Top Ten Myths and Misconceptions about Archaeology

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist

(October 3, 2015)—This past June, I joined Scott Michlin on the Morning Show (San Juan College KSJE) and offered my list of the Top Ten Myths and Misconceptions in Archaeology (link goes to podcast). I treated this as a fairly light-hearted exercise—certainly nothing to get too worked up over! I have personally encountered everything on the list, in one setting or another, and I know that many of my fellow archaeologists have, as well. Nevertheless, I do believe that presenting the list is a useful way to increase public understanding of the work that archaeologists do every day. I also offer some commentary on each item. I encourage folks to read this list and reply with comments or questions.

So, on to the list…in reverse order, of course:

Archaeologists study dinosaurs. No, archaeologists study evidence of past people, in many different ways. Paleontologists and other geologists study dinosaurs.

Not an archaeologist.

Archaeology is always exciting and fun. As much as I would like to believe this, no. Like any job or pursuit, archaeology has many tasks that are difficult, dirty, and sometimes less than exciting, but must be completed. If I were to rewrite this item as a positive and true statement, I would say that archaeology is always rewarding!

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