“I’m an archaeologist.”
I hate saying this for two reasons:
1) the uninformed responses I receive, such as, “Oh, you work in Drumheller?” and;
2) I’m really a physical anthropologist.
With respect to the first point, I realize people are most likely speaking without thinking, and are merely experiencing a brain fart or some such. Why do I feel inclined to make the aforementioned statement? People haven’t the foggiest idea what a physical anthropologist is.
An archaeologist is someone who studies ancient cultures and collects artifacts made by humans. Think less than 10,000 years ago (or so). Think Indiana Jones.
A palaeontologist is someone who studies dinosaurs and other ancient non-humans, and collects dinosaur bones and fossils. Think millions of years ago. Think Jurassic Park.
A physical anthropologist is someone who studies the human physical form. We like dead people, freshly dead or really old dead, but without the fleshy bits. If we study dead people (skeletons) in a legal context, we are then performing forensic anthropology. Think Bones.
The short of it is:
Archaeologists and physical anthropologists both deal with people. What’s the difference between Dr. Jones and Dr. Brennan? Indiana would grab the treasure from the skeleton’s bony grasp and run. Temperance would grab, well, the bones!
Here endth the lesson.