We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. – Buddha
I have this quote hanging close to my door at home so it is the last thing I see as I head off into the world. It reminds me that to have a positive influence, I need to have positive intentions. Not that I don’t slip into negative thoughts or emotions – I am human – but when I am there, I am more conscious I need to get back on a positive track. So I breathe and look for the positive to change focus.
There is always a positive.
Being a public archaeologist can be a real easy gig. I cannot count the times someone has come up to me and shared that they too wanted to be an archaeologist when they grew up. Its exciting work – searching for clues of past civilizations and finding items lost in the sands of time. People get genuinely interested in archaeological finds and archaeologists are genuinely excited to share their methods and artifacts with the public.
Passion is contagious.
However, passion without restraint can be destructive. Although we wish to share as much as possible with the public, they have to understand that an artifact taken out of the ground without proper excavation techniques or procedure becomes nothing more than an object. One object cannot represent a person or activity or time period. It is when many objects are found together, or in context, that the picture of the past comes to life.
Several media outlets are focusing on the acquisition of objects. Such portrayals not only give the public a false sense of archaeology, they may encourage others to do the same – leading to the devastation of archaeological sites and information.
The voice of reason rises above the noise of opposition.
Instead of just getting angry, let’s find the positive. We have the opportunity to turn this dialogue into a teachable moment.
Why can’t just anyone dig up objects? What is the difference between what they are doing on TV and what archaeologists do in the field and lab?
Only by answering these questions can we expect the public to know the difference and hopefully make the decision to support archaeology. As you share these stories and petitions, please remember to take your teachable moment and let people know why they should be as concerned as you are. Make your passion for conservation contagious!
With our positive thoughts and actions, we change the world.