I dig up rocks.

I also crush rocks.

A diverse skill-set is, after all, an important thing to have in archaeology.

On a more personal level, the second skill provides a sort of retribution I can exact on the endless horde of rock-kind that infests any dig-site. Just as these rocks are infuriating to come across when digging, there is an equal if not greater amount of satisfaction when tasked with taking a sledgehammer to them before they become an issue. It’s a sort of primal satisfaction, I admit, but there is little else that can match the sheer kinetic force of a sledgehammer’s full swing. Seeing a pristine rock (small boulder is more accurate) blemished with a hairline fracture is a joyous sight. A few more swings around this fracture and the inevitable occurs: a sizeable chunk detaches and, vanquished, falls to the ground.

A selection of today’s rocks slated for destruction. The gap on the left once housed one such rock,  but no longer. At centre lies the tool of choice, feared by all rock-kind.

Multiply this event several dozen times and you more or less have the gist of my day. And what a glorious day it was to bring about the decline of the dominion of rock-kind.

There’s a point to all of this, of course. Beneath today’s specific set of boulders lies the house of a decurion. The decurion was a cavalry commander in the Roman army and led a squadron, or turma in Latin, of 30 horsemen. As befitted his rank, he got to live in fairly spacious quarters.

Just as the decurion had to work hard to reach his rank, I have to work hard to systematically and archaeologically invade what used to be his living quarters. He’s a few years past caring, I imagine, but I do what I do in the name of archaeology. If a few rocks get crushed in the process, that makes my job all the more enjoyable.

One thought on “Rocks

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