Saturday, 6 April 2013

Burns Throughout History #4

Super short post today, because I'm supposed to be writing my dissertation:

This is a story about archaeologists in the 20th century, and it was told to me by one of the academics at the British School at Rome. I can't remember one of the names, so we'll call him Potter.

Now Sir Mortimer Wheeler was a pretty famous archaeologist in the 1950s and 60s. He was mostly retired, and spent his time drifting about the Mediterranean enjoying himself and getting a lovely tan. One summer, he was staying at the British School at Rome.

The School itself is actually a large research centre. Since it does almost no teaching, I think it's a bit rich to call it a school, but anyway. They had quite a lot of money back then, so they sponsored and ran excavations around the place. One of these was quite nearby, and run by a chap called Potter.

Even though he was retired, Sir Mortimer wanted to go and see Potter's site, and sharpish. Potter had only two or three days to go about making his excavation ready for inspection. He rushed around like a mad thing: making sure tools were properly and neatly stacked away, making sure the sections (edges of the trench) were straight and that the log book was up to date. They finally finished about an hour before Sir Mortimer arrived.

When he was shown around, Wheeler nodded and smiled and eventually said:

"A nice clean excavation, excellent, that's what I like to see. But, Potter? Never come on site unshaven again."


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