Big Dig

My third cousin, Tom, lives in Madelia and likes to hunt for fossils. He posted recently a story about  someone finding a 5 foot long wooly mammoth tusk near New Ulm. That must have been so exciting to dig up! Who would have imagined mammoths near New Ulm?

Paleontology was fun to learn about, but I always wanted to be an archeologist.  I love reading about history,  and right now I would really love to focus all my attention on the very distant past. (Thinking about the future isn’t so pleasant at this point. ) I think I would like to explore Frisian and Saxon settlements anywhere in the world, just to get a better sense of my ancestral culture.

What era of history fascinates you? What would you like to dig up?

22 thoughts on “Big Dig”

  1. I have already established my interest in nineteenth century America, I think. My interest lies not in political or military subjects but in social and cultural ones.
    I also have a longstanding fascination with pre-columbian America and specifically with the cultures responsible for the massive geometrical earthworks and effigy figures that early explorers and settlers found when they first came west. I have a shelf of books pertaining to surveys of the earthworks and mounds and period and contemporary interpretations and theories regarding the cultures that built those earthworks, including some nineteenth century ones that are as much fantasy as fact. I’ve also visited sites in the region whenever the opportunity arises.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We enjoy different periods of jazz. I love jazz from the 20s and 30s, I can enjoy some of it from the 40s. For me, nothing equals the raw stuff coming out of New Orleans when people hadn’t even decided what to call it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. got any names?
        there’s a record store on cedar with an old coot who know if you like this guy you would like that guy
        a room with stacks and bins all labeled in squiggly handwriting he knows how to decipher

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember reading, years ago, about a study of life in a pre-roman village in England. Researchers built a village on the site of an excavated village, and people agreed to live in the village for several months just as original villagers would have lived. One fun finding was an explanation why each of the homes in the site had indentations at the foot of the front doors. It turned out that chickens took dust baths there, and the indents got deeper over time as the chickens dusted themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It took me a long time to realize that my interest in the past was really centered on the human past. Geology confused and bored me. Astronomy the same. Paleontology was only slightly more compelling, for it at least involved living creatures. My curiosity really draws me to people, and because I get frustrated with the obscurity of early history I mostly enjoy history that has reasonably reliable documentation.

    For example, I tried to take an interest in the historical Jesus. I gave that up when it became clear that we really know almost nothing for sure about him or that time. Books about the historical Jesus were speculative to a degree I couldn’t handle. I don’t criticize others who are more intrigued than I with fuzzy truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am interested in the renaissance cultures, and also in the first centuries A.D. – when the earlier religions were being overtaken by Christianity. The question keeps popping up in my mind – what would my recent ancestors have believed if Christianity hadn’t come in and taken co-opted these cultures’ religions? Dance too – the indigenous cultures like the Sami have ancient line dances, but all you find for Scandinavian dances are the couple ones introduced when the Viennese Waltz swept Europe…


        1. Auto correct, or were you using voice recognition? If the latter, perhaps you’re not enunciating clearly?


  5. When I was a kid we had a hill behind the barn that had been recently excavated. We have a lot of limestone and I would spend hours out there climbing that hillside. I found lots of fossils; many of the shells in the stone type thing but also some of those that looked like sticks? If that’s an adequate description, just a little rock stick sort of thing. I always thought it was pretty neat and just figured everyone had this in their back yard.
    These days I don’t have so much exposed rock anymore. But our neighbors have found some pretty good size shell type things in a creek bed by their house.

    I am really drawn to the photographs of Edward S. Curtis; there’s such a pull for me I feel like maybe I was one of those Indians in another life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Have you read Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher? It’s about Edward Curtis and his obsession with photographing the vanishing native culture.
      Here in The Twin Cities,, we have a connection with the Curtis photographs. Chris Cardozo, a local photographer, bought the negatives to a significant portion of the Curtis photos and has been producing prints and a book from those negatives. I’ve been to an exhibit of the photos and also to the publisher of the facsimile book of Curtis photos.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. i have my great grandfathers ojibwa upbringing to dig into on my bucket list
      i keep realizing these days that i’d better get to it as i have a limited number of research projects left in me and i should choose carefully

      Liked by 5 people

  6. When I was younger I thought it would be cool to be an archaeologist. I knew that Agatha Christie was married to an archaeologist and that she had spent time in Egypt on his digs. But once I get a little older in the college and beyond and saw what’s really involved in archaeology, I decided maybe it wasn’t for me. A little too painstaking, a lot of work for a little return. But I would like to go back in time and see how things went. I’d love to see how they lived at Machu Picchu. We haven’t really a clue even though the site has been well excavated.

    Liked by 1 person

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