For today’s blog post, I am directing you right to digging the DIRT. I quite enjoy this blog; they often include posts that make archaeology humerus, I mean, humorous to the general public, as opposed to just super keen nerdy archaeologists like me. Today they tackled the subject of why archaeology is important, and did so through the ramblings of one comment to their blog. It struck such a chord that I felt I had to share it here…
“I would like to know why anyone thinks archaeology is of any “useful” value.
What does an archeologist do that makes one bit of difference to the average guy on the street making a daily living?
I question where does any finding resulting from an archeologist work make a difference [to] anything in today’s working world?
Can anyone produce documentation or papers where one can find an actual “Return on Investment” on an archeological site?
Since it appears that no one even reads “written” history (current or otherwise) to apply lessons learned in order not to repeat mistakes why would anyone think that archeological history is of value? Since most archeological work is “educational guess work” any way!
This immediately incites rants from archaeologists on BAJR, which, to the archaeologist can be quite entertaining. However, I do believe this to be quite an important topic. I did create a poll on LinkedIn, asking developers what their take on historic resources was, and although it incited quite a limited response, I do think that archaeology as a nuisance is not popular opinion. No, archaeology does not provide a monetary return and, unfortunately, it is an expense to a number of developers. I do believe, however, that the value of archaeology is immeasurable, in terms of heritage, pride, identity and human advancement. We learn from the past; we didn’t just magically get here with planes overhead and cars zooming by. But that’s just my opinion (See also Part 1 and Part 2 of Why the past is important to the present). What do you think?