“Soiled” – Punk Rock, Archaeology, and the Munsell Soil Color Book

by Pantone

Article by Andrew Reinhard

I’m an archaeologist, and I’m a musician.

In 2012, my friend and colleague Bill Caraher, an archaeologistat the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, was putting together an “unconference” on “Punk Archaeology” to be held in Fargo in February. Punk Archaeology embraces the do-it-yourself attitude of Punk, merging it with new ways of thinking about archaeology along with conducting the archaeology of places affiliated with punk starting in the mid- to late-1960s.


The “unconference” was held over the course of four hours in a bar because experience has shown us that archaeologists do some of their best thinking on stools, plied with suds, surrounded by colleagues in a setting far outside of the Ivory Tower. Because we would be in a bar, and because we were dealing with all things Punk and archaeological, Bill organized a few Punk bands to play in between archaeological talks, and he asked me to write some music to play at the event.


I spent the next three months spending late nights in my basement studio writing and recording 17 Punk songs, 44 minutes of music, about all things archaeology. At the top of my list: the Munsell Soil Book. I’ve used the Munsell Soil Chart in my work for not only reading soil color, but also for quantifiably describing the color of the clays used to make the vast amounts of pottery sherds discovered on excavation.


The song wrote itself. Actually, once I had the idea to write the tune, “Soiled”, about the Munsell Soil Book, I borrowed my office copy, took it home, and lifted the lyrics directly from the pages. Here’s a sample: soundcloud.com/charinos/soiled


The article was adapted from Munsell Color. Read the full article – and more like it – at http://munsell.com.