Archaeological digs and travel

I always thought that, in the distant future when I make millions, the funds could be used for silly and idling activities at spas and shopping trips befitting some grand old dame. And then, I thought perhaps I could use that money to study again – be it for a PhD, or another postgraduate degree (though heaven knows just what), or do a complete turnaround and get into the bio-sciences like an overgrown child.

Or, as I recently found out, dedicate time and money to archaeological digs (though it’s not as though I’ve already stashed away millions in secret offshore account), a long-forgotten teenage dream spurred on by the romanticism of the Indiana Jones franchise and colourful picture books of the 1990s. Like some phoenix rising from archaeological ashes, the excavations would let me try out something I’ve just never done before.

It’s a possibility that hadn’t crossed my mind before.

I stumbled across websites offering projects who badly need volunteers to help do stuff ranging from picking herbs in a Norwegian Viking museum in the Lofoten islands that lie pretty much at the end of the world, to excavating in the Holy Land for Iron-Age/bronze-Age artefacts, or looking up the Celt and indigenous peoples in Scotland – terribly exciting things that make me just moist thinking about holding a brush or doing outdoor farmer’s work for a short period of time. In fact, I’m so primed by it that I’m wondering if my next tour should actually be dedicated to such a thing instead of the usual sightseeing stuff.

An Archaeological dig general website which gives the best digs and projects of 2011:

1. AIA Fieldwork Opportunities Online
2. Archaeology Digs at About.com
3. Past Horizons
4. Archaeological Digs with Earthwatch
5. Biblical Archaeology Society
6. Archaeologyfieldwork.com
7. Passport in Time
8. ShovelBums

Research and fieldwork however, wouldn’t be the fun and freedom that you’ll get from a typical vacation, unless you’re inclined towards academia. You’d be hunkered down in a place, sometimes in questionable conditions for weeks or even months, contributing to a field that pretty much survives on grants and the goodwill of sponsors.

Then again, I imagine the sort of experience you’d get would be incomparable.

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