The Importance of Branding

Greetings once again, gentle readers! I’ve noticed a trend in the internet/mediatised archaeology world and have been ranting about it to those around me but not necessarily online. Now, the rant will go digital! Hooray!

I’ve noticed that an increasing number of people are creating media-friendly versions of themselves in the world of archaeology. I do realize that this includes my silly website but there is another factor that I am not necessarily putting in huge bold letters at the top of the page with auto-play music (auto-play=NO): Indiana Jones. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indy as much as the next person and definitely as much as the next archaeologist/anthropologist (I’m not even going to get into the fiasco that is Crystal Skull. Spielberg, Lucas, you better redeem yourself and the franchise with Indy 5 or we’re done professionally) but I’m not trying to be “The Next Indy”. I did not get into archaeology because of Indiana Jones. In fact, I was well into my Egyptology phase before I had even seen the movies! I was something of a strange and precocious child…but I think that may be a requirement for archaeology. So many people with good, solid degrees and/or PhDs in their various fields of expertise are creating websites and personas but presenting themselves as a kind of ‘Modern Indiana Jones’. This is all well and good, but I’m getting a bit tired of EVERYONE being ‘Dr. So-and-so: archaeologist, adventurer, explorer’ and posing in cargo pants looking off to the horizon in search of their next quest. I mean, this is all well and good, but at this point in the game it’s tired. Not to mention, all of the people doing this are men! Ladies! Where you at? I know there are many attractive field-going ladies in the archaeological community (I have worked with a few of them so I can vouch for their existence) but all I ever see are men! Gentlemen with cargo pants and more than a few with a fedora to complete the outfit (leather attaché optional) and they all seem to end up on TV running around poking at ruins. I’m all for more archaeology on TV but why must everyone have to use the old and tired Indiana Jones bit in a desperate attempt to create viewer interest? I know for a fact that people who watch history-themed shows on TV like Indiana Jones, but don’t need it to be interested in a show about ancient ruins and whatnot. Not to mention, there is a definite trend towards using a dashing male host/presenter who is dashing but has NO experience or credentials in the field! (Psychologist, former Air Force pilot, survivalist…just to name a few) Is it so much to ask for a host or presenter who actually has a degree in archaeology? Someone who doesn’t feel the need to pander to the Indy-factor or wear only ‘adventure denim’ in the field? Again, I cry to the heavens: where my ladies at??

With that in mind, gentle readers, I present to you my new websona: Annelise Baer, MA. Archaeologist and adventurer-on-a-budget. What does this mean, you may ask? It means I explore places within at least 2 tanks of gas from the Los Angeles area, ideally less, so I can save that money and use it to buy food.. I don’t have anywhere near enough money to go on some amazing expedition to someplace with big ruins and ancient mysteries. I have about $500, and I need that to pay bills and buy gas to drive to work. There have been some exciting trips in recent years, but those have been due to great timing and came with a bit of a price tag so I still rock the debt. It was totally worth it though! I do own multiple pairs of cargo pants and have used them in actual archaeological situations so the dirt embedded in the fabric is genuine. I’ve managed, by great luck and by agreeing to a large amount of debt, to visit some great places but those were I’ve accomplished very little in the academic world beyond obtaining-of-degrees due to a marked lack of funds which contributed to a very short stint in the world of graduate studies. I have a camera, several memory cards, a trusty trowel, a habit of getting sassy when talking about history and a thirst for knowledge about anything and everything pertaining to the ancient world. That’s it. I know I’m only one person/archaeologist and I don’t even have a PhD (…yet?) but dammit if I can’t try to change things!

Oh, and I highly recommend checking out (if only for 5 minutes) the new season of Ancient Aliens. Specifically on 11/18/10. That would be the episode I’ve been working on ^^ 

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