“How do I love archaeology, let me count the ways… One of those is that archaeological research can disabuse us of stereotypes we hold about the past… and the present as well. For example, I’m working on a project extracting fingerprints from ancient pottery that clearly demonstrates that females and males were equally involved in pottery production in the US Southwest — there seems NOT to have been any clear gendered division of labor. Pretty awesome!”
– John Kantner, PhD, RPA, Treasurer
Associate Vice President for Research Dean of the Graduate School University of North Florida
“I love archaeology because it’s not just about digging up awesome ancient stuff (although it’s that too!). For me, archaeology is about asking how humans use, experience, and create meaning through the things we make. The entirety of humanity is wrapped up in our stuff. Archaeologists help us understand our world through the material culture we need, love, and loathe.
-Chip Colwell, Practicing/Professional Member at-Large
Senior Curator of Anthropology, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
“I love archaeology because it forces you to challenge all your assumptions about human behavior and the past. The past is both more foreign and more familiar than I ever could have imagined before starting my journey as an archaeologist, and it leaves traces in our daily life in so many ways both material and immaterial. The way we categorize and think about ourselves, each other, and other beings on this planet is the outcome of so many years of different narratives and different materials coming together, and this never ceases to amaze and fascinate me. I work mostly with archaeological traces on a microscopic scale – through microbotany and lithic use wear – and I love thinking about how these minute traces have survived millennia as indices of the choices people made long ago in confrontation with problems that are often not so different from those we face today.”
NSF SBE Post-Doctoral Researcher
Department of Anthropology, Environmental Archaeology Lab
University of Texas-Austin
What else are the archaeologists of AAA up to?
Program Editor Jason De León (who also happens to be our 2018 AAA Annual Meeting Program Chair) directs the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of clandestine migration between Mexico and the United States that uses a combination of ethnographic, visual, archaeological, and forensic approaches to understand this violent social process.
President Lisa Lucero has been conducting archaeology projects in Belize for almost 30 years, where she focuses on the emergence and demise of political power, ritual and water management among the Classic Maya. Her research identifies lessons we can learn from the Classic Maya (c. 250-850 CE) about the role climate change still plays in shaping political histories.
And you can find all sorts of amazing sessions sponsored by the Archaeology Division at our upcoming Annual Meeting in San Jose!
Happy International Archaeology Day! Leave your note about why you love archaeology in the comments, or tag us on Twitter and use #IAD2018.