Archeology has always fascinated me.

I actually took a college class on the topic that might best be described as that of survey caliber. Certainly not in-depth but enough to pique my interest. Dig stuff up and figure out who put it there, when they put it there and why they left it there.

I followed up on that collegiate course by watching movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Mummy,” “Lara Croft –Tomb Raider,” and “King Solomon’s Mine” to name a few, in order to deepen my knowledge of the subject. I must say that I learned more by watching Lara Croft (played by Angelina Jolie) than any of the others but the knowledge I gleaned there had little to do with archeology.

But my interest in archeology persists and I had an opportunity recently to delve into it once more – albeit through a bizarre set of circumstances. Of course wacky stuff is really not out of the ordinary if you read this column on a semi-regular basis. Bizarre is what I seem to be. Bizarre, strange, odd, peculiar and maybe even a little weird – but I can’t help it if I live a life full of inexplicable events. They just seem to follow me around.

Anyway.

My latest foray into archeology came right in my own back yard so to speak. In previous episodes I’ve penned a few lines about the old, old truck of mine and that’s precisely where this adventure begins. I had just gathered up all the trash in the house and was in the process of taking it out to load onto Big Red (the nickname for my gallant truck) when I noticed something rather peculiar. The dash pocket had fallen slap out and was lying on the floorboard. Dry rot of the hinges was my diagnosis. Now if this were any other vehicle it would have been mind-boggling but with Big Red it was just another day at the office. In addition to the dash pocket being displaced, the battery was also dead (the result of a little light inside the pocket which came on when the incident occurred. I was surprised that the little light still worked but nonetheless it did and thus the battery had died.

But that’s not the story.

I started checking out the stuff that was in the doomed dash pocket and that’s where the archeological dig actually began. I realized that it had not been opened since the Dark Ages and thus it was kind of like a time capsule that had finally been unearthed. I began sorting through the rubble and started finding artifacts long buried. It was kind of like opening the tomb of an Egyptian mummy – lots of dust and much surprise in what had been lying there over the course of many, many years.

Here is a partial list of some of the relics long concealed in the dash pocket of Big Red: 1) A fold out map of Virginia. That was curious because the only time I’ve been to Virginia was in a plane. 2) A Roy D. Mercer cassette tape (my truck used to have a cassette player that worked but has long since bit the dust so to speak. 3) Every insurance card since 1999 A.D. 4) The original owner’s manual for the ancient truck which I assume would bring thousands of dollars at auction if for no other reason other than because of how old it is. 5) A complete instruction booklet on how to put flea and tick medicine on a dog (my dogs have been deceased for several millennia).

Additionally there were a few other noteworthy finds. One of them was an actual human tooth. Best I can recall that may have come from my mouth after a hunting accident many years ago in which an unfortunate fall knocked it out. I think I saved it hoping that the dentist could put it back in but alas forgot about it after stuffing it into the catacombs of my dash pocket.

Also in the midst of the dust there was what appeared to be other human remains – toenails – and once more the details of how they might have found a resting place in the ancient crypt are obscured by time. Finally there was a golden ring – yep finally found some buried treasure – and it turned out to be the wedding ring (circa 1981) I thought I’d lost on a fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee sometime in the distant past.

All in all the demise of my dash pocket was not a bad thing. I made some startling discoveries, encountered relics from pre-historic ages, found buried treasure and generally re-acquainted myself with the joy of archeology.

E-mail your archeology stories to

dar8589@bellsouth.net

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