Can you imagine what it would like to be an architect on an archaeological dig? Just picture it—you receive word about some ancient arrowhead recovered a few feet beneath Sicilian soil. So, excitedly, you gather your team, do prerequisite research regarding the history of the locus in question—maybe there’s not much background on it at all, maybe this arrowhead will reveal ghosts of 200 (or even 2,000) years passed. The next morning, you’re setting up shop in a small Sicilian village. The townspeople are a boisterous bunch, teeming with curiosity and culture. You and your team stay in the local inn, a great old establishment with wooden beams and hand-sewn bedspreads. At the in-house restaurant, the epicenter of the village nightlife, you’re treated like celebrities, surrounded by gratis dishes of caponata, arancine, and of course, cannolis. The next morning, the real fun begins. You set off for the fateful site as the sun slinks up over the sandy hills. Upon arrival, you and your team discuss an approach—how far to dig, how long a radius from the initial point of discovery, the logistics of it all.
With your faithful canteen strapped to your side, you push on with this thirsty work. Water has never tasted better—never been more of a fuel than now. All the same, you’re running on that marvelous mixture of adrenaline and exhilaration, no matter how much you hydrate.
Suddenly, a sunray catches something and causes a blinding sheen. After sifting through dank sand for the past two hours, this new sight is an electrifying surprise. “I’ve got something!” You reach for the gleaming shale. Your movements are excited, although you do remember to be gentle as you dust off the dirt from this unidentified object. Your finger work isn’t enough though—this thing must have years and years of earth engrained into it. So you send it up to your polish team for more intensive cleansing.
While they’re at it, you and your team speed up, heightening concentrations around the general area. More pieces similar to yours are uncovered, each one sent up to be polished. It’s one big, thrilling jigsaw puzzle. Literally. The polish team has all the pieces cleared off, and it’s your turn to put them together. They’re all parts of a whole—they have complementary designs and lettering when you put them together, making up some sort of shield.
Your best historians cannot identify the meaning of the language on the shield or the symbolism of the design. They cannot relate it back to anything they have learned or studied—or anything that is currently documented. Could this one discovery have been the catalyst of a search for a completely new group of people? Is it possible that there is still some history we don’t know about?
Can you imagine?