Archaeology Dub FX – feat. DJ Pot-man REMIX Flaverz

A House music fan – yeah the tangibility is palatable in a wheeled motion that recurs in varying but ultimate cycles of reproduction. Really, what are we but adages remixed and jockeyed tunes with ever growing alacrity and the wonderfulness of everybody’s preferences !

The delight of being an archaeologist is not really in finding out how people were in the past, but when at some point you realize that we are like them and they are like us and we are all like each other and as much as that is obvious when tracing back the stories we know to even further origins. This is when you know that you are part of something and maybe now, you spend so much time at home and it feels like the world is spinning out of control and you could not just keep up, but like there were people like them, there are people like us, in some way, you can find the parallel, and that I translate their life into yours, into ours and you see and you can say, well you see, that’s how we all use to just chill out you know. Some person in Ancient Athens riffing on what the hell is going on, ripping from the world what she can and placing it into hers. And even in the oldest song, now you would not even know that that’s what it is, but its my person that looks into it, and then, and you know, that we have our musical roots, our political life stems from a great ‘tree’ of our lives and we all grow our own leaves on different branches, but we are all humans attached to that same tree and that’s what archaeology and history can be. As we explore the echoes of old ‘songs’, ancient habits from a place back closer to the trunk we realize that there is a sort of cosmic similarity between all of us, and the thing that’s really fucking sweet is that it is not some abstract thought that appeared or is just kinda assumed, but it is in fact the basis of our entire existence, and the world of sounds and sweet-ass tunes to which we boogey our bodies to, and feel that knot untie in our stomachs and throats. And you know, I see that. Really, it’s there and it’s not a fantasy. It is so glaringly there, that it is only if you broaden it to encompass that possibility. And woah, man, I tell you, years later, volumes and many cold days on excavations I’ve spent, I never quite saw it. And it seemed more like fun days with the bae’s when all we are doing is really connecting over our shared past, and not quite realizing that we ARE connecting and it is not just because we have now been brought together for a task, but rather we are standing, working and discussing the lives of people who lived well before us, and it makes you a little anxious  because well it reminds you that your life will end at some point and all you’ve maybe done is read about the lives of peeps a long time ago, know what I mean? And so instead of just being you in the now and the pleasures you can have, you are living through others who lived theirs. And so you know, you gotta think what do people do things for? Sure, maybe there is a Great Project to which archaeology submits to, some great Humanitarian idea, but I feel like that’s a relic too now, the idea that we could all speak with one voice, but that’s not what’s quite right you know, it seems nice, but on the face of it is a rather cold stony temple of an idea. But, that’s because I don’t quite get it.

In the end, what it is we do is that we see that in so many ways and so many times so many people were so fucking chill – you know? All over the world, and yet they tell us about wars and death and misery, slaves and royalty like that’s what its meant to be like, and that you better deal with it – yeah. But you know, so many more of us made stuff, thought things, chilled out and had a laugh you know… It’s like that doesn’t matter in history, that it’s not ‘valuable’ knowledge. But I put to you – that’s what it’s really all about

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What draws me, or us, to history, archaeology, the past and so on? What kind of people are we to care and want to know about current affairs and past affairs…and anxiously now know after a decade how many of the predictions we’ve made have now horribly come true. Yet…warnings there are many, and many. The dismissal of history, of our epesteme as ‘one fucking thing after another’, where wars, famines, cruelty are consistently repeated despite our fiercest objections and warnings ultimately makes us feel powerless – and here is another old adage “Those who study history are doomed to watch it repeat itself”.  So, if it is doomed to be an inevitable cycling into the same death and disaster we witness over and over again, and again…there is cause to fatigue, despair. And I weep, truly I weep, at the reality that I witness, and consistant success of ‘human nature’ of violence and destruction…and not that of peace, and learning? How, can we, a handful after of human beings devoted to the past, with all of our different politics and views, which are in now way uniform, can hope to have such an aim. Quite the contrary, all views are encompassed, and let us field our wars in the ever-growing density of knowledge and conversations, rather than in the physical violence of our might. I feel its not too much to ask.

KITCHENER RECRUITING POSTER

But this is where the error is, because archaeology is no mission to triumph over the minds and actions of those who would rather seek to wreak destruction on the peace-loving lifes of people around the world. Rather, I would see to improve the archives of human existence one mistake at a time, one project at a time as far and as long as my mental strenght will carry me – in the hope that these small acts will lead to small improvements, collectively to the improvement of everyone’s existence. A grain of sand to the mountain of la Science. Lastly, there is no call-to-arms. It is all my imagination, my will to fill my deep anxiety about a waste of precious time with useless information. I feel I would be better suited to mediocre poetry, or short stories. And so, before even launching into the exciting years ahead, I’ve already put myself at my deathbed, and imagining my final thoughts to be a heavy sigh of having spent too much time in tomes and not even feeling alive, with people I love. In truth, these books give me the satisfaction of ‘worthwhile’, while more and more, I just want to revel in the purposelessness of life.

When Archimedes ran out into the streets, naked, shouting “Eureka”, well, I hope to that one day. But in the meantime, here I am drawing huge circles with my mind, and please…don’t disturb them.

Growing thoughts

Is it a curse or a blessing?

Perhaps my mind is too easily influenced. I shudder at the thought of someone reading this. I read a phrase somewhere that said the following (approximately): that theorists today write books in the following format, first they spend a huge chunk of the book explaining their worldview, and then the rest placing convenient examples that support their worldview. This bothers me. What if it is a very good worldview? The accusation mentioned was considered to stem from the implications of post-processualism. Theoretical discussions seem to me a bit strange at times. Not in particular with the author alluded previously (whoever she/he is).

Let’s clarify a bit. I enjoy a bit of independent thought. While, I am aware that probably 99.99% of everything I have ever thought is someone else’s concept only less artfully expressed. Nearly always. Original ideas can often be traced back to some philosophical principle, either from Aristotle or Plato. Or so I’ve heard.

Offerings to the Gods of History

As far as studying the past goes, well it is inevitably fun, interesting, engaging. Piecing together ingots of knowledge in order to repaint an image our past lives is tiresome and tireless work at the same time.

Thoughts about how people used to live take me away from thoughts about how people live today. However, I see that with all the syntheses that have been done over the last century of historical study, the narratives are similar to science fiction. Science fiction is usually regarded as an expression of the society we may yearn to be, or fear we may become. Historical fiction and history, is the same but in reverse, it is the expression of the society we were, but are no longer. And so, I wishfully think that studying the past does mean understanding our present. Is it not obvious, when archaeologists become main characters in both either travelling to the past, or travelling to the future. Our job as students of the past is to translate one society for another to understand. However, that is a one-way interaction because, well, I cannot inform Herodotus or Plato about the 21st century (yet?). Anyway, what would I tell them? If I a met Sappho the poet and he asked me to tell him about the poetry of the 21st century, well sadly, I could recite a single one to him by memory.

I suppose, that if we had never developed a desire to commit lives, thoughts, victories and defeats to archives and documents. And then, commit our lives to going through the banal as well as the science from ancient times? What does it bring on to this age? What is being kept?History is fun as a child, and then now seeing more and more how absolutely nonsensical, unguided and free-form life can be. Maybe, cling-on to that idea that we inherited all these studies from people who have thought that this project of writing and history will ultimately lead to the improvement of humanity that sought to eradicate hunger, cure diseases, discover nature and the cosmos, and generate societies where humans can exist in peace. Perhaps, archaeology slots itself there? A grand project, of which our offerings to the muse of history are the tomes of our present lives, and our study of the lives of the past.

 

 

Wearing myself inside-out

I rarely look at myself in the mirror. It is more of a useful tool to check no detritus exist on my face. I stare at myself when I brush my teeth, and I notice that I brush my teeth faster than without a mirror. I hate looking at myself. I see a reflection of someone I recognize and I like him – I think. I don’t mean that I like or don’t like who I am, but I try and imagine how I look like to others, and how I look like to myself. Cannot quite explain it in any way I am confident won’t be misunderstood. In a sense, I think that my scruffy and shaggy, second hand torn and sewn clothes is appealing and unappealing at the same time.

Moving on. My wardrobe is varied, but consists mainly of hand-me-downs from my Dad and brother, some of the clothes I wear have been in the family nearly a decade. Others even more! And they date back to when my Dad was my age, fashion is circular, that much is known already. My Dad’s 40 year old leather pilot jacket looks brand new, and my brand new jacket looks worn and dilapidated after a year or two. He certainly takes care of things better than I ever could. But, then, my wardrobe is that of second-hand, used and so-last-season. With this wardrobe, I am a walking relic of fashion, and so I always look too old for the clothes I wear, a youth’s outfit, in an older shaggy-scruffy bloke. Perhaps, people think I spend too much time smoking weed and playing video games. Chill dude, otherwise.

But there is something of my inward. I don’t like ‘new’ shine of things. I don’t mean that I don’t like new things, and I especially don’t like new things that are made to look old. I want these scars on the furniture, clothes, books and shoes to be earned by my abuse of them. It is my inner self, not a purchased temporary projection. I am what I wear for years.

People like me then have a natural tendency towards old stuff, antiques and archaeology. The survival of these objects, through the trial of their life time when used by people like me who abuse their stuff, or things kept precious like my Dad does. That they may at times, survive the earth’s crushing force into the present. Saved, at the last moment, within a few decade or centuries close-shave at times, these objects are the cracked, dusty, old remnants of past human generations, and for us, they are also hand-me downs, worn, used, broken, repaired. Life can persist through these objects, and on occasion when people want to feel memory, nostalgia, history, a sense of self, then seeking the past is often one course, but more importantly, the past unchanged is satisfying. The past unchanged, remains the most grounding notion of ourselves in this society that exists. The past that you return to when introduced to it at school, then revisit as an inattentive adolescent, bewildered student, young parent, older parent and so on, their appreciation in our eyes is satisfying in a sense to see that some things in our time have stayed fairly similar. Renovating a museum is a tricky game. If you design a museum for a new audience and highly interactive environments and so on, it is a difficult challenge to keep up with at the same time. In as sense, archaeology remaining fairly old and dusty and still, is part of its charm, yes, the satellite and radar scans are hugely useful, the scientific methods indispensable to the purpose of our discipline, but to its character, to its aesthetic and mnemonic appeal it is temporary and in flux. Archaeology is always in flux, however, much more slowly than other things, like medicine or computer engineering.

Gentle slumber

You have walked many miles with your mind yet. You are tired, and wish your journey to be over. You faced challenges and difficulties, and were put to the test with the barely acquired knowledge, and you escaped with your life. Winds of theorems and voluminous mountains you have faced, the slice of your colleagues and superiors, and through this perilous journey I hope you have found a fellowship, comrades to carry on the journey. If so you choose. The choice is entirely yours, and this quest does not fall unto you, you may pick it up and take a little further for the next person. Here, we say our farewells, and may we meet across the land in halls, taverns and roads, or out by a stream on a gleaming morning.

Conversation with Kleio – part 2

Kleio: You have come again. Why?

Interlocutor: I have become because I seek your grace, I seek your wisdom and your knowledge. I would humbly hope that I may see even but a fraction of all of humanity’s past you keep in your chest.

Kleio: So you have come to be tormented…by me. I am your mistress and you are my needy and passive worshiper. Worship then! Get down on your hands and knees and pray, beg, plead, weep like the dog you are. That you would think that I would give you a single truth, to think that you can even comprehend a fraction of the knowledge I carry. You are an arrogant and pathetic man. Weep, extol and be hurt, knowing that I will never give you the light!

Interlocutor: Why then did you seduce me? You have lured me into your cave with promises of knowledge understanding, and then cursed me like Cassandra – unintelligible – and only you can understand me, and yet I cannot understand you. I scrape, dig, plough and pierce. I weave, knot and tie, compare and review the shreds of history that we collect in our Houses and yet, not a single truth seems to have been borne out of this endeavor, not a single lesson to be garnered, and all warnings have gone unheeded. Like knowing the future, knowing the past gives insight into the future, yet it seems no one can hear, and no one will listen.

Kleio: Your plight moves me. And believe, I do not do it because I hate you, but because I love you. Your cause is too great for you, and you are too few to stand up to those who mislead using your knowledge, who lead more women, children and men to death, misery, starvation, disease… Your work seems to do more harm than good and you cannot be trusted to be a guardian of that knowledge, but merely an announcer.

Interlocutor: But have we not understood more about our past, our real time as human beings, have we not helped shed the shrouds of control and found some freedom from the knowledge of ourselves?

Kleio: What do you think?

Interlocutor: I think we are but children, born into a prison of our culture, society and history, and while some of us have maybe seen these bars, and possibly even seen the face of our geoliers, we do not know who runs the prison. Those who have left, have never come back. History is our emancipation, but emancipated people cannot return. So, we must remember prisoners, and our thinking as prisoners, and then think of how each prisoner is different in their prison. An escape plan will only be understood by those who are from a place that can understand it. But once we are gone, and free to live in the wild, naked and free in our minds we run so far and fast from our jail that we may not remember the way back.