For my notes from the 1.1 lecture, I wrote that the word “archeology” reminds me of pyramids in Egypt, clay artifacts, cultures, and ancient civilizations. Archeology does include all of these categories, but it also includes much, much more. Before this week, I thought that archaeologists only tried to dig up artifacts which would now be much more valuable than they were in the past. Also, when I heard the word “archeologist”, a person with a dull collared shirt, dark jeans, sturdy brown boots, and a fedora or gardening hat would appear in my head. I now know that archaeologists search for material remains and usually don’t wear fedoras like Indiana Jones does.
Early in the film “Archaeology: A Journey into the Past”, they mention how in the past, the archaeologists at the sites in the Grand Canyon focused more on research. Now, the archaeologists who work at the park focus on preservation. This is due to the seasonal flooding of the Colorado River washing away these sites. Now, archaeologists also have come to realize the importance of interacting with the current tribes whose ancestors once lived in the sites that the archaeologists are excavating. Some of the sites in the Grand Canyon were sacred to some of the tribes. The archaeologists at the Grand Canyon respected that and their culture. The archaeologists also asked the tribes if they had any questions that they wanted answered. This could guide the archaeologists as well as bring up some new ideas of things to search for that the archaeologists may not have thought about looking for themselves. In the past, the main focus of archeologists seems to have been to search for artifacts that could have given information about the culture of the deceased. Now, archaeologists mostly search for clues as to how these people used to live their lives. For example, the film mentioned that sometimes just by excavating these sites, they can determine how the people who lived there used to get their food. The representation of archaeologists in the media is much, much different. Although I have not watched many films about “archaeologists”, I have seen the movie Indiana Jones. Archaeologists do not fight others or carry a bullwhip. Indiana Jones aimed to find objects; whereas archaeologists just want to find out how the people in the past lived their lives by looking at their material remains. Also, Indiana Jones did not seem to care about what he destroyed in the process. By the way the archaeologists were working, it seemed as if they were very careful, used precise tools, and did not want to lose a single bit of information during the process. Due to popular media, when someone thinks of an archaeologist, they think of an extremely adventurous person who looks through ancient ruins in another country in order to find artifacts. In reality, there are sites in many places in the United States that are not as well known that give us a lot of good insight on how the Native American tribes used to live their everyday lives and what their culture and communities were like.