Archaeology Quotes

Quotes tagged as "archaeology" Showing 1-30 of 123
Howard Carter
“ my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?' it was all I could do to get out the words, 'Yes, wonderful things.”
Howard Carter, The Tomb of Tutankhamen

Merlin Stone
“Many questions come to mind. How influenced by contemporary religions were many of the scholars who wrote the texts available today? How many scholars have simply assumed that males have always played the dominant role in leadership and creative invention and projected this assumption into their analysis of ancient cultures? Why do so many people educated in this century think of classical Greece as the first major culture when written language was in use and great cities built at least twenty-five centuries before that time? And perhaps most important, why is it continually inferred that the age of the "pagan" religions, the time of the worship of female deities (if mentioned at all), was dark and chaotic, mysterious and evil, without the light of order and reason that supposedly accompanied the later male religions, when it has been archaeologically confirmed that the earliest law, government, medicine, agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, wheeled vehicles, ceramics, textiles and written language were initially developed in societies that worshiped the Goddess? We may find ourselves wondering about the reasons for the lack of easily available information on societies who, for thousands of years, worshiped the ancient Creatress of the Universe.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman

Karl Pilkington
“It's interesting to see that people had so much clutter even thousands of years ago. The only way to get rid of it all was to bury it, and then some archaeologist went and dug it all up.”
Karl Pilkington, An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington

Elizabeth Peters
“I will tell you a little secret about archaeologists, dear Reader. They all pretend t be very high-minded. They claim that their sole aim in excavation is to uncover the mysteries of the past and add to the store of human knowledge. They lie. What they really want is a spectacular discovery, so they can get their names in the newspapers and inspire envy and hatred in the hearts of their rivals.”
Elizabeth Peters, The Deeds of the Disturber

Bal Gangadhar Tilak
“The geologist takes up the history of the earth at the point where the archaeologist leaves it, and carries it further back into remote antiquity.”
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Arctic Home in the Vedas

“Discover how to visit the past and bring yesterday's stories into our lives today”
Gillian Hovell, 'Visiting the Past'

Michael Rostovtzeff
“For me archaeology is not a source of illustrations for written texts, but an independent source of historical information, with no less value and importance, sometimes more importance, that the written sources.”
Michael I. Rostovtzeff

“Come with me
And you will find
What's been trapped
Inside my mind...”
K.B. Lewis

Anthony Thwaite

In this high field strewn with stones
I walk by a green mound,
Its edges sheared by the plough.
Crumbs of animal bone
Lie smashed and scattered round
Under the clover leaves
And slivers of flint seem to grow
Like white leaves among green.
In the wind, the chestnut heaves
Where a man's grave has been.

Whatever the barrow held
Once, has been taken away:
A hollow of nettles and dock
Lies at the centre, filled
With rain from a sky so grey
It reflects nothing at all.
I poke in the crumbled rock
For something they left behind
But after that funeral
There is nothing at all to find.

On the map in front of me
The gothic letters pick out
Dozens of tombs like this,
Breached, plundered, left empty,
No fragments littered about
Of a dead and buried race
In the margins of histories.
No fragments: these splintered bones
Construct no human face,
These stones are simply stones.

In museums their urns lie
Behind glass, and their shaped flints
Are labelled like butterflies.
All that they did was die,
And all that has happened since
Means nothing to this place.
Above long clouds, the skies
Turn to a brilliant red
And show in the water's face
One living, and not these dead."

— Anthony Thwaite, from The Owl In The Tree”
Anthony Thwaite

James Henry Breasted
“[...] the success of Egyptian surgery in setting broken bones is very fully demonstrated in the large number of well-joined fractures found in the ancient skeletons.”
James Henry Breasted, The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, 2 Vols

Anuradha Roy
“Until humans came and made anthills out of these mountains, Diwan Sahib was saying, looking up at the langurs, the land had belonged to these monkeys, and to barking deer, nilgai, tiger, barasingha, leopards, jackals, the great horned owl, and even to cheetahs and lions. The archaeology of the wilderness consisted of these lost animals, not of ruined walls, terracotta amulets, and potsherds.”
Anuradha Roy, The Folded Earth

“Where can one buy a lit of that *Right Stuff* bravado required to shrug off the fact that your airplane is now a convertible?”
Josh Gates, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter

Vernor Vinge
“Programming went back to the beginning of time. It was a little like the midden out back of his father's castle.”
Vernor Vinge, A Deepness in the Sky

Nataša Pantović
“We find the relevance of these answers today, for its arguments fundamentally shape the structure of the East vs. West, Liberals vs. Conservatives debate.”
Nataša Pantović, Metaphysics of Sound

A.K. Larkwood
“Much is lost, but much lasts. . .”
A.K. Larkwood, The Unspoken Name

Nataša Pantović
“Following Alexander the Great in his conquest, and challenging two most ancient European historical assumptions: Firstly, Is the Ancient Europe’s progressive scientific drive the result of the Roman’s or Greek’s ancient cultural heritage?, and the Second: Why is the question - are the Macedonians, Greeks or Slavs, so troublesome, in the minds of both commoners and historians?”
Nataša Pantović, Metaphysics of Sound

“Lo asombroso cuando se considera el modo de vida de esta clase dirigente es que una de sus categorías esenciales, la de los sacerdotes, vive en la austeridad y la pobreza [...]. La riqueza no se busca por la riqueza misma [...].”
Jacques Soustelle, Daily Life of the Aztecs

“Pero lo que constituye la grandeza de este pueblo es haber aceptado este mundo tal como lo veía. Su pesimismo es activo. No se traduce en abatimiento o indolencia, sino en el entusiasmo de que hizo gala en la guerra sagrada, en el servicio de los dioses, en la construcción de las ciudades, en la expansión de los imperios. Enfrentado a un universo implacable, el hombre mexicano reaccionaba sin ilusión, pero con una energía indomable, arreglando a fuerza de penalidades y de sangre la vida precaria que los dioses tenían a bien concederles.”
Jacques Soustelle, Daily Life of the Aztecs

“Su cultura tan súbitamente aniquilada forma parte de aquellas de las cuales puede la humanidad enorgullecerse de haber creado. Debe ocupar un lugar en el corazón y el espíritu de aquellos que, como nosotros, hacemos patrimonio común de todos los valores concebidos por nuestra especie, en todos los tiempos y lugares; debe formar parte de nuestros tesoros más preciados, por raros. De tarde en tarde, en lo infinito del tiempo y en medio de la enorme indiferencia del mundo, algunos hombres reunidos en sociedad dan origen a algo que les sobrepasa: a una civilización. Son los creadores de culturas. Y los indios del Anáhuac, al pie de sus volcanes, a orillas de sus lagunas, pueden ser contados entre esos hombres.”
Jacques Soustelle, Daily Life of the Aztecs

“Es giebt bei den Schriftstellern keine Beschreibung eines Instrumentes, das dem von Antikythera gliche; nicht einmal eine Andeutung über die Existenz eines so komplizierten Instrumentes im Altertum habe ich entdecken können. Deshalb darf man, obschon die grosse Zerstörung, die es erlitten hat, keine sichere Anschauung über den Mechanismus zulässt, sagen, dass seine Auffindung von grösster Wichtigkeit ist; denn es zeigt eine so feine Arbeit und bietet, ob man nun seine kleinen Verhältnisse betrachtet oder auch nicht, das Bild einer so verwickelten Bewegung, dass sich keine andere der aus dem Altertum bekannten mechanischen Konstruktionen auch nur im entferntesten mit ihm vergleichen lässt.”
Perikles Rediadis, Die Funde von Antikythera

Peter Dickinson
“I tell my students that the past is an immense ocean which we can neither sail on nor dive down into. We are stuck to our shore, which is the present. Out on the surface we can see the past of the history books, the storms and the shipwrecks, but of what happened in the far past, down in the deeps of that ocean, we have nothing to go on except the shells and bones it chooses to wash up at our feet. Why bother, then? What does it matter? It matters because that ocean is where we came from. Those seas are in our blood.”
Peter Dickinson, A Bone From a Dry Sea

“the process of recreating ancient artifacts step by step can shed light on the lives and habits of the original craftworkers that no amount of armchair theorizing can give.”
Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

“Of course, being perishable, the textiles themselves are not easy to learn about -- just like most of the rest of women's products (such as food and the recipes for preparing it). Therefore, to recover the reality of women's history, we must develop excellent techniques ... using not just the obvious data but learning to ferret out every helpful detail. Practical experiments like reweaving some of the surviving ancient cloths are a case in point. Among the thousands of archaeologists who have written about pottery or architecture, how many have actually tried to to make a pot or build a building? Precious few; but with so much data available for study in these fields, scholars felt flooded with information already, and such radical steps hardly seemed necessary. Our case is different; we must use every discoverable clue.”
Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

Bill Bryson
“Jane Grenville in her scholarly and definitive work Medieval Housing provides an arresting pair of illustrations showing how two archaeological teams, using the same information, envisioned the appearance of a long-house at Wharram Percy, a lost medieval village in Yorkshire. One illustration shows a strikingly plain, basic dwelling, with walls made of mud or clunch (a composite of mud and dung) and a roof of grass or sod. The other shows a much sturdier and more sophisticated cruck-framed construction in which hefty beams have been fitted together with skill and care. The simple fact is that archaeological evidence shows mostly how buildings met the ground, not how they looked.”
Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Stewart Stafford
“Sticks and Stones

I dreamt a fossil came to life
and told a tale of his former wife
Did she beat him? Where?
She broke his fingers on the stairs
And tore out lumps of his orange hair
How could she?
Then she gave him pride of place
At an archaeological feast in his honour
A prehistoric horse was the main course!

© Stewart Stafford, 2020. All rights reserved.”
Stewart Stafford

Colm Tóibín
“But did they have gods? Or believe in an afterlife?” one writer had insisted. “It is my job to sift the evidence,” the professor replied. “There is no evidence that would allow me to answer that question.”
Colm Tóibín, The Shortest Day

J.S. Mason
“Sifting with a sifter, artifacts after artifacts after artifiction that was ruled out as planted by some teenagers that were trying to pepper the site with pepper shakers that were from millennia ago, failing to take into account that those items were created less than 200 years ago.”
J.S. Mason, The Satyrist...And Other Scintillating Treats

“A final form of intra-societal violence that is very significant is the collective killing of one male by the other males of the group. The rationale for such killings seems to be that the male singled out for killing has become so violent and dangerous that he must be eliminated in order to protect the group from further episodes of unnecessary intra-group violence or dominating behaviour. As far as one can tell, such individuals are typically very good warriors. They seem to authenticate their value to the community by displaying their fighting ability. They bully and injure or kill other males in the group, they likely access other men’s women (although that is likely played down in the accounts of such incidents to the recorders), and their behaviour is so intolerable that they become more dangerous to the community than their value as a good warrior warrants. Because they are dangerous, killing them needs to be done carefully. Moreover, if not done properly, their relatives may feel it was unjust and seek revenge. In some cases, the community instructs the individual’s close relatives to kill him in order to eliminate any basis for revenge. In others, it is a community act. There is one account given to me directly by a Yanomamo tribesman visiting the United States of a Yanomamo dangerous warrior who, it is decided, must be killed. He is tricked into climbing a tree, and by necessity leaves his weapons behind. As he climbs down, weaponless, he is beset by all the males and killed."

(Steven Leblanc)”
Garrett G. Fagan, The Cambridge World History of Violence

“Boundaries?”Heyerdahl provocatively asked. “I have never seen one, but I hear they exist in the minds of most people.”
Donald P Ryan

J.S. Mason
“a time ago when Timbuktu was only Timbuk 1”
J.S. Mason, A Dragon, A Pig, and a Rabbi Walk into a Bar...and other Rambunctious Bites

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