Ruth M. Van Dyke is professor of anthropology at Binghamton University, SUNY. She is an archaeologist specializing in the North American Southwest, and her research interests include landscape, architecture, power, memory, phenomenology, and visual representation. She directs projects on the Chaco landscape in northwest New Mexico and on historic Alsatian immigration in Texas.
Every nine-year-old loves the idea of archaeology—the prospect of digging in the dirt and finding mysterious objects once touched by people from the past. A few of us actually grow up to do this for a living. Along the way we learn the complexities of our craft, and we master its intellectual traditions. We learn to practice anthropology with a material focus, engaging with human lives past and present.