The Bluffer's Guide to Archaeology

Overview

"Archaeology is rather like a vast, fiendish jigsaw puzzle invented by the devil as an instrument of tantalizing torment, since you don't know how many pieces are missing."
 
"It takes very special qualities to devote one's life to problems with no attainable solutions and to poking around in dead people's garbage: words like 'nosy', 'masochistic' and 'completely batty' ...

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Overview

"Archaeology is rather like a vast, fiendish jigsaw puzzle invented by the devil as an instrument of tantalizing torment, since you don't know how many pieces are missing."
 
"It takes very special qualities to devote one's life to problems with no attainable solutions and to poking around in dead people's garbage: words like 'nosy', 'masochistic' and 'completely batty' spring readily to mind. This is why eccentricity is a hallmark of the profession."
 
"Archaeology is an ideal subject in which to become an accomplished bluffer because much of the evidence is so patchy that anyone's guess is as valid as anyone else's. People tend to think that archaeologists spend all their time digging. In fact, not all of them dig, and only a few dig all the time. The bluffer should explain condescendingly that processing and analysing the finds usually takes far longer than the excavation itself, which is therefore just the foreplay, the preliminary stage: the means to an end, not an end in itself."
 
"Diggers—undergraduates, local convicts or civilian volunteers—are the cannon fodder, usually providing all the sweaty labour and kept in a state of blissful ignorance about what they are doing and why. Amazingly, some even pay money to be treated this way. Their basic task often appears to be to move dirt from one place to another, occasionally sieving it into different sizes before dumping it."
 
"Most archaeologists will wax lyrical about their passion for the past. Don't believe a word of it: as a good bluffer you should be able to recognize self-serving nonsense at 20 paces."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"At last an archaeological vade mecum has appeared at a price to suit every pocket. The Bluffer's Guide to Archaeology should be in every archaeologist's library. This delightful book abounds in ironical insights and wry explanations of archaeological mystique and jargon."  —British Archaeological News
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781903096970
  • Publisher: Oval Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Bluffer's Guides
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Paul Bahn is the author of Written in Bones and Journey Through the Ice Age.
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