Those of you that follow me on social media are forgiven for reading the title of this post as a deconstruction of a Gore-Tex and Polarfleece ensemble with handwarmers and Bean boots. My Instagram has been a venue for my winter griping and twitter and pinterest have served the same purpose. But today I am going in a different direction, though still somewhat (indirectly) blizzard related.
In order to survive captivity one must occupy the mind with a pleasantness. An occasional distraction from the gelid monotony. One of the ways I accomplish this is by joining Mr Bebe on the couch in front of the fire for a nightly episode of our new show:
I know that most of you have heard of Time Team, but it is a recent discovery for us. It suits our end of day routine quite nicely as it is interesting enough to capture our complete attention yet not so cerebral that it reminds us how tired we are. It’s like a personable Nova. Archaeology has always been one of The Four-along with opera singing, acting in British costume dramas, and and international woman of mystery it is a calling I would have pursued, if fortune and talent were at my beck and call. The very idea of digging in the dirt and pulling out an object last touched by human hands more than 2000 years before is fascinating, and were it not for my debilitating camping allergy then I may have have been an archaeologist and adventurer myself.
But it is not only the fascinating archaeology that keeps us engaged, it is the sudden and seemingly incongruous bursts of sartorial folly that provide a humorus foil to the descriptions of Roman architecture and Iron Age pottery. Whether by accident or design these gaffes are integral part of the show, and we find that we begin every episode with curiosity not only for what will be unearthed but what will be uncovered.
I blame the producers. If they feel the need to inject a bit of flesh into the show why not hire some sexy young cheerleaders to jump around off to the side and leave the archaeologists to their work? They are taking advantage of these dedicated and scholarly men and women who may be very learned in their field but naive when it comes to the tacky, grubby world of commercial tv. So I find myself compelled to solve this problem for all of archaeology. I will clear my calendar and focus on this important issue. The show may be over but I am offering my services as visiting professor to all the graduate and DPhil programs to teach a course in Archaeology Outfitry.
ARC801: Fieldwork Practicalities: Unearthing the Past Without Revealing Secrets (Required) -Prof.Bebe
OOTD or Outfit Of The Dig:
Dressing for a dig, one must keep certain realities in mind: hour upon hour is spent kneeling in the dirt bent over at the waist. Space can be confining, and the work can be rather rigorous and there may be no laundry services available. Therefore, the best way to go about an outfit for a dig, whatever the season, is to dress as you would for an outdoor workout. High performance clothing is a must:
Water resistance is the key to fabrics for the summer dig. Whether a day of glistening in the hot sun, or working in rain and mud, these shirts and shorts will dry quickly, wash easily, and last the season. The bottoms should be of a darker color to hide the dirt and the tops should be light and bright so one avoids getting run over by a front-end loader. Sun protection is of paramount importance-a lightweight hat that is also water resistant and a tube of non-toxic sunblock should always accompany an archaeologist to the digsite. and her little daypack should include barettes to keep her hair out of the soup. Back at the tent, there should be a nailbrush and a manicure kit, and they should be used daily. Lastly a cushion for the knees-an eager young grad student may easily overlook this accessory but the knees age vigorously so unless she wants a couple of ripe advocados by the time she is into her tenure, care must be taken to pamper them.
Again, stick to fabrics that perform when wet. A good wool blend is best for the tops. The pants are can be lined, and outer shell should be water resistant. You really should consider silk long underwear ( I am wearing mine as we speak). It provides an exceptionally thin layer of warmth. I also recommend a polarfleece scarf for any outdoor labors. The fabric is soft, warm lightweight and very easy to clean; if it should get in the dirt it can easily be rinsed out and left to dry overnight. Along with a wool headwrap and wool glove liners this is an arrangement that should provide plenty of comfort in temps above zero Fahrenheit.
When the new generation of well groomed and attractive archaeologists hit the digs, tv producers will be inspired to renew Time Team, they will approach Bebe to replace Tony Robinson and I will spend my days exploring the archaeology of Western Europe.
Gads-there is so much snow outside…..