Saturday, September 27, 2008

It belongs to a museum! A day with the archaeologists

Last week I gave a lecture at the Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) in UP's Palma Hall basement. My lecture was on ecological history. The ASP is housed in a basement and archaeologists partitioned the basement into two. A crowded libraryis on the upper section and the archaeology lab on the lower section. With its throng of students and the ambiance of the lab, it was as if it were a scence from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, except no one wore fedoras.

Contrary to popular belief, the ASP is not with the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) but is a separate degree granting unit. Victor Paz is the director of the ASP. A Cambridge educated archaelogist, he specializes in past environments. The major research done is on archaeological sites in Palawan, where they documented fossil remains of tigers. Also in northern Luzon, research has focused on definitely establishing the presence of Homo erectus there.

When I was there Vic was being interviewed by a student journalist. The interview focused on public impression of archaeology. People think that archaeologists are looking for treasure (even if it belongs to a museum). Well this is what the Indy Jones movies fostered as a myth.

The ASP holds public seminars every Wednesday during the semester. The Binalot talks schedule can be viewed here.

Also I learned that by the National Museum law, all archeological relics DO BELONG TO A MUSEUM! Indy Jones was right, fedora or no fedora.

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