When I was a very small child, my mom used to bury coins in my sandbox, leave huge boot prints in the sand, and tell me pirates had come in the night and buried treasure. I would be out there happily for hours, with my little sieve, and my mom got a quiet morning to herself for the price of a handful of pennies.

I was always kind of skeptical about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, because visiting every kid in the world did not seem reasonable. But the pirates only visited me, so they were probably real.

So that’s the story of how I ended up being an archaeologist. How about you?


I protested at a PEGIA rally and went full Indy. I truly believe that my generation of anthropologists (especially archaeologists) stand on the shoulders of racist colonial assholes, but we’re working towards a better discipline and *this* archaeologist refuses to tolerate prejudice and hate.
Facial reconstruction made of 'brutally-killed' Pictish man - BBC News
The face of a Pictish man who was "brutally killed" 1,400 years ago is reconstructed by Dundee University researchers.

Here it is! The big archaeology secret I’ve been not allowed to talk about for nearly 6 months…

I’m part of a voluntary organisation called the Rosemarkie Caves Project, and we’ve been doing small excavations on some of the caves that line the south coast of the Black Isle to investigate their potential for archaeology. Last September, on our last day of digging (typical!) we uncovered something truly incredible… The excellently preserved remains of a pretty violently killed Pictish man, tucked into a small nook of the cave. He was on his back with his ankles crossed and arms down by his sides, boulders on his hands and between his legs - a very odd position that screams “ritual”.

Prof Sue Black and her team - forensic anthropologists who usually don’t deal with archaeological remains but those of the more recent past such as identifying victims of war crimes - took on the task of examining the skeleton and detailing his violent demise (the article has the full account). They also created an incredible facial reconstruction of the man - handsome guy.

Archaeologically speaking, human remains in Scotland are generally poorly preserved due to the soil’s acidity. These remains were from a sandy context, protected from the elements by the cave itself, and are perhaps unique in their excellent preservation for their Pictish date.

There’s still a lot more work to be done - we’re waiting for isotope analysis to be carried out to determine a little more about the individual’s origins, and eventually he’ll be written into the broader context of Pictish archaeology, a section of history we still don’t know very much about. What he was doing there and why he was killed we may never know (Sacrifice? Murder? Did the people carrying out the metal working nearby know about the remains, were they the ones who killed him? So many questions!) - but we do know there are plenty more caves to be investigated… Who knows what else we’ll find in them!

If anyone has an questions, give me a shout. 

the signs and their ideal careers
  • ARIES: archaeologist
  • TAURUS: bull rider
  • GEMINI: computer hacker
  • CANCER: motivational speaker
  • LEO: zoologist
  • VIRGO: fashion designer
  • LIBRA: district attorney
  • SCORPIO: casino owner
  • SAGITTARIUS: bodybuilder
  • CAPRICORN: circus clown
  • AQUARIUS: marine biologist
  • PISCES: royalty
Sir Arthur Evans

Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, best known for his excavations at Knossos in Crete, was born #onthisday in 1851. These are some materials from the Sir Arthur Evans Archive.

Evans was Keeper of the Ashmolean from 1884-1908, and his ambition to make the museum a centre for archaeology resulted in thousands of new acquisitions and a new department for antiquities. 

Drawing of a polychrome pot from a tomb at Isopata near Knossos, from the Sir Arthur Evans Archive.

The Minoan and Mycenaean collections on display in our Aegean World gallery. The Ashmolean’s Aegean collection, containing many items holds around 10,000 objects and is the largest and most comprehensive outside Greece. Many finds from Evans’ own excavations are in the museum’s collection.

A tricky day at the office: sometimes it can be hard for maritime archaeologists to see shipwrecks around all the fish! 

Here, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary archaeologist Will Sassorossi tries to take a look at the USS Schurz while fish school around divers and the wreck. Schurz sank during World War I after a collision in dense fog. Today, the wreck rests in about 110 feet of water off Beaufort, North Carolina. 

(Photo: Tane Casserley/NOAA)

Concept: a game where you play as a tomb-raiding archaeologist, except you’re the descendant of the people who built it in the first place, and you spend the whole time complaining about it to your companion, the magically animated skull of the chief architect, your great-to-the-nth grandmother.

“Really? A deadfall trap in the bathroom? What is wrong with you people? No, first, explain to me how it is that you were able to construct a self-resetting puzzle the size of a city bus that still works after four thousand years, but you never hit upon the concept of, I don’t know, a lock and key? And is that a laser? You lived in a Stone Age culture - where the hell did you get a laser?”