October 20th, 2012 is the Second Annual National Archaeology Day. It was recognized by Congress in 2011. The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) leads the awareness of the day.
Archaeology is, using the definition on Wikipedia for its simplicity:
Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record).This could be linked to the ancient, evolutionary past (linked with biological anthropology), prehistoric (which in the United States refers to the more recent native populations) or historic periods (in the US, usually refering to the American or European settlement of the area). Sorry, not bugs. Rarely gold or what you likely would consider treasure. Frequently someone's trash, or possibly a toilet.
This day is important to me. I became interested in archaeology when we studied Ancient Egypt in elementary school. I studied it in college and am working as an archaeology now. So I am issuing a challenge.
This weekend, go out to a museum, lecture, or historic site where the focus is archaeology (in case of a museum, they should have an exhibit featuring archaeology, like the Cleopatra Exhibit at the California Science Center). Go forth and learn about the area where you live, or are visiting. The AIA has a list of special events for National Archaeology Day, and collaborating organizations on the National Archaeology Day website. You could go to a National Park or a state or county park. Remember, the US Civil War sites are still celebrating the 150 anniversary of the Civil War. You can even find a UNESCO World Heritage Site; these sites are "of outstanding universal value" in addition to meeting to other critera. World Heritage sites include Masada (featured in Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers), the Tower of London and the area around Tequila (yes, where tequila is made, and has been for 500 years, and other drinks for centuries more). And this is not just for the US. Orginizations in several other countries have listed events on the AIA site as well. And the site doesn't have to be one who has signed up with the AIA, just have a focus on archaeology.
So you've gone out on the 20th or 21st. Show me that you did. Take pictures, show me your ticket stubs, show me the booklet/flyer for the exhibit, or get one of those dated park stamps like the National Park sites have. Upload the picture to your favorite free image host (Picasa, Photobucket, Imageshack, Tinypic, to name a few), and send me the link and fill out the form. As they say 'Picture, or it doesn't count!' For the love of all things, if the museum has a no photography policy, DON'T DO IT!!.
For doing this, I will collect small things, like bookmarks or postcards and send you one. I am going to the Cleopatra exhibit next month, so it might be something from that, who knows?
You have until the end of day PST (GMT-8) Wednesday Oct. 24 to enter.