Why Archaeology?

In the movie Conan the Barbarian (the original one, with Arnold Schwarzenegger), there is a scene right at the beginning where young Conan’s village is attacked by raiders. The village is destroyed, the adults are all killed, and as the children are being led off into slavery the narrator says, “no one would ever know my lord’s people had lived at all.”

That quote, in a word, is why I am drawn to archaeology. There’s something in me that resists the idea that people should live and die with nobody to remember them. It’s not just that I’m curious about the past, although I am that. It’s that fundamentally, I think that people matter, and they should not simply be forgotten.


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