It Tastes Better Than You Think

Caleb Chow writes:

I was taught from a very early age not to lick anything dirty. It was only in Megiddo that I learned that sometimes…it’s good to do so.

During pottery reading one day, a certain strange piece of cylindrical material appeared. It was hotly debated as to whether it was a stone, a piece of pottery, a bone, or something else. The eye failed to determine its identity despite the years of experience some of those present had. The fingers could not determine its origin, and lightly hitting it against the table gave the ear no insight. The smell was the same as any other piece of material—it smelled like dirt. Finally, only one of the five human senses remained: Taste.

To the horror of some of those watching, a regular of Area K picked up the piece of material and licked it! The piece was then almost magically identified: It was a bone.

As the piece was still dangling on his tongue he excitedly cried, “Ith a vone! Ith a vone!”

Using the sensitivity of his tongue, he identified the object! I was shocked to realize that this method worked because the pores in the broken bone would suck the moisture from the tongue and stick to the soft tissue. Utterly genius; even though seeing a piece of bone stuck dangling from a protruding tongue was a bit…odd.

Nonetheless I learned an invaluable lesson that day: When all else fails in archaeology, lick it.

There is a reason toddlers like to put things in their mouths. No doubt the tongue is among the most sensitive parts of the body, and it would be a waste not to utilize it in analyzing our finds in archaeology.

Who would have thought of doing this kind of thing, except one with the ability to still think like a child?

Perhaps a child-like mentality to archaeology…is in fact the best mentality.


One Response to “It Tastes Better Than You Think”

  1. CSI had an episode in which Grissom was using his tongue to determine if something was a bone.

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