While searching for a missing charger, Josh discovered the following letter:
December 12, 2012
Subject: Topsecret message to the Lewis Binford Center for the Improvement of American Archaeology at UCLA
I apologize for the delay in submitting my first report, but the Kiwis are rather serious archaeologists: they work from 6 A.M. To 6 P.M., producing massive amounts of data but leaving little time for writing up my observations. There are also severe language issues, as I discuss further below. As we suspected, however, the Kiwi archaeologists are highly sophisticated methodologically and therefore indeed deserve our surveillance. Their key method involves cross-shaped survey areas, with each of the two arms 100 meters long and 10 meters wide. They survey these areas more intensively than I have ever seen archaeologists do before, indeed spending much time standing in place searching every inch (although they use some unit called “centimeter”) of the survey area. This has made me realize just how many subtle lithic artifacts one can find with careful observation. They record all these artifacts using a robotic total station, a fine device I had never before seen with my own eyes. The speed of recording with this machine makes such intensive survey feasible. The Kiwis also record the geomorphology of these cross-shaped survey areas using the total station, thereby producing a record that from the very start has important data for interpreting the presence and absence of artifacts on various surfaces.
All in all, the Kiwis’ methods strike me as very worthy of American emulation. As Matt (who is more willing to explicitly discuss these matters with me as he is almost certainly an agent for the Ian Hodder Institute for the Improvement of British Archaeology) remarked to me, these methods strike a fine balance between extensive and intensive survey. In other words, we cover huge areas of the landscape but also capture the very fine-grained detail of the archaeological record.
There are, however, serious obstacles to my observation of the Kiwi team. They employ a secret code-language to conceal the secrets of their archaeological greatness from possible spies such as myself. For instance, at a recent lunch in the field when I posed a question about archaeological methods to Simon, he responded to me with, “Cheers, mate, you took the Vegemite so I reckon I’ll nick your Eurocream, ta.” The words I understand in this statement are restricted to “you,” “the,” “so,” “I,” and “your” (even these, however, are spoken in a bizarre manner); if you have any guesses regarding the rest I would appreciate the help. Regarding the mysterious substance mentioned in this statement, Vegemite, I am forced by Simon’s above comment to conclude that this substance is the secret to their methodological sophistication. I am, however, reluctant to recommend its use by American archaeologists due to its general distastefulness.
I must unfortunately conclude this first report with a complaint regarding Marcus, my counterpart from the UCLA Geography Department’s espionage team. My complaint is that Marcus does not make sufficient efforts to conceal his affiliation and purpose here, thereby jeopardizing my own mission. I attach a photo that demonstrates my point rather clearly; note that each and every article of his clothing is problematic in some way.