Written by Rhiannon Held
As a professional archaeologist and a writer, there’s one question I get pretty consistently: “Do you use archaeology in your writing?” Some of the people asking that essentially want to know if I’m rewriting Indiana Jones (No). Others assume I must use archaeology to create vast ancient civilizations for my epic fantasy world. The answer there is also no—see below for what I do use it for—but the fact that people make that assumption has always interested me.
In many ways, it parallels a difference in the academic world: in Britain, and by extension Canada, Archaeology is organized as a department under History. In the US, it’s under Anthropology. I’ve heard it explained that this grew out of the fact that in Old World, early archaeologists were often studying the antecedents to their own culture, which had written records going pretty far back. In the New…
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