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Here comes the world fame
Archaeology

Here comes the world fame

By Konstantin L. Bannikov

“If you're not interested in archaeology, it doesn't mean that archaeology won't someday be interested in you,” once wrote on my bathroom's wall a man whose school nickname Archaeologist would become his profession

...When our boss Natalia Polosmak, back then a PhD at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, decided to excavate a mound, which would soon make history, a well-known archaeologist, professor Vyacheslav Molodin, who also happened to be her husband, said, word for word, “Normal mounds aren't enough for you?” A scientist demonstrated scientific skepticism. However, archaeology, the most materialistic of all sciences, hinges on one nonmaterial circumstance—Fate. From Fate's point of view, Natasha, who had learned to trust her intuition, saw it better. And the ordinary, totally unremarkable mound was excavated.

We opened the burial chamber—a larch vault. Inside we saw pure ice, white, in sign of our pure thoughts, totally opaque. So we thought: No celebration yet. Anything could be inside. As well as absolutely nothing. Robbers might have rummaged the grave before the ice formed, filling an empty vault.

A week went by with us sitting on ice in a pit, then another week... We tried to melt the ice, we poured hot water on it, but the frozen monolith didn't seem to end. The spirit of scientific skepticism electrified the atmosphere so one could charge batteries in this air.

“O-o-oh, it's all so bad! We'll find nothing but ice!” moaned Lena Shumakova, the world's best archaeological artist.

“A-a-ah, what will I write in my report?” our boss repeated worriedly.

“U-u-uh, we're all gonna die!” screamed Ira Oktyabr'skaya, the great ethnologist of Asian peoples, when she saw me cut bread with a knife I used to poke ice in the grave.

“All systems have an end,” I snapped back, wiping the knife on my insect-protection suit, which I, by the way, didn't change after work since I only had one.

Ira rushed out to vomit, while we continued our lunch, exercising in grave humor.

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