Funny what you find yourself watching at 5am when you can't sleep.
Reruns of Scooby Doo (the popular 1960s / 70s / 80s / 90s / 00s / 10s adventure featuring an animated canine and his ever-haunted human chums) seems to be a popular choice at present for the Late Night TV channel schedulers (probably expecting a mass of insomniac children).
Collapsing before the altar of Scoob, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne, I was pleased (as I always am) to see our old friend the "Stock Archaeologist" rear his (and her) recognisable and utterly unmistakeable head(s).
I could tell straight away the that we were in the presence of pop culture bone-kickers: he (Professor Stonehack - did he possess a first name?) was resplendent in Khaki field gear, fedora, overtly masculine facial hair and square jaw
whilst she (Elina Stonehack) was also dressed in Khaki, but with a red scarf (and semi-demented stare).
Both wielded pick-axes, shovels and (rather bizarrely) what appeared to be yard brooms. Both were undoubtedly 'bad-hats'.
And so it proved to be (SPOILER ALERT), the professor dressing up as 'the Ghost of King Katazuma', Elina preferring the outfit of 'the Aztec Statue Monster', in order to scare people away from the reality of their nefarious scam: the pocketing of an ancient Aztec treasure.
I wondered, as one does at such times, whether other archaeologists had appeared in Scooby Doo, and whether the stereotype had ever shifted in the programmes’ 40 year plus history. Here the resource tool SCOOBYPEDIA (what did we do before the internet?) proved invaluable.
It would appear that, since 1969, only two types of archaeologist have appeared in this particular slice of pop culture. Unsurprisingly, given what we've already discussed in the past (and identified as the medical condition of 'Clarke Kent Syndrome'), these two extremes were: A) the seedy (nerdy), spectacle-wearing academic, ill at ease with both the real world and the meddling kids that inhabit it (cue Dr Henry Walton Jones Jnr); and B), the rugged, no-holds barred, all-guns blazing field explorer, also ill-at ease with the real world but more likely to gun down any meddling kids that they meet along the way (cue Indiana Jones).
Here, for example, is an example from type A, the ever-so-slightly seedy and totally obsessed academic: Professor Jameson Hyde White (archaeologist from the episode What a Night for a Knight)
Hyde White was (SPOILER ALERT) captured by Mr. Wickles in a Black Knight costume but was later found tied up and gagged after Mr. Wickles was arrested for covering up a series of forged paintings, having stolen and kept the originals, which the professor, as an archaeologist, would apparently have noticed (....er...what was he 'archaeologist' of in any case?).
Here, from the episode The Mummy of Ankha, is 'The Professor' (so dull that he doesn't even possess a name)
who works in the Department of Archaeology (of an unidentified American University) who, whilst setting up an Egyptian mummy for a display, was kidnapped (SPOILER ALERT) by the reanimated mummy
It didn't work.
Susie, it transpired (SPOILER ALERT) secretly dressed up as a Centaur because she wanted Atlantis to be her discovery and not that of Demas (not quite sure, in the cold light of day, how that made sense to poor Susie...possibly her brain was addled after spending too much time filling in context sheets).
Thinking about these particular examples taken from the world of pop culture archaeology, I realise that my own on site research / digging technique is particularly ghoul-free. Perhaps, next time I find an Iron Age storage pit or a Roman ditch, instead of half-sectioning the feature then drawing, photographing and otherwise recording it, I'm going to scare people away by hiding beneath a fluorescent green sheet, swathing myself in bandages and hopping about on one leg screaming ‘Arggg Argg’ at passers-by, making great claims to be the reanimated Pot Sherd Phantom of the Forbidden Purple Test Pit.
Who knows, against all the evidence provided in Scooby Doo, I might just get away with it....