Archaeology for Beginners

One advantage of living in Europe is that there is far more obvious history throughout the continent which means one doesn’t need to go too far afield to find neat things.  For example, metal detectorists have found the Crosby Garrett Helmet and Terry Herbert’s Anglo-Saxon hoard while tooling about in British fields. It doesn’t take too much to find Anglo-Saxon what nots these days as well. Although, I was told of friends visiting the Holy Land being shown pieces of pottery that their guide tossed because they were only “a couple of thousand years old”.

While there are similar antiquities in the Western Hemisphere, they are usually in South or Central America. Viking treasures are hard to come by, with the Kensington Runestone being pretty much taken as a fraud. TimeTeam America just ain’t the same as it’s UK counterpart. And it isn’t just that the US version lacks Tony Robinson. I think the UK version caught people’s attention by showing what could be found in people’s gardens and then grew from there.  The US version just doesn’t reach the collective soul: even if it is good to know the origins of the land.

But, where I am going with this is that someone with a metal detector can poke around and find bits of “archaeology”, which is probably more a Time Team UK concept than one from the US–especially since the UK finds can be far more exciting than some buttons.  Although, the US Time Team did do some very interesting digs, such as trying to find Roanoke, the first (and lost) English Colony.  Who knows what stuff might be lurking under the North American soil that could lead to interesting new discoveries?

Unfortunately, because of the dearth of history in North America, one needs to look across the water to Europe for resources (or South to neat sites).  Or so one would think.  Who knows what is under the North American soil that might provide a new perspective on the peopling of the land?  While Lewis and Clark were the first American (U.S.) explorers, they weren’t the first to set foot in those territories.

Anyway, like most of my posts, this is something to get one’s mind going whether one lives in the Western or Eastern Hemisphere.  If you’re in Australia, you can go looking for the Mahogany Ship (and LaSalle’s Le Griffon if you’re in the US).  But, the real idea behind all this is to explore, discover, and learn.

Some resources:

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