• Name: Paul McLerran
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Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Virtual Dig

If you are like me, you don't have the luxury of the time and money to pack up very often and head off to that dig that catches your fancy. Or, perhaps you don't like the physical wear-and-tear or the thought of "roughing it" on a dig. But, going on a dig once a year or once every several years or perhaps not at all doesn't seem to gratify the ever-present "digging" bug, if you know what I mean. So, here's a solution: the virtual dig. While waiting or hoping for that opportunity to become reality, you can visit a site that will, at least electronically, "take you there".

If you want a good education on what it is like to be on a paleoanthropological dig, by far one of the finest virtual field schools in existence can be found
here with the Smithsonian institution. Try it, and you'll know what I mean. Another excellent site is Archaeology magazine's interactive dig site. You'll find scores of different interactive digs from which to choose. The most recent interactive dig details the work being conducted at the ancient site of Hierakonpolis in Egypt, where the project participants are exploring the foundations of Egyptian civilization. Go here to see the site for yourself and get a taste for these interactive digs.

Thank goodness for the cyberworld!

P.S.: Speaking of us "in-between-digs" or "dig wannabee" armchair diggers: If you are interested, and you do not have a subscription, you can subscribe to Archaeology magazine and gain access to tons more information about what's happening in the world of archaeology. Part of the proceeds that come from the purchase of the magazine support archaeological research and education under the aegis of the Archaeological Institute of America. Archaeology Odyssey magazine, which focuses more on the ancient civilizations surrounding the Mediterranean, is equally informative.


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