Wonderful Things

Archaeologist Chris Scarre finds fascination in discovering the past by examining its material remains.

For me, as for many in my profession, archaeology is a lifelong commitment. My early teenage years were dominated by an enthusiasm for medieval buildings – especially those in a ruined state  –  and the option of a university degree course in history seemed as if it might be the obvious way forward. Archaeology, by contrast, was a much more esoteric subject – full of exciting places and peoples, but not something that was covered in the standard secondary school education. But I was always most attracted by the physical evidence, that allowed an encounter at first-hand with the places where people of the past had lived, and the objects that they had handled and used. My decision to become an archaeologist was largely down to this fascination with places and things, a fascination that was fuelled by my first visit to the British Museum at the time of the Tutankhamen exhibition in 1972.

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