The Krampus Fairy

There are many reasons to be a good archaeologist. The preservation of heritage sites is a noble endeavour, because it allows everyone (including everyone in the future) to access our shared history. The meticulous attention to detail when excavating and recording archaeological sites is to be admired, as it creates a lasting resource for future research. The enthusiasm when interpreting the past is laudable, especially when it is done in cooperation with the public, helping them to get excited about archaeology. But there is one main reason to be a good archaeologist – because if you’re a bad archaeologist, then Krampus will come for you.

Oh. You’ve never heard of Krampus? Well, let me explain. Krampus is a beast-like creature, originally from Alpine countries. Generally demonic in appearance, covered in dark hair. With the horns of a goat and a pointed tongue that lolls of out its mouth. A least one foot is cloven, often the other is human-like, but with great pointed claws. It thrashes chains about, covered in bells (scary bells, not jingle bells). Sometimes there is a branch too. It is often seen carrying a sack. But not filled with prezzies! Oh no.


It is said that Krampus punishes children during the Yule season who have misbehaved, sort of like a Bizzaro-world Saint Nicholas. Since we’re all children at heart, doesn’t that mean the Krampus will be on the look-out for ANYONE on the ‘naughty list’. And wait… isn’t it the Yule season now? Why, yes it is. I guess that means it’s time for a Christmas-Krampus round-up of the bad archaeology of 2013. Will you be safe this year?

Ausgrid, you mistakenly approved the destruction of indigenous rock engraving on Sydney, Australia’s northern beaches. For this, Krampus will purposefully shout horrible things to you, then you will thrown into its sack and carried to its lair. In addition, you will be joined by the judiciary of the Land and Environment Court, who saw fit to only serve you with a minuscule fine.

To the person who flattened a stretch of Offa’s Dyke. You may have claimed to not know what you were doing… but Krampus knows the truth. For this, you will be threatened with chains and bells, thrown into its sack, and then carried away to its lair.

OM Manganese, for the wanton destruction of Two Women Sitting Down, at Bootu Creek, in Australia. There may have been a fine already, but for this Krampus is also going to swat you with its birch branch… repeatedly. You will then be thrown into its sack and carried away to its lair.

All developers who destroy sites, much like those that secretly demolished an ancient temple in the Bujang Valley, Malaysia for houses… AND the Merbok land office who gave you ‘permission’. Yeah, the Krampus is definitely coming for you. Perhaps you’ll be thrown into the water in its lair, after you are carried there in its sack.

Does your work feature in the ‘Who Needs an Osteologist?‘ series? If you’ve answered yes, then Krampus is coming for you! Perhaps you won’t be carried away in its sack and taken to its lair though. I suspect you might just get shouted at a lot, be threatened with chains and scary bells, and perhaps swatted with a birch branch a few times. Stop it. Seriously. Qualified osteologists exist for a reason. Hire us. Stop confusing people.

You. Yes you, the horrible construction company who destroyed an ancient pyramid at the Nohmul complex in northern Belize and then used it for gravel. You know what you did… because it was a giant pyramid that totally looked like a pyramid. Krampus knows all, but even if it didn’t you were all over the news, so it would know that you deserve to get thrown in its sack, and taken to its lair in a hell-like world, where pools of black water, endless fire, and proper ruten bundles (for swatting, not for pretty decoration) await you all.

Certain individuals involved with programmes such as Ancient Aliens and any ‘Digger’-type shows could be singled out, but what would be the point? STOP MAKING NEW SERIES OF THESE SHOWS! Everyone involved with these shows is at fault and therefore at inevitable risk from Krampus. Because of their ability to influence such a wide-reaching audience and their apparent disregard for good practice, the Krampus will produce its rarely seen washtub, instead of sack, which it will use to transport you to its lair, where it may eat some of you.

To any individual who is taking advantage of war or conflict in order to loot heritage sites. The Krampus knows and the Krampus isn’t happy. Sack. Lair. Torment.

If you are responsible for anything on this list (it doesn’t matter that it goes back beyond 2013, Krampus has a long memory) then I’m not at all sorry that you’ve made an, unfortunately not exclusive, naughty list. There will be no Saint Nicolas for you. There will be only Krampus. You’ve ruined people’s lives – including people who haven’t yet been born. I imagine that sack is getting pretty uncomfortable by now. But I hope your thoughts are just as uncomfortable, as the Krampus carries you on the long road to its lair. Shame on you all.

Off the back of budget-cuts, the phenomenon of #freearchaeology came to light. Are you one of the people mentioned in the records above? If so, you’ve helped to establish FreeArchaeology in our heritage community. Stop it. Do you or your company/organisation/institution take advantage of FreeArchaeology? If so, you are helping to perpetuate FreeArchaeology in our heritage community. Stop it. If you hire someone to do work for you, there is no way (NO WAY) that you can justify not paying them. But you don’t have any money, you say? If you can justify the work needing to be done, then you can justify having to pay the people doing it – find some damn money or the work doesn’t get done. Take a stand. There are others who will get on board. But for now, take this message to heart: if you use FreeArchaeology, then the Krampus is going to pay you a free visit – and it’s going to make you pay.*

Of course, there is one tiny reference, in the many tales about Krampus that says sometimes… if someone has been exceptionally good, it will reward them. How special, they must be, I think you will all agree. This year, there is a group of individuals who I believe will be among those rarest of the rare. The Rising Star expedition team, for your remarkable mission deep into the earth – and sent around the world though the air – may Krampus be ever kind to you all this year!

Merry Christmas everyone.


*Added in update.

Want to add someone to the list of people for Krampus to visit, for bad deeds done in archaeology this past year? Then just get in touch with a link to the information!

Want to add someone to the list of people for Krampus to visit, but for bad deeds done outside of archaeology? You can either copy this blogpost idea for your own blog – or just get in touch with a link to the information and I’ll expand this blogpost to include non-archaeologists!

9 responses to “The Krampus Fairy

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  4. Can Krampus make some sack room for excavators that quote on excavations of sites with no conservation budget? Special treatment if the site is waterlogged or Roman or in any other way obviously going to be rich in finds.

  5. Pingback: #BlogArch December 2013: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly | Field of Work·

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