Thursday, 18 October 2012

Garden Archaeology...

Growing up in Toronto, one of my favourite places to visit was the Royal Ontario Museum. Specifically, it was to the impressive dinosaur exhibit I would extol upon any adult (and more often than not, my Dad) to bring me to see. I would race up the marbled stairs and proceed to guide said adult through the wonderful world of dinosaurs. I would pause at each artifact, informing my minder of the name of the dinosaur before us, whether it was a herbivore or carnivore, and to which era it belonged. After what seemed an eternity of joy among the fossils (and for the fossil accompanying me, just an eternity no doubt), I was promptly done with the Museum and ready to go. If memory serves me right, I was then brought to other wings by the adult in an effort to not only teach me about other artifacts but most likely to make it worth the price of admission to see more than just dinosaurs.

In this respect, these visits to the R.O.M. inspired me as a young boy to become an archaeologist.  I remember digging a hole at our cottage near Algonquin Park in order to uncover millenia-hidden remains that would catapult me into archaeological stardom.  Two feet down a pit 5 feet wide, I had nothing to show for my 30-minutes work. More than a treasure trove of fossils, the pit ended up as the grave for my budding archaeological career.

Today's work in my garden, however, brought back memories of dreams long-forgotten. With the harvest nearly complete (some zucchini and cabbage remain), I thought it time to till the soil and mix in a summer's worth of kitchen waste before the winter winds return.  What started out as a simple gardening exercise ended up yielding archaeological artifacts from tenants of a bygone era. Included are two beer mugs, a saucer, several beer cans, and a marble. That's much more of a haul than the ill-fated dinosaur quarry ever produced, and is an insight into the ancient customs of a previous civilisation.  From these artifacts, I infer that over the ceremonial plate, a marble was tossed into its middle by warriors in a challenge of inebriation fuelled by amber elixirs.

At least that's what my inner-archaeologist thinks; it certainly brings a sense of adventure to a day's worth of gardening. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes....I do remember those dinosaurs, every
    single one of them. Those were good days though.