Maybe its not so bad

Anthropology has been a passion of mine for the past two years and there is only one class in the major that I continue to put off.  A week ago, knowing that I would have to take it next semester made me anxious for what was to come.  The looming terror: archaeology.  Whenever I think of archaeology I think of math, chemistry and physics.  I think of all of the numbers and dates and machines.  In archaeology, I thought, there is no single person that I could talk to and learn from to know a story.  There is no open-ended interview or participant observation that could solve these riddles.  There is only chemistry and possible dates and historical records of those dates as clues that tell us something about what we find.  It’s a huge puzzle.

This weekend, our group traveled to Xi’an in the northern part of China and the first site we saw was the excavation of the Terracotta Warriors that were found near Xi’an by a farmer.  He was digging in the ground to find water for a well and he saw remains of these clay figures.  He was very nervous and thought that some evil spirits were after him so he covered it up again but it was later investigated by local government.  They initiated the excavation of the site.  These archaeologists found that there were thousands of clay warriors buried deep under the earth ready to be explored and restored.

When I saw the restored warriors in the excavation site with my own two eyes, something came over me.  All I wanted to do was ask a million questions: How are these restored? How many are there? How were they made? Who made them? Why? When were they made and buried? Why were they buried?  I was so intrigued by the chemical process used to clean the clay warriors and the computer processes used to piece all of the remains together to restore or recreate just one warrior.  To me this was a hidden gem in the earth that made me think about the potential of human beings to create beautiful, meaningful things and use them or stop using them as time passes: a vague definition of archaeology.  Now that I have seen such a site, I am excited to take Archaeology in the Spring of 2013 and I am way more open to archaeology as a deeply interesting and intriguing topic.  Even though chemistry, math, and physics are necessary to help us reach some understanding about an excavation site, the work is motivated by the potential for a great find, something like Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors.