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Professional Archaeologists Hop on Movie Bandwagon
July 22, 2008 - 1:17pm


In response to the Archaeological Institute of America’s recent election of actor Harrison Ford to their board of directors, and to corporate giant Expedia’s Indiana Jones Travel Experiences, the normally staid Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) has announced the most exciting new option in adventure scholarship: Get-Real Camp.

Pretend to be an archaeologist by becoming an actual working archaeologist and doing all the fun things a real archaeologist does!

Days 1 – 2,190:
Ph.D. Don’t make any missteps in your education or you’ll miss the bus to your dig site.

Days 2,191 – 4,015:
Campers will make a line at arm’s width and walk the site in surface surveys, sweeping it many times for visible artifacts. Next: Shovel testing! Dig 50 cm holes 10 m apart, screening the dirt from each. Make a sketch map of all knolls, swells, ditches, and water features. Grid the entire site and start digging by hand with skim shovels and trowels in 2 x 2 m units, 5 cm at a time, screening all that dirt. Slow down and use paintbrushes and wooden picks if you think you’ve spotted something. Maybe you’ll find an ancient latrine! Evenings, settle in for delicious Army-surplus LRRP rations and a sponge bath, if you’ve remembered to carry your own water 8 miles from the nearest well. What else can you look forward to? Just two words: Yeast infection!

Days 4,016 – 4,820:
Head back to the lab to float all those tons of dirt through the .5 mm screens, a cupful at a time. Look for any charred seeds and nuts! Nonpaying guests in the camp may use the word “bogus,” and professional scholars will abandon the project as “unworkable” and “lacking in significance,” but as our paying guest, you’re entitled to stay on to completion! Your children can always look to their football coach or drama teacher for guidance.

Days 4,820 – 8,470:
Return to fieldwork, year after year. Shovel, sift, lift, bent-back and broken-kneed, until your first heart attack. Now you’ve got what you came for! Crawl for help alone under the unpitying sun. Wild dogs! Be discovered by merest chance by drunken bikers on the way to Sturgis. There’s a day you’ll never forget! Also: Grant proposals due.

Days 8,471 – 8,500:
Convalesce with an array of complimentary professional archaeology journals. Read of all your peers who’ve made full professor.

Days 8,501 - 12,151:
One last push after partner takes up with somebody in the Philosophy Department. What else do you have to live for? You’ve put this much effort in already.

Day 12,152:
Find a shard! In celebration, give the indigenous what-for with fists, whip, sword, and a WWI pistol. Then do it with a Nazi in a leather bustier. It’s the greatest time of your life!

As a kid, you wanted to be an archaeologist. Be young at heart by following your childhood dreams! Try the Get-Real Camp by the RPA!

(Disclaimer: Being an archaeologist is hard damn work and mind-numbingly routine. Actor playing Indiana Jones is not only unaffiliated with Get-Real Camp, he wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Other methods of staying young at heart include dumping your wife of 18 years, piercing your ear, and dating an actress 22 years your junior.)


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