Archaeology – At Last!

March 18, 2007
I have lost count of the number of years that I have been fascinated by subjects like the origins of mankind, ancient civilizations, and even – to travel a wee bit further back in time – the origins of the universe.

I do remember that when I was in the VIth standard, we studied the Harappan civilization (way too briefly for my liking) and I was enthralled. It’s sad that after that, I never liked History (or, for that matter Geography) the way it was taught in school. But then again, when you consider that 90% of the History we studied in school had to do with the Indian struggle for freedom, you’ll get some idea of why the subject bored me to tears. Naturally, I never considered studying History in High School or college.

But Archaeology remained an area of interest ever since those days of Harappan studies.

A nagging desire to really study archaeology, whether formally or informally, has followed me around for many years. I remember discussing it with Amit once, must have been more than five years ago; and the number of times I’ve surfed the Net looking for full-time or correspondence courses on the subject doesn’t bear thinking about. Yet, I’ve never gotten around to doing it, partly because I’ve never found a correspondence course that really covered my areas of interest. It never occurred to me to study something “close to” Archaeology, such as Ancient History, or Linguistics, which can easily be done by distance education. So, I did a Masters in Psychology instead, which was never on the radar, but which I enjoyed immensely anyway (one of the few things I’m thankful to my former boss for, as she was the one who suggested it to me).

The other day, killing time in office, I started browsing the web for the nth time, looking for online courses in Archaeology, and this time I got lucky. I found a course that looked extremely interesting, and what’s more, didn’t require any face-to-face attendance whatsoever. What’s more, though it is offered by Leicester University in the UK (Indian Universities are not yet so sophisticated), it didn’t require any of the complicated paperwork like personal statement, letters of reference, TOEFL and all those other deterrents that foreign universities usually require. It is so self paced that you can complete six modules (each of three months’ duration) over a period of five years, and still be eligible for a Certificate; or you can go on to the next level and earn a Diploma. First and Second Levels (that is, Certificate and Diploma courses) are equivalent to first and second year of the undergraduate course, so if you want, you can actually join the final year in college and get a degree. Sounds perfect, and of the modules on offer at the entry level, there are six that look exactly tailor-made to my areas of interest.

Of course, it is expensive… but nothing compared to what going abroad to study costs. So today, I went and began the process of getting a draft to make the first payment. It looks like being an exciting journey. I can hardly wait to get started!

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