Path to Prelude

“What Is Past Is Prelude; Study the Past”
  • Charles H. Fairbanks


Ann Rowe, in “The Making of a Scientist,” has pointed out that most active scientists, in whatever discipline, found out at a relatively early stage in then-careers that they could discover for themselves things about their field of interest. I experienced such satisfaction several times at a relatively early age, about twelve or thirteen, I suppose. While I was aware that finding a potsherd on a plowed field was not really anything new under the sun, I did feel that there was a tremendous pleasure in discovering something lost or forgotten. My mother was an enthusiastic amateur botanist, especially interested in the native orchids to be found in upstate New York. Other avocational botanists frequently visited, and we went on long “botanical walks” which certainly introduced me to the world of natural science. Botany as done by these people, however, didn’t really appeal to me. Perhaps part of the lack of any deep attraction was due to the circumstance that they were primarily taxonomists, eagerly counting and classifying the species, size, and variations of these interesting forms. They were interested in description, not explanation.


Historical Archaeology Historic Site National Monument Field School Public Archaeology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles H. Fairbanks

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