Engineers and archeology

They seem like two parallel worlds. Two dimensions destined to meet even at blows. An understanding between us is clearly missing and that is why today, we want to contribute our humble grain of sand with the aim of getting a little closer.

When did this lack of sensitivity of the engineers to History and especially to archaeological remains begin? It is without a doubt a paradox that one of the first Spanish archaeologists was the Siret brothers, both mining engineers. Undoubtedly interested in archeology, even more than in the case of Luis in engineering.

Another paradox, even greater if possible, is that an important part of our work consists of documenting engineering or architectural works: roads, houses, farm fields, silos and a long etc. Elements that quite possibly an engineer understands better than an archaeologist and can help us understand better. But that does not interest them.

Hence, this question arises: what type of teaching do students receive in the different engineering faculties of this our country regarding archeology ?

Great Phrases of Engineers 

That is why we want to collect those “ great phrases of Engineers ” that archaeologists have to listen to and suffer almost daily. To begin with, we are going to share four of the most “gore” that we have had to endure in this last year, and almost almost the same person.

1.- “Archeology is a luxury that we cannot afford in these times”

And I smelled. First great phrase, don’t you think? The step to contextualize so that you continue with your mouth open. It was one of the first days of our presence on site. We were doing an archaeological monitoring thanks to which we had detected three new sites. At that moment, the chief engineer on site calls us for a meeting. We didn’t even know him yet and, just after shaking hands and exchanging some vain about time, he releases this phrase. I still don’t know how we could keep our composure without leaving there.

Is archeology really a luxury? Or is it a luxury to build roads that nobody uses?

2.- Archeology is a “divinatory art”

Well, this same engineer, shortly after starting the excavation of one of the new sites that we detected through archaeological monitoring , discussing how far we had to remove the vegetation cover to see the extent of the site, this wonderful phrase snapped at me looking at the land vegetable and putting the post of ” You do not know if there is or not a deposit here below “. Obviously, there were negative structures (silos and cultivation trenches) that were clearly seen to continue in that direction.

So it was not a matter of witchcraft or x-rays, it was a matter of being an archeology professional. And so, this time, yes, I snapped that he either respected me or had nothing more to talk to him. Even today it continues to remind me with a certain mockery of the “divinatory art” (if the archaeologists are basically soft and we feel hurt by anything).

3.- Do not dig any more than you will not find Jesus Christ

This is very recent. Specifically from November. But that doesn’t matter. Its value is timeless. I put you in context. We had finished digging one of the fields completely. We had delivered the final report and when everything was ready so that they could continue the works at that point, it turns out that they had passed that they had to make a ditch in a place not valued but that it was, say, in a high potential area archaeological, given its proximity to the rest of the site.

We started to make the 40cm wide trench until reaching geological level and “pum” cultivation trench, and “pam” another cultivation trench. And another and another and another. And now that? And in that context, while I was cleaning the geological with my palette, to see if there were ditches or not (well, I already knew it but had to do the part) a lot of engineers and laborers watched how an archaeologist works (yes, I felt as a zoo animal) one of them (an engineer) told me this phrase.

I answered of course, I no longer keep quiet about this kind of impertinence. I told him that I did not care because he was not a Catholic. With the church we have come across yes sir.

4.- You are like the Pope

And hit the church. In that same place described above, a few minutes later, when I already said that it was not really possible to make the ditch because there were archaeological remains, he blurted out to me, ” You are like the Pope, you have to be listened to in everything .”

I have decided that with this engineer I no longer speak because totally it will not take me anywhere to argue with him about the divine or the human when clearly his sensitivity was left in the portfolio.

 

Our proposal

If you have come this far I hope you have had a good time and, if you are an archaeologist, you are willing to share with us that great phrase of an engineer that you have had to suffer in your own meat.

For this we offer you several platforms:

1.- This post, at the end, in the comments area

2.- In the Facebook group that we have created at the time and which belongs to everyone.

3.- By email if you are something shameful …

And all this for what? Well, because we have thought to select among all the phrases that you send us the 12 best and to elaborate a small calendar that will be called ” Phrases of Engineers for History “.

We will distribute this calendar to the different engineering faculties so that, once and for all, engineers and archaeologists are a little closer and there really are areas of confluence. Because we are condemned to understand each other. We want the archaeologists of the future to have it easier, because archeology is already hard enough so that there are people who make it even harder.

 

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