By Dana Cameron
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After I finally extricated myself from Constantino’s sterile office, I fled to the library, where I immediately felt more at home. I was greeted by the warm, brown smell of old leather and paper, well-worn carpeting, and wood polish. There were a number of carrelled desks about, and a couple of flat tables on which to spread work. Reference works lined two walls, and a small office was on the third. The last wall had windows that looked out into the dense stand of trees that sprawled out in front of the annex, and I paused there to admire yet another splendid prospect.
Archaeologists spend considerably more time doing research and labwork than working in the field, but opening up a volume like the Chandler journal is as much fun for an archaeologist as putting that first shovel to ground. An even better analogy is to mining gold: Even though you might end up with nothing at all, there’s such a thrill in the exploration that you’re willing to pan out a dozen times because it only makes it that much better when you hit that one good vein of data that you can mine for all it’s worth.
This is in spite of the fact that there’s not going to be any real audience to see you, that working with old books can get pretty grubby—what with decaying dyed leather and brittle yellow pages that are turning to dust—and that it would just be more comfortable to wear jeans and a sweatshirt instead of a skirt and heels. I don’t make these rules, I just go along with them when it…suits me. My walk also gave me a moment to enjoy the scenery and to make my plans for the day. I was afraid that at least a part of the morning would be taken up with introductions to the staff and to the library protocols.