Look out for the future, because you never know what it might bring…
Question #897 posted on 10/11/2003 4:02 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,
When I tell people that I am studying archaeology, the common relpy is "so you must really like dinosaurs, right?" The truth is that I don't plan on dealing with dinosaurs at all, in fact I deal with people and cultures. Why is there a confusion between archaeology and paleontology? Please, educate the public!

- Archie Archaeologist.

A: Dear Archie Archaeologist,

People who don't study archeology or paleontology, are misinformed because they've never learned much more than their fourth grade teacher taught them when they went on a field trip to that cool children's museum that let them dig for "dinosaur" bones in the sandbox using paint brushes... For simplicity's sake, my teacher just refered to everything that involved digging in the earth for artifacts/remains as "archeology."

Now, to help educate everyone who had similar fourth grade teachers, here are the technical definitions (thanks to Merriam-Webster):

PALEONTOLOGY
Main Entry: pa·le·on·tol·o·gy
Pronunciation: "pA-lE-"än-'tä-l&-jE, -&n-, esp British "pa-
Function: noun
Etymology: French paléontologie, from palé- pale- + Greek onta existing things (from neuter plural of ont-, On, present participle of einai to be) + French -logie -logy -- more at IS
Date: 1838
: a science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains


ARCHEOLOGY
Main Entry: ar·chae·ol·o·gy
Variant(s): or ar·che·ol·o·gy /"är-kE-'ä-l&-jE/
Function: noun
Etymology: French archéologie, from Late Latin archaeologia antiquarian lore, from Greek archaiologia, from archaio- + -logia -logy
Date: 1837
1 : the scientific study of material remains (as fossil relics, artifacts, and monuments) of past human life and activities
2 : remains of the culture of a people : ANTIQUITIES


-I found a cool bone in the sandbox, baby!