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And the Award for World’s Worst Procrastinator Goes to….

So here we are; it’s 1:15 am, and today I’ve done all my laundry, vacuumed the floors, done several loads of dishes, made an elaborate dinner, scrubbed the living beJeezus out of various kitchen items that were crying out for it, constructed some high-tech new apparatuses for my bangle storage, watched part one of a three part mini series dvd, reorganised all of my school materials and finished off the very last of my unpacking and somehow I am STILL doing my darnedest to not start reading this essay for class later today.  I’ve really run out of other things to do!  Honestly, though,  if a title like Economic and Social Stress and Material Culture Patterning isn’t enough to warrant the caliber of procrastination that I have valiantly pursued all day today; I have no idea what would be…

Don’t get me wrong– I thoroughly enjoy my ANT 320 class… it’s extremely interesting, and even very entertaining… the professor is great… he may very well already be my favourite at the university… but these confounded essays– the two, three sometimes four of them that we read a week, each at least 10-15 pages of extra small font, often written in overly-elabourate, horribly wordy, head-scratchingly confusing and altogether unnecessarily long-winded asinine 19th Century rhetoric that just makes a girl want to hurl the text book clear out the window.  Obviously Morgan, Tylor, Marx and all the rest of their stuffy old buddies in the Anthro department back in the day failed to receive the critical memo regarding concision…  It’s times like these that make me seriously resent the requirement of an Anthropology major in order to become an Archaeologist…

In order to make a smooth segue from my rant above (and conveniently my homework as well… for the hundredth time today) I’ll clarify the difference between Anthropology and Archaeology here… because it’s something I’m asked rather frequently nowadays.  All Archaeologists are Anthropologists.  Not all Anthropologists are Archaeologists.  Anthropology is the large, general field of study under which Archaeology falls… think of Anthro as the big umbrella under which all of the sub-fields of study fall into neat little categories.  (Sub-fields like Forensic Anthro, Cultural Anthro, Linguistic Anthro, and of course Archaeology, etc.)  Anthropology is the study of culture.  Archaeology is the study of culture through the phsyical remnants they’ve left behind.

We’re the ones that rope off big ol’ dig sites, dividing them into neat, highly organised string-line grids and get down and dirty, unearthing pots and relics and bones and ruins, mapping everything in excruciating detail as we go.  We’re the ones that literally uncover history.  Anthropology entails analysing, theorising, categorising and a lot of other brain-bending, yawn-inducing intangible processes that require various other words that also end in the suffix –orising.  Archaeology is the super cool hands-on, fly to the ends of the earth to exotic locations and dig up all the cool things ancient societies have left behind approach.  This usually does not include chalices, treasures and riches, however… this ain’t no Indiana Jones adventure, man.  Honestly ancient garbage dumps are what really tickle us Archaeologists pink…. seriously.  Nobody goes into Archaeology for fame and fortune nowadays.  Most of the major treasure troves– like the tombs of the Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs whose rooms after rooms after rooms were more obscenely chock-full of gold than a New Jersy Mafioso home– have long-since been plundered or excavated.  Every single ounce of that gold and precious material from finds like those will have all been taken by a whole range of characters from grave robbers to scientists either to be melted down, pawned, sold as collection pieces or displayed in museums around the world.  So when one goes into Archaeology, one accepts the impending life of a pauper that invariably lies ahead.  It’s okay, though;  who needs money when you’re living your passion, right?  (Besides;  large amounts of money are what generous donors and research grants are for : D)

Anyhow, that’s my humble little spiel on Archaeology vs. Anthropology.  It is in no way the proper, scientific definition of either, and should be relied upon or referenced in intelligent conversation [or to answer Jeopardy! questions] only at your own peril discretion.  But I think the general idea has been conveyed… And when people ask me what I want to do in the way of a career, I proudly reply that “I want to be a dig monkey when I grow up.”  And that’s the God honest truth.  : )  [And yes; dig monkey is a proper, scientific term.]

Okay.  It’s now past 2:30 am and this post is no longer too short for my own personal publishing standards, and I am officially– at long last– completely out of excuses for putting this effing homework off… so Social Stress and Material Culture Patterning here I come.



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