There aren’t many things that are sure in life. Until recently, as the cliche tells us, these were pretty much death and taxes. If you’re an archaeologist in the United States, you could also add having any of your research ignored by the popular news media. That is of course unless you add the word alien to any title. I’ve been thinking about doing that just to mess with people . . . “Evidence that Aliens built Chaco Canyon” and then a link to a great article by Chip Wills examining evidence that non-locals, or at least people entrenched in a different understanding of how to build Great Houses, built the McElmo phase architecture out there. So I guess I’m saying it has seemed to me that we need to use the same crappy tricks that media (of all types) uses to attract public attention. Basically create lies and add some intense music.
Anyways, where was I going with this . . . or yeah. Recently I’ve noticed an uptick in representation of archaeological stories on “sciencey” news agglomeraters like I Fucking Love Science, but I’m pretty sure that the day the Petrified Forest National Monuments survey of hundreds of new acres went viral on Facebook, reddit, and twitter was the only time that resulted in archaeology landing on late night talkshows (outside of Indiana Jones/Lara Croft type stuff). I make no claims as to the hilarity of the piece though.
Regardless, congrats to Bill Reitze at the Petrified Forest for a lot of national media attention for his and his team’s great work out there. This includes some other folks I know including Amy Schott, Kathryn Turney, and Erina Gruner.