithouses and my old nemeses, the agricultural rock piles, for hours and hours in the hot sun. I used to walk around in pristine desert areas looking for broken bits of pottery and stone tool-making debris on a fairly regular basis. I used to crouch in shadowed backhoe trenches and draw lines in the dirt with my trowel where storage pits and other features were delineated by soil changes. I used to monitor utility trenches. Except for the utility-trench-monitoring, it was pretty awesome.
These days, I'm an instructor of sorts and as such, I work an 8 to 5 job and am required to let the students dig the good stuff even if they have no earthly clue what it is they're looking at. It's not my job to dig anymore. It's my job to give them a clue, because it's not always obvious to students new to archaeology why what they're doing is the good stuff.
Me: Sweet Mother of Jesus! You just found a Clovis point stuck in a mastodon skull, and furthermore the skull is attached to the skeleton of a mastodon upon which is the skeleton of what appears to be a human being riding the mastodon, and also the mastodon is wearing a harness made of mastodon leather which has miraculously survived for thousands of years! And in Marana of all places!
Student: Nope. I don't get it.
|On the way home from the conference at |
Mile-and-a-Half Lake in the Arizona Strip.
|The Smoked Pig.|
Then it started raining and we all ran away. More on that later. On second thought, I think you know enough already.
I did a poster on Burro Creek this year, which means I got to stand next to it under the big tent for two and a half hours while people wandered up to it, gazed at the pictures for a minute or two and then wandered away to go listen to the talks or look for snacks or something. I felt pretty professional. I mean relatively speaking.
The drive up was extremely beautiful in a desolate and slightly frightening sort of way. Consistent civilization stops around Flagstaff. After that, it's a few houses here, a few there, and one or two waaaay over there. Some very, very small towns. A lot of rocks. A lot of Navajo jewelry stands on the side of the road. A handful of gas stations. Not too many trees. Maybe none. Lots of red rocks and buttes and things. I think it's extremely likely that there are trolls.
You can see forever and ever. You can even see what I'm pretty sure was Utah sometimes. You can be on the road for eight hours and still appreciate the landscape in northern Arizona. It's spectacular country. Consider a trip there if you're ever trying to come up with a good vacation. Maybe you could bring it up with your boss. Maybe you should just consider becoming an archaeologist. If you need instruction, I can teach you how to dig. But I'm going to want credit for any groundbreaking, mastodon-oriented finds.
Enough rambling. Time for pictures.
|That's my boss giving a talk. I know! He looks smart!|
|The line for Smoked Pig Appetizer: |
|Post-Pig; Pre-The Dance.|
|The dance some more.|