Archaeology Mom

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Kas 20, 2022 // By:analsex // No Comment

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A love story set in the Scottish Highlands. It came to me quickly. I hope you enjoy.

To all my readers from Scotland I caution I have never been there and any and all inaccuracies are wholly my own. My sweetheart and I talked about vacationing there this summer, but this virus thing deep-sixed those plans. I have seen movies set in and pictures of the Highlands; the land appears beautiful. Best to all during this ongoing crisis.

I’m thinking of next doing a sequel to one of my existing stories.

As always, all story characters engaged in sexual activities are eighteen years of age or older.

* * * * *

Mom and I were on a cross-country run through the Scottish Highlands, which has to be the prettiest place on earth for a cross-country run, when she veered hard to the left and shouting, “I’ll race you to the top,” started up a small hill.

I took off after her, steadily cutting down her lead: three steps, two steps. While she’d been an All-American cross-country runner her junior and senior years at North Carolina. I wasn’t bad; I’d finished third in the Pennsylvania high school championship the month before.

And I had eighteen years on her.

Two steps, one step.

That’s when Mom threw up her hands and shouted, “I win.”

“What! You said to the top. We weren’t at the top.”

Catching her breath, a quizzical look on her face that indicated she had no idea what I was talking about, Mom said, “Son, no one likes a sore loser. Now let’s take a look around.”

* * * * *

Her face screwed up in concentration – I knew that look – Mom studied the hill, the surrounding land scape, studied them again, then said, “This hill is in the wrong place.”

“What?”

“You don’t see it?’

“No. What are you talking about?”

“It’s sad, to have eyes but not to see. This hill is oriented north-south, all the others are north-east by south-west. Check your compass; I need an exact reading so I can see how it aligns with the magnetic north 5,000 years ago.”

“What compass?”

“You didn’t bring a compass.”

“No.”

Pulling one from a pocket she took the measurement and said, “You should be better prepared. The hill’s also symmetrical, the others aren’t, and,” pointing to an elongated flat area about half a mile away, added, “We just ran by there. What did you notice?”

I shrugged my shoulders.

“It has trees.”

“Trees?”

“Are you sure you’re my son? You’re supposed to be paying attention. Check out the rest of landscape – no trees. Which means there’s an underground water source over there and from the land’s contour it was above ground some time in the past, which makes it perfect for human encampment. I suspect we’re standing on the ceremonial site/burial mound of that village. We’ll need aerial photographs, but I think we found the site of our dig.”

* * * * *

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Mom’s an archaeologist. There was some controversy when the Scottish government awarded her, a professor at Pennsylvania, a grant to look for Neolithic sites in the Scottish Highlands, but Mom’s reputation, ready charm, and promise to hire a mostly Scottish team blunted most of it. I, the designated go-fer, was one of the exceptions. Which is why I’d loaded up in summer school after my junior year and took extra courses the first semester of my senior year so I could graduate in December, not May, and join the expedition.

* * * * *

“Ma’am. We found something, I think you better come see.”

She looked at me, said, “You can come too bub.”

I followed her to the trench the team had been digging into the hill. One of my jobs was to catalog the location of the detritus of the dig, and the trench had been full of bits of broken pottery, animal bones, and pieces of weaving, confirming the wisdom of Mom’s choice. Now, something was protruding from the end of the trench. Mom, laying on the ground, lowered her upper body into the trench, studied whatever it was with a flashlight, then raised herself back out of the trench. She was in great shape

“Okay guys, lets get this thing out of the ground, but be careful. It looks important. I’ll get in touch with the lab at the university, let them know we’re bringing something in.”

“What is it ma’am?’

“I’m not sure, but its cherry wood. Anybody?”

A cute red-head named Mallory, one of the graduate students, said, “Cherry wood is not native to Scotland.”

“Correct. Which means it was a trade item, which means it was expensive, which means whatever it was used for was probably important.”

* * * * *

Mom supervising, the following morning a three feet by one foot six-sided wooden box caked-in dirt came out of the ground. I and three others loaded it onto the jeep and I drove it and Mom the forty-five miles to the University, where it was placed in a vacuum chamber. Mom, the lab’s director, and members of the archaeology faculty spent the afternoon and evening examining it. Me? I hit a pub, drank some beer, flirted with these two more than Ankara escort respectable ladies, who flirted back. I thought about it, but deciding discretion was the better part of valor got back to the house the university had provided us shortly after 10:00. Mom wasn’t there, but when I got out of the shower there was a text on my phone. She was heading my way. She needed to clear her head; how about an early morning run?

* * * * *

Running across campus, then venturing into the surrounding hills, Mom recounted the initial examination of the box. “It used reed hinges; those have rotted away. It’s covered with geometric designs, sophisticated for the time, and what I believe are proto-pictographic symbols. They resemble Celtic symbols I’m familiar with from southern England and the north of France from that period. There’s a lot of them; somebody was trying to tell us something. Best as I can make out the box is a reliquary of a village chieftain. Question: what does that tell us?”

“Was it normal practice to inter chieftains in this manner?”

“Good question. No, or more accurately, we have no evidence so indicating.”

“So this chieftain was especially respected, or feared, or loved, or something like that, he was important.”

“I might make an archaeologist of you yet. If I’m right his bones, and a wealth of DNA information, are in there. We’re going to clean the outside of the box today, then head back to camp. It’ll be a couple days before we can open it.”

* * * * *

That evening, back in our tent, Mom showed me the photographs of the box taken after it was cleaned. I was struck by the carvings. Profuse, meticulous, often beautiful, I imagined the immense amount of time spent preparing them. Mom then gave me an abbreviated lesson in Neolithic art, showing how to distinguish pictographs from the other carvings, and proving I was educable I pointed to a section on the lower left of a side panel and said, “What do these mean?”

“They help confirm it’s a reliquary of the clans’s chieftain who I believe, based on this symbol,” she pointed to two adjoining ovals, “was a woman. All this time I’ve been calling her a him.”

“Yeah. I guess I pictured a chief as a man.”

“You’re a sexist pig; I, on the other hand, should have known better. If I have the age of this thing pegged correctly, 2,500 – 3,000 B.C.E., we know there were matriarchal societies in the Highlands. If her bones, as I expect, are inside we’ll know for sure. DNA testing will confirm it.”

“What does the section say about her?”

“It praises her, the guardian of her people, and then surprisingly praises her consort. I’ve never seen an inscription mention a spouse before. They must have loved each other a great deal.”

“This is amazing stuff Mom. No one I know gets these kind of experiences. Still, if you don’t need me I’m gonna hit the sack, I’m pooped.”

“Do you mind if I keep the light on? I’d like to spend more time with this.”

Pulling my shirt over my head and my shorts down, depositing them to the side, I crawled into my sleeping bag and said, “I’ll be fine. As hard as my slave-driver of a boss works me, I’ll have no trouble falling sleeping.”

“Yeah, I heard she’s a bad ass bitch.”

“The baddest, except for the ass, which is kinda nice.”

Laughing, Mom said, “Really? Well, if you talk to your boss like that again you’ll find out how bad ass she can be.”

Inside my sleeping bag I worked my underpants down my legs, reached out and laid them with the rest of my clothes, and said, “I love you Mom.”

“I love you too son.”

* * * * *

Unusually, I was the first one up in the morning. Mom never slept in; she must have worked deep into the night. Slipping from my sleeping bag I pulled on my dirty shorts and tee-shirt and started for the door, stopping when I saw marked-up drawings and a sheaf of calculations poled on Mom’s make-shift desk. They’d not been there when I went asleep. What had she been up to? I picked them up and went outdoors, studying them in the light of the rising sun. They were sketches of the mound on which she’d plotted various locations for what appeared to be a new trench.

Slipping back inside I returned the papers to her desk, then headed for the mess tent.

“Mornin’ Brad, where’s the boss? She already on the mound digging?”

“Believe it or not, she’s sleeping. She was up late working.”

“Sounds like her – does she ever stop?”

“Occasionally, to give me shit. What’s for breakfast?”

Laughing he said, “At least she stops to give you shit, she gives it to the rest of us while she’s working. Breakfast? Whataya think? Same thing as yesterday, same thing as tomorrow: scrambled eggs and bacon, unless you’re vegan, then you get fake scrambled eggs and fake bacon. Why does she prefer we stay on site; we could commute from town.”

“She makes it optional.”

Looking around at the sea of tents at the base of the mound he said, “Yeah, and you can see how many of us are willing to take your mother’s least preferred Ankara escort bayan alternative.”

Choosing real scrambled eggs and bacon, I said, “Well, she says it’s better security for the site and without the commute there is more time for work. She also thinks living on the land gives you a better idea of how the people your studying saw the world, which means you better know where to look. Hard to argue with her, her track record’s good.”

“Her track record is fucking amazing. How long you been going on these gigs?”

“Is seems every summer since I was eight years old she and I shared a tent in some exotic locale.”

“Exotic? You forget I live here.”

I ate, then headed back to the tent carrying a cup of coffee the way Mom likes it – black – in case she was up. I found her sitting at her desk, making additional calculations, and not wearing a shirt. As I said, we’d been sharing a tent for years. You get less formal.

“Mom, chest.”

“Shit,” then pointing to a tee shirt – it was mine but I wasn’t going to argue – “Toss me that, and turn around. You shouldn’t be looking at me in this condition.”

I tossed, turned, then said, “You look good in that condition. I brought you coffee.”

“Thanks, that was sweet.”

“What are you working on?”

“There are astrological symbols on the box. I couldn’t figure out why. Then last night I realized if you impose their position in the sky on the mound you get sort of a map. If you place the largest star cluster on the location of our reliquary, the other clusters may point the way to other reliquaries, including the consort’s. There’s some guessing here, orientation’s an issue, it was 5,000 years ago so the stars are not in the same place, you can’t be sure you got the right stars, and heck, the whole thing might be malarkey. But I have some ideas on where to dig next.”

Most of the crew, including me, spent the day filling in the existing trench, preserving it for future exploration. Mom and the team leaders wandered the mound with her notes and charts making endless measurements before marking the next trench’s location with wooden pegs. At the end of the day Mom took a rare couple of hours off, sitting with me and the others around the nightly bonfire. We drank a few Guinnesses, laughed, swapped stories; I recounted a few in which Mom was not quite the Super Woman everyone assumed her to be. Afterwards she and I walked back to the tent and exhausted from staying up most of the night before, a couple beers in her, she crawled into her sleeping bag and conked out. I studied her triangular face. She looked peaceful and, I thought, was beautiful.

* * * * *

The next morning things were back to normal. When I woke up Mom was sitting in front of her computer. She had a shirt on.

“Morning,” I said.

“Good morning, going to sleep all day?”

“What time is it?”

“6:00 A.M.”

“Apparently not. What are you doing at six in the morning?”

“I’m double-checking the location of the new trench. I think it needs to be moved. Join me?”

“Sure.”

Mom turned her attention back to the screen and I slipped out of the sleeping bag and, my back to her, rummaged through my duffle bag for some clean underwear.

“Cute butt.”

“Mom!”

Patting her blond hair into place — she kept it short and practical – she said, “You get to comment on mine but I can’t comment on yours? That’s hardly fair: I raised you better than that. Can you grab some pegs?”

At the site Mom stared at the pegs already in the ground, stared at her computer, stared at her computer some more, glanced at the pegs, then drove the two of the pegs I’d brought into the ground immediately to the right of the existing pegs.

“Mom, you moved them an inch.”

“A bit more than that, but yes.”

“What difference can an inch that make?”

“For want of a nail darling.”

* * * * *

That morning the dig resumed. That evening, Mom, promising to take a long hot shower just for me, headed to the university for the opening of the reliquary. I returned to cataloging the location and condition of the material we found.

That night, around the bonfire, I chatted up Mallory. After assuring her Mom would never know, I joined her in her tent. It was fun.

* * * * *

Returning the next day as we finished lunch Mom called us together.

“Wonderful news; we opened the reliquary. It’s a remarkable find, the best preserved from that time period I’ve seen. The University is opening a link on its web-site so you can review the photographs yourself. The hip bone confirms it was for a woman and the wealth of materials interred with her establishes her high rank. They’re still going through it, but there are close to 3,000 mammoth ivory beads, a wealth of pierced fox canines, and two ivory armbands. Most importantly she was holding an elaborate, carefully manufactured, mammoth ivory spear. It’s too light to be used as a weapon; we believe it was a symbol of her authority as chieftain. That it was buried Escort Ankara with her indicates the great respect in which she was held. Her bones were also carefully prepared and stained ochre.

“They’re running DNA tests as I speak, we’ll know a lot more in a few days.

“I want to thank and congratulate everybody, this is a find we all contributed to. I know you have questions, but please save them for dinner tonight. It’s time to get back to work.”

* * * * *

That evening in our tent, me in my sleeping bag, Mom sitting at her desk, she said, “Mallory looked happy. You finally get to visit her last night?”

How did she know this stuff?

We both knew I was being less than forthcoming when I said, “I visited with the entire crew last night. If you’re implying more than that, that I broke the non-fraternization rule, I’m deeply offended.”

Mom said, “Please don’t do it again. If I can’t enforce the rules with you I can’t enforce them with anyone.”

“Mom, you do know that despite the non-fraternization rule people are sneaking into each other’s tents.”

“Of course I know.”

“Then why the rule?”

“Two reasons. First, it protects the project. If someone harasses, if someone decides to accuse someone of harassing, I can point to our unequivocal policy forbidding such conduct. Second, I’ve been going on digs since my teens. A whole bunch of young people living together in the great outdoors? These digs can turn into orgies pretty fast; I’ve seen it happen. I want people focused on the work, not whose sleeping bag they’re sharing that night. So yeah, I know people break the rule, but I’d prefer they do it quietly, sneakily, and not back an eighteen wheeler over it.

“And don’t worry, Mallory’s not in trouble. She’s a smart woman, a good worker, I like her.”

* * * * *

On the third day of digging the new trench I saw the camp streaming in that direction. I finished cataloging the piece I was working on – I’d learned from Mom not to stop mid-task and the trench wasn’t going anywhere – and joined them.

Mom was kneeling in the trench, probing its side with a brush and small pick. Standing in the back of crowd I couldn’t make out what she’d found and asked the guy in front of me, “What is it?”

“Word is it’s another box. One of the diggers found it, but he chipped an end so Dr. Cyriack took over.”

Thirty minutes later Mom stood, smiled – I knew that smile; something good just happened – gestured to three people to join her, and said, “Guys, it looks promising, but the show’s over, back to work. We’ll let you know what we find.”

* * * * *

Mom and her crew spent the rest of the day, then the evening, working in the trench. The rest of us struggled to focus on our work as with every inch of their progress word spread that we’d found the companion to our earlier discovery. After dinner we all congregated around the trench, letting out a cheer when Mom signaled for me and three others to strap it up and carry it to the truck.

A little longer and a little heavier, it was strikingly similar in design to the first box: made of the same dark wood and, where not obscured by dirt, covered in carvings. And while I was hoping for a return to civilization and a hot shower, Mom, who’d be driving unfamiliar roads, much of them one lane and dirt, in the dark, asked two of the locals to drive to the university with her.

* * * * *

To visit Mallory or not to visit Mallory? Out of respect for Mom and to protect Mallory I decided no. Mallory understood; despite my assurances she was none to pleased Mom suspected us.

* * * * *

The next day people were unfocused and the work slow, everyone waiting on Mom’s return. Rumors spread through camp that the second reliquary was that of the chieftain’s consort – one guy heard it from a friend who kinda knew the laboratory director’s secretary, one heard it from someone who used to date someone who used to date an assistant in the lab – but no one was going to believe it until they heard it from Mom.

She returned while we were eating dinner. I saw her first, walking across the site. I tried to determine if the news was good or bad, but couldn’t read her face. Somehow she was both scowling and smiling, but by the time she got to us she was mostly scowling.

“Okay people, did you take the day off? Not only didn’t we make progress, it looks like we actually made backward progress, which, I’ll give you, is hard to do. Is there a reason? People, the digging season is only so long; I hear it gets real cold here in the winter.”

No one said anything.

“Let’s focus tomorrow, see if we can get caught up. On the positive side, based on the markings, based on the construction, based on the material, it appears it’s the consort’s reliquary.”

Her caution, “… and even if it isn’t it’s a remarkable find,” was drowned out by the cheer that went round the camp.

* * * * *

Mom skipped dinner – she said she’d eaten at the University – and after finishing my meal and making the rounds I headed for our tent. Mom was reviewing e-mails.

“Hey Mom, what’s going on?”

“I shared the photographs of the boxes with a few colleagues around the world, seeking their input. There’s some interesting stuff here.”

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