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Undergraduate explores serious, irreverent archaeology > News > USC Dornsife

Double majoring in historical past and archaeology, Sean Silvia provides cheeky however fact-filled classes on the buildings of the traditional world in a sequence of YouTube movies. [2¾ min read]

Pop culture and education make for entertaining and informative videos about history and archaeology. (Painting: David Roberts via Wikimedia Commons.)

Popular culture and schooling make for entertaining and informative movies about historical past and archaeology. (Portray: David Roberts through Wikimedia Commons.)

Standing in entrance of the glass pyramids exterior the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork in Washington, D.C., Sean Silvia is discussing the now-debunked fantasy that the pyramids of historical Egypt had been constructed by slave labor. It’s a false impression that dates again to Herodotus, the traditional Greek historian born 2,000 years later.

“Herodotus made the deadly mistake of believing the whole lot the native tour guides advised him,” Silvia quips.

history and archaeology double main with a minor in classics on the USC Dornsife School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Silvia goes on to explain how the pyramid workforce was handled in actuality: Archaeological research has indicated that they lived in a various “hidden metropolis” underneath the sand, one served by bakers, craftsmen and farmers. They ate hefty parts of bread, lamb and beef with a purpose to keep robust sufficient to carry out the grueling activity of constructing such a big construction. 

Cue the opening credit and tune from The Recent Prince of Bel-Air.

It’s this combination of schooling and popular culture that characterizes the movies on Archaeologists Anonymous, Silvia’s YouTube channel devoted to exploring the buildings of the traditional world, in addition to the lives of those that lived in it. By mashing up archaeology classes with a little bit of irreverence, he hopes to attraction to a youthful common viewers, an aspiration mirrored within the title of the channel itself. Archaeology, he defined, is usually regarded as a discipline for the tweedy and the aged, and typically that stereotype places off folks his age.

“Academia could be intimidating, so having that approachable, relatable, filled-with-memes type of video can attraction to that one who’s simply attempting it out,” Silvia mentioned. “I need to be a bridge for people who just like the Percy Jackson guide sequence or Greek mythology or historical Rome however don’t know a lot about it.” He hopes his movies spark a better curiosity in viewers, maybe main them to learn up on or take programs that cowl the traditional world.

Silvia writes, edits and movies many of the movies himself; runtimes for many of them vary from about 5 to 15 minutes. A Washington, D.C., native, Silvia usually makes use of the town — itself filled with allusions to historical Greece, Rome and Egypt — because the backdrop of his movies.

Silvia hopes to maintain producing the movies all through the remainder of the varsity 12 months, and presumably past. And it’s not simply the trilogy of Greece, Rome and Egypt that he needs to cowl — after the COVID-19 pandemic dies down, his want listing contains journey to Angkor Wat, Morocco and Iran.

As academic and entertaining as his movies are, Silvia believes archaeology carries severe cultural classes for right this moment’s world.

“I need to get folks to narrate to those folks of the previous and see how they noticed issues. As younger folks it’s vital for us to be taught concerning the previous as a result of it provides us a way of perspective and empathy,” he mentioned. “I feel on this loopy world we reside in, having some empathy and perspective is absolutely what we’d like proper now.”

— to dornsife.usc.edu

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