I was having a chat today with the resident Numismatist at work about a fellow colleague’s research interests. Archaeology and heritage is a strange world where one can entirely judge a book by its cover… or a person by their research interests. If we turn this analogy into a school room scenario:
The theoretical archaeologists are the slightly spacey kids who love politics and arguing simple for the sake of proving someone wrong (they are also, without exception sticklers for good grammar). The Practical archaeologists are the jocks of the operation; sporty kids who want to be outside and get antsy having to remain inside looking at a powerpoint presentation when they know that you cant actually use any of the information in the REAL world. Site managers are like the PE teachers of the above – really just want to be outside playing but struck down with too many meetings and too much paperwork. The numismatist is the foreign exchange student who is clearly very intelligent but seems to play up to the communication barrier just to see what will happen and is always dressed in sweatervests, even in summer. Small Finds specialists are the indie kids who have a new fascinating band/piercing/pair of shoes every other day and seem to be drawn primarily to shiny things like a magpie – they frequently spend time walking down corridors and singing loudly. Zooarchs want to be vets when they grow up and cover their work books in pictures of pugs. Ceramicists are usually seen as a bit too pale and strange to be in any of the other inclusive groups and have meaningful friendships via the internet instead. Geologists are in the wrong class and spend all day either trying to lick or blow up whatever is in front of them. The anthropologists are always going away on holiday during term time. Landscape archaeologists spend all day doodling on everything in site, including themselves because sometimes the biros really can paint a pretty picture. Historical Archaeologists sit at the front and genuinely seem to be paying attention. The kids at the back in the dark clothes obsessed with Vikings are all in a band together.
I only mention this as having a personal research interest in magic – curses, charms and a lot of phallic symbols makes me the archaeological equivalent of an emo teenager trying to be non-conformist. This doesn’t seem so bad having successfully pidgeon-holed everyone else =)