A Pictorial Armchair Guide to Archaeological Research

One present-day popular way of spending a relaxing, mystical hour is in front of a TV set, watching a cultural programme of some archaeological excavation, preferably from some far-off region. The customary props: a sunset with palm trees, a panama hat with magical qualities on the nape of the archaeologist meditating in the purple dusk, while in the distance, humming the work songs appropriate to the time, the local workforce remove the waste soil in baskets upon their heads.
I know that at times like this the faded childhood dreams of the reader come to life again, and he imagines himself once again in the gloaming, in the midst of solving the riddle of some old, faded parchment, in the half-dusk of a windswept tent, while some softly gleaming, freshly unearthed gold statuettes stare at him in sympathy.
Now, before you should change your way of life, dismissing the friendly advice of your doctor and purchasing a metal detector and a panama hat, and last but not least craving for sponsors, take into considerations a contrary word of advice or two.
Maybe the most satisfactory solution for you would be archaeological excavation from your armchair, followed, after successful discovery, by long analytical wool-gathering in your own home. The recipe is quite simple, as travel can be carried out splendidly by thumbing through a timetable. I shan't alight at Tapolca, for it lacks a station cafe. But where on earth will I find a decent cafe?
And so, trudging back to our archaeological research, before doing anything else spread out a few old photographs. You can take out old, brown portraits from the darkened wooden box containing the family's past, in which were originally held prunes from Karlsbad. Experience tells me that the most satisfactory are those strange, torn pictures discovered in the flea market. Alongside these can be purchased in the street market a number of shabby articles of unknown origin and function (it is vital to have no knowledge of their one-time role, but they should appear exceedingly old). Here one must be careful, for occasionally the trader will voluntarily enlighten one on the object's origin, which for us makes the article useless; more precisely 'it loses its magic'.
Now we have at our disposal a basic 'brainstorming kit' of satisfactory quality. Thus prepared we can embark successfully on excavations both at home and abroad. Our photos we can shuffle as if they were tarot cards, summoning forth everything from the unfortunate safari adventure to the tragic-fated scorpion sting, not to mention the archaeologists' pathetic biographies and the ever more peculiar finds (Dracula's tomb or whatever else). Ideas sometimes strike us, while we defend ourselves ineffectively...
Following this, with delicate hand movements, we place the object of unknown origin next to the word processor (or typewriter). Dusk, or a rainy morning, or any time of day will do. Should we not wish to put the experience to paper, then it is time for the armchair, and you can make your preparations fo5r the journey and the excavation. Sit yourself down comfortably, and hopefully your journey will not be accompanied by ominous midnight shadows.