Have you found any dinosaurs?! How about any crystal skulls?
When I answer this question in my head I say, “NOPE!”. However, because archaeology in America is driven by the public, for the public, I kindly explain the sweet and simple version, which is that archaeology is the study of humans and their history through their cultural remains. I then let them down gently by letting them know that what I am doing has nothing to do with dinosaurs.
Another misconception that arises while talking to an inquisitive community member is that my work is adventurous like the one and only Indian Jones. At this point I usually do my kind giggle and say, “pretty close”, all while digging my fiftieth, one-meter deep, shovel test for the day in rural America in which all have not produced any positives. But, sure, it is just like Dr. Jones! However, finding a lithic flake the size of my pinky fingernail is as exciting to me (and many fellow archaeologists) as finding a crystal skull or another unknown pyramid in Egypt to non-archaeologists.
I love archaeology! I love culture! I love the mystery it all holds and the riddles that need to be solved. I love the stories that can be told on a scale from an individual to an entire community. I love the awareness it can bring to current individuals, communities, and/or the world! I love learning about the foundations of a culture.
So for those of you who love or find archaeology fascinating then just remember that archaeology is NOT two things – dinosaurs or Indian Jones.