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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Why you shouldn't do amateur archeology ...

by Bruno Van de Casteele

June 30, 2013

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Donate A couple of months ago this picture made its way around Tumblr and Imgur. Just when you think you are excavating some bizarro seal, you get ... (scroll down)



... a trapdoor spider! Thanks to the comments on Reddit for pointing out this nice species, which indeed uses a sort of trapdoor (with silk as a hinge!) to capture prey. The seal is in reality a sort of door, with a pattern on it that looks like it was made by humans.

But this isn't the reason you shouldn't do amateur archeology. At least not the only reason. The Reddit comments contain several professional archeologists who experienced this and worse. So consider it part of the deal ...

What I did want to point attention to, is the following. If you happen to find something that looks like an artefact or old human or animal remains, leave it in place! Unless it's at risk of being immediately destroyed, get the local archeology department involved. If there is any risk that it will get looted, get the police involved, too. Because when you remove something from its original layer, you destroy valuable information that will enable you to date the artifact. Getting bitten by a spider is your problem, but losing important scientific information is everyone's loss.

by Bruno Van de Casteele

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