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The long (very long) view of history

There are two kinds of historians, Brian Fagan explained in a recent interview with The Long Now Foundation: parachutists and truffle hunters.

Parachutists command an overview of the landscape, while truffle hunters dig deeply to uncover marvelous treasures. Fagan is a parachutist.

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And in the world of archaeology, he is also a controversial figure.

His belief that archaeology should confine itself to material facts has angered some others who feel Fagan’s method dodges more interesting fields of inquiry unlocked by less traditional archaeologists.