Hamilton, History, And The Importance of Perception.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton and the real Alexander Hamilton.

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The original cast of Hamilton: An American Musical, at curtain call.

 

By now you’ve probably, at the very least, heard the name of the newest musical to sweep the world and capture practically everyone’s attention. I remember hearing about it back when it made it’s Broadway debut at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. I saw gifsets on Tumblr, obvious references to the play, images, stories. When it debuted on Broadway it took the world by storm. Admittedly, it took me a month or two to jump on the bandwagon so to speak. I listened to the musical’s album in December, and suddenly, oh, I thought, this is why everyone is raving about it. It’s brilliant. From the lyrics, to composition, to the cast and how they throw themselves into the music and the roles, I found myself remembering why I was so in love with Broadway and musicals and theatre. (I did theatre when I was younger.) But even then, Hamilton: An American Musical, (Or just Hamilton, as I will be referring to it in the rest of this entry.)  is unique. There has never been a musical quite like it, although I hope there will be more in the future, because it’s approach is brilliant. And I will add my name to the list of people calling Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical’s  writer/composer, a genius. It’s a modern musical that manages to combine old and new, and bring newer (ish) music styles, such as using hip-hop, R&B, rap (HELLO THERE DAVEED DIGGS, A TRUE MVP.), and pure soul and love of music,  to a competitive and epic platform, and pull it off in such a way that the audience is left, if you will excuse the first of the NUMEROUS Hamilton related puns/references in this entry, helpless, when it comes to falling under it’s spell. Add to all of this the absolutely stunning (in every sense of the word and it’s faucets) cast and crew ,(The chorus of this musical is amazing as well.) who threw their hearts and souls into their roles and the play, (HI THERE 16 TONY NOMINATIONS AND 11 TONY WINS! Plus, 3 of the 4 main acting awards went to the play. Daveed Diggs for Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Leslie Odom Jr. for Aaron Burr {sir), and Renee Elise Goldsberry for Angelica Schuyler-Church.) and you have an easy understanding as to why this play took the world over.

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What’s that haters? I’m sorry, they can’t hear you over the sound of ELEVEN TONY WINS.

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What Certain Words Mean To Normal People vs. What They Mean To Archaeologists/Anthropologists

Inspired by similar posts on BuzzFeed, here are What Certain Words Mean To Normal People vs. What They Mean To Archaeologists/Anthropologists.

Clay

What It Means To Normal People: Something that comes from the earth, used for masks/creams/lotions or in pottery class.

What It Means To Archaeologists/Anthropologists (Maybe more archaeologists): That stuff that gets everywhere. Bane of our existence when it’s hard and packed in the ground. Of which it is a lot in San Diego. Excavating here can be a nightmare sometimes. Better bring your heavy bars.

Bathtub/Shower

What It Means To Normal People: Places to bathe in order to get clean or just relax and soak achy muscles.

What It Means To Archaeologists/Anthropologists: A place to soak achy muscles. Also: That place you go to wash off the dirt, clay, pollen, tree sap, pollution from the air, ash, spit from that random llama from the neighboring plot that the owner swore never spit, blood (stuff happens in the field and in the lab), the dust from several artifacts that may or may not have something deadly in it, pond/lake water gunk, and several more. Also: That thing we turn weird colors like dark grey , black, and mutant green.

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Bogged Down By History: The Bog Bodies. (Not For The Faint Of Heart)

The topic of the bog bodies, (Bodies that have been found in various parts of Europe in, well, bogs.) has been a topic that has fascinated me for years. There is just something so haunting and out of this world about them, with the way they have been preserved being a rather large part of the interest. These bodies have been discovered while peat bogs are harvested in several places throughout Europe, especially Ireland, the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Great Britain.

The only photo in this post I can show above the cut! Image courtesy of whiskeytastings.com.

Peat bog harvest. The only photo in this post I can show above the cut!
Image courtesy of whiskeytastings.com.

Onward below the cut! (Because the bog bodies can admittedly look very disturbing and I know this isn’t a topic for everyone so below the cut it goes!)

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I Can Dig It: Essentials For Dig/Survey Bags.

Ahh dig/survey bags. Each one can be as unique as the person they belong to, but one thing is for sure; most of them have much of the same thing, along with the added things unique to the person who owns it.

In my own experience, my very first season at a dig (A student dig here in San Diego.) I used a suggested beginner’s carrier: a big bucket, the ones you can get at Home Depot. My next season out I graduated to a backpack, one that was lying around, a Sierra Club backpack, and donated my old bucket to the school’s supply of buckets. In between my second and third (And alas, last season with the school. 😦 ) I took a survey class that required our going out on a survey over two weekends, which called for a sturdier backpack more suited for long haul/outdoors things. I got a very nice canvas hiking backpack from a local sporting goods store. After that, it became my survey/dig bag. While spending hundreds of dollars isn’t necessary, the one I have was on sale, reduced to $40 from $90. The cheaper ones, like the ones organizations send out as gifts, work fine, but, and I’m saying this more to people who are reading this who might be just starting out/interested in starting in a career in archaeology/serious interest in it, it is worth it to get one of the more sturdy ones. Sporting goods stores are often times having sales, so finding a good one at a decent price shouldn’t be too difficult.

Onward to the spoils!

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Indiana Jones and the Glorified Garbage Collectors.

  The scientific study of material remains (as fossil relics, artifacts, and monuments) of past human life and activities.

Merriam Webster’s definition of “Archaeology”.

There is a long list of misconceptions that are associated with archaeology, one of the main ones being what it is that archaeologists actually do. Seeing as one of the main goals of my blog is to add to the list of other archaeologist bloggers who are trying to inform the public more on the world of archaeology, I figured that a sort of crash course in what archaeology is and what archaeologists do, is a good idea. (Although many other blogs have posts similar to this, I still want to write this out because it’s my turn.)

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Most Bizarre Things People Have Said To Me When Finding Out I’m An Archaeologist #1:

Oh that must be a nice cushy job, you don’t have to do much do you?” –

Said in the snootiest, rudest, most condescending tone I’ve ever heard.

I just stood there, smiling slightly and not responding, because how could I respond to that? (Without chewing the person out that is.) I couldn’t, because the situation was a bit important and me making the person mad would have been bad. But I mean, how, why would a person react like that? I suppose one reason is the ever present, underlying opinion that all archaeologists are snooty, elitist rich people who have no time for anyone else’s opinions or drudgery. A hold over from the early days of archaeology where a good portion of the people who were archaeologists actually were rich and a tiny bit elitest and snobby. And I’m not saying that there aren’t anymore archaeologists around that are that way, because there are. But the ratio of those people to the poorer, non elitist, non snobby ones (and ones with money who aren’t rude) is, more and more, becoming skewed in favor of the latter.

And the idea that we don’t do much, that we’re apparently lazy and hardly work at all, that is another thing that made me just so angry because it’s so far from the truth. Surveys, excavations, lab work, every little bit that makes up what archaeologists do, retreats so far from the lazy line that the line is something we can dig up 100 cm down. (In the heat, or rain, or both. Something I’ve experienced myself.) Excavations and surveys especially are laborious work that drains you by the end of the day. Lab work can be intense, with long long hours devoted to tests, identification, and data analysis/entry. Archaeologists are some of the most hard working people I know, and to have someone say they thought we were all lazy was too much.

If you’re going to be rude about something/be snooty about it, at least have the decency to do your research before you say anything because otherwise, you come out sounding like an ignorant dunce.

How Archaeology Saved My Life

I know the title sounds dramatic, and perhaps it is, just a tiny bit, but to me it’s the truth.

I always had this struggle to fit in in life. I’ve always had plenty of friends, people who love me, people who care.I did theater in junior high and high school, I played volleyball also in those years. I was in groups, I was fairly happy, but I always felt slightly disconnected from all of it. I never really felt like I’d found my ‘people’, the ones I was destined to be around. The career I was supposed to be in. I’m talking about that feeling where you feel like you can just be yourself. That if you bring up a topic of interest, the other people around you will get it. The feeling of acceptance, calm, and joy from knowing you have ‘arrived’. It’s the security of knowing you are where you are supposed to be, with the people you’re supposed to be around, and the bright, shining future that comes with this.

That’s what archaeology has done for me.

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The Do’s And Don’ts of Talking To An Archaeologist:

I would like to forward this by saying that, like everyone else and their careers, not all archaeologists are alike, nor are we all alike in what we do and do not like to talk about, what we think is funny, and what we think is offensive. So this isn’t a definitive list, but rather, a list of do’s and don’ts I’ve noticed over the years, from my own experience and that of friends and colleagues.

DO NOT, when talking to a friend or loved one who is in school for archaeology with the intention of becoming an archaeologist as a career (Because some people do just take it up as a side interest.), refer to archaeology as their ‘hobby’.

DO ask things such as ‘So, what got you into the subject/career?’

DO NOT ask someone when they’re going to go to school for a ‘real job’. This is our real job.

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