False Remoteness


I’m an avid podcast listener. This American Life, Car Talk, Serial are just some of the titles that grace my playlist, one of the few non-NPR podcasts is Dirt Bag Daries, a podcast covering the life of outdoor enthusiasts. I’ve been going through this one from the beginning and just got the podcast titled ‘Remotest‘ published last February, about a couple seeking the remotest areas in each state of the United States. They used the criteria of paved roads to determine remoteness since they want to demonstrate how many exist in the US. But when they were discussing the qualifications for determining remoteness it got me thinking about urban dwellers continual longing for this escape from the oppression of their work life, an even more pressing concern for the modern American with their obsession of clocks.

But this escape existed in
the Ancient Mediterranean, Vergil wrote a set of eclogues praising the pastoral life and the peace that supposedly came with it. And he was basing his poems on poems written by a group of Hellenistic poets who were writing bucolic poems. For along time people have been pining for a return to a simpler and more rural time.

This idea of being out of contact with the world is something that we archaeologists also perpetuate. I’ve always claimed to be working in EBFT or East Bum-Fuck Tuscany and therefore out of contact with the world and unable to do the same amount of communication that I normally do when I am in the states. And to a point this is true, I work in one town that is a half hour from any major city and effectively shuts down on Sundays and in another that I can walk across within 5 minutes and will soon be out in fields. I often visit archaeological sites that are in the middle of fields of wheat or have animals grazing on them. I can go hours without seeing another person beyond my group.

However this is a false sense of remoteness, I am sitting in a medieval tower writing this and will post it soon using a wireless data point. We found out the same day that Muhammad Ali died. Some still have data plans that allow them to share stories with us about news happening back in the states. I can connect to wifi and talk to my girlfriend who is working half a world away in Skagway Alaska. It is amazing how connected we all are in this world.

So while somethings might be challenging and difficult, and a post like this will take some time to actually upload, the idea that I am remote and removed isn’t 100 percent true. But it is still nice to think that I am out in the sticks and it is easier to cut myself off out here than in the states.



About handyatmurlo

I am a Latin teacher at Regis Jesuit High School. I earned my MA at CU Boulder and my BA at UMass Amherst. I have spent my summers working in Italy as an archaeologist at three different sites. One I have worked at for 10 years at Poggio Civitate at Vescovado di Murlo. I have worked at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome for 2 years, before the project ended. I also spent 2 summers at the FSU excavations in Cosa.
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