Issue 676/March 2003
Article 2: The Rise and Rise of the Raptors
Reporter: M. Giles
>The traditional archaeologist's image from the last century of the tweed jacketed, pipe-smoking university professor has been supplanted forever by a new breed of scavengers with the questionable title of raptors.
>They are the children of a new age. An age where increasing uncertainty accompanies the massive tectonic upheavals that since '98 have reshaped and redefined the world we live in and our perception of our place in history.
>The impact of these changes on the world of archaeology has been profound. The shifting of the land and the global reduction sea level has revealed many new archaeological sites. Amongst them are whole towns and cities from previously undiscovered human cultures, like the city of the Mabu people, long lost beneath the sea. (See Issue 594)
>Our knowledge of known civilizations is also being revolutionized. Only last year, the delta of the Nile revealed its deep secret of no less than twenty-three miles of secret, subterranean passageways connecting ten temples dedicated to Aten. (See Issue 475)
>These discoveries and the huge public interest they have engendered have had diverse effects on the purpose and the public image of archaeology. Funding and governmental grants have increased exponentially as has the interest among wealthy, private collectors and unscrupulous museums in acquiring these relics at almost any cost.
>The high price (and profit) of these antiquities has led to an explosion in archaeological thievery.
>Much of this opportunism has manifested in ham-fisted, clumsy operations reminiscent of ancient tomb robbers in terror of the mummy's curse. The higher bidders, however, are able to hire members of a new elite fraternity of professional 'plunderers': the raptors.
>Little is known of them as individuals. They are obviously highly trained both in the recognition of valuable artifacts and in dealing with the dangers inherent in exploring some of the locations they have plundered.
>They must also be men and women possessed of extreme wealth. They are able to equip themselves with the largest technology in both weaponry and portable information systems.
>It is known that each one of them has, by fair means or foul, acquired an example of the Stolland library HUD system. An abortive and extremely expensive military device that gives the user a hands-free penetrative scanning system backed up with no less than twelve gigabytes of library information.
>It is also clear that there is no love lost between any of them. Just a week ago, the corpse of one Ingrid Seindheim was discovered shot through the heart at the entryway to an ancient Mayan temple uncovered in an earthquake only the previous day.
>The gutter press has imbued these hi-tech opportunists with a persona of heroism and adventure. The exploits of these 'raptors' have been used to give a worried population something to occupy their mind: A strong image of survival and adaptability in troubled times.
>The word 'raptor' is Latin and means 'thief'. In the opinion of this journal at least, the world should not lose sight of that fact."
This page was last edited on 9 August 2016, at 16:23.
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