Tuesday, 10 March 2009

An Archaeologist Archaeologist?

The Lords exercised themselves yesterday over the poor employment prospects of - of all professions - Archaeologists; "really m'Lud Archaeologists you say? Really?"

It was news to me, but seemingly with the disappearance of new building projects many "archaeology full time hobby-cum-jobs" are disappearing. It seems that the majority of Archaeologists are employed in what is called "rescue archaeology" which depends completely on blue collar workers digging up something interesting - only to be rewarded by a flock of 'ologists who patronise them, stop work on the site for 6 months, meticulously uncover, catalogue everything that was buried and then cover it back it up again - contributing the net sum of bugger all to society in the process. Am I missing something - this is just digging holes and filling them back in isn't it?

Isn't construction an industry responsible for the employment of many more than Archaeology? An industry perhaps more deserving of debate and notes of concern in our second chamber than a hobby disguised as a job...

Why the Lords think that we should be concerned at all by the employment prospects of a bunch of anal retentive, middle class, over educated, under achievers inspired by family television evenings watching that nice Tony Robinson on Time Team eludes me. If ever there was an abject lesson in why not to base your tertiary education choices on a "pretend to be better than other reality television programmes aimed at middle class approval" this is it.

I have news for you Tarquin and Beatrice - Time Team and The Antiques Road Show are not undergraduate career adverts. You are expensively educated, cosseted and over indulged pricks who are financed by your parents to undertake a pointless degree course - a middle class reality TV inspired course choice into the bargain - not like that nasty chav Big Brother.

Get a proper job, and indulge your hobby at weekends.

I do love the neat social comment implicit in the fact that the brutish working class construction industry is directly responsible for the employment of effete middle class Archaeologists - class war? To the barricades and JCBs comrades, our middle class brothers need some employment, lets dig a hole for social cohesion.

I guess what we could do is bury all of the unemployed Archaeologists and dig them up when we need them; would we need an Archaeologist Archaeologist for that?


  1. Bad show - archeology informs us of our past, the way of life of our ancestors, and the social relationships they lived under. You seem to object to the delays caused by archeology to the construction industry whereas I see this as a social benefit - slowing down the vandalism disguised as development projects.


  2. A philistine - why thank you scunnert. How much useful information we learn from archaeology, particularly that within the written history, or say perhaps within the last 2 or 3 millenia is pretty questionable. Early/ancient, scientifically significant archaeology was/is not carried out by Archaeologists (a made up mediocre excuse for a job if ever there was one)- but by scientists, specialising in multiple disciplines. So phooey to you too!

  3. The majority of Archaeology carried out is within the last 5000 years - name one significant advance made by modern mankind through the understanding of "social relationships" of our ancestors, or any other aspect of that period?

    Significant archaeology should rightly be referred to as scientific research, not the "made up" profession that employs the bulk of professional Archaeologists - to no net benefit to mankind. What they discover has already contributed in a linear timeline to what and who we are already and has been built upon / improved / ignored.