Thursday, February 7, 2008

Well, this turned out to be a bit of a bust!

So, one of the more pleasurable elements of life--if you want to call it that--at the University of Chicago is the annual Scavenger Hunt. It neatly combines the institution's unshakable nerdiness with its students' propensity to overachieve. And, yes, they really did build a breeder reactor one year and another year's list was dated per the Thermidors and Fructidors of the French Revolution. Over the years, the Institute was included from time to time, but I was disappointed at how rarely that was the case. I mean, a building containing dead bodies (human and otherwise) and representations of any number of deities, with the added element of mysterious scripts, should have merited more attention. HotSideHot, aka Scavenger Hunt judges of the future, repair the defect!

Having said that, I did slog through all these lists (since 1987) so I'll post what I came up with for Institute-related items, with commentary. I may have missed an item or two, and had to exercise some judgment, but I'm sure you'll enjoy every moment:

200. The humity (sic) and temperture (sic) the mummies are kept at in the Oriental Institute. (7 pts) (ed note--I guess the English Department took that year off)

5. A piece of papyrus. (5 pts)

100. Where is The Chicago House? (5 pts)
205. An animal weighing more than a ton. (450 pts)

22. A sextant. (20 pts) (ed note--does an astrolabe count?)

28. A conspiracy theory connecting Atlantis, the Bavarian Illuminati, crop circles, the Hope Diamond Curse, the Egyptian Pyramids and the University of Chicago. (5-13 pts)
40. Unpostable, but if you`re interested in cuneiform, go to the PDF at and look for number 40. (20 pts)

42. An anthropology professor wearing rags and holding a sign that reads "will excavate and catalogue ancient metropolis for food." (22 pts)
291. A poster from the "Pick and Shovel Society" with the word "archaeology" misspelled. (ate pointz)

75. A team member to have homage paid to Francois Gaudard's (a U of C Egyptologist) hair upon their head by duplicating his hairstyle exactly. (71 pts) (ed note--he is also a superb dancer and boogie-woogie pianist)
245. What is written on the spigot valve of the director's toilet in the Oriental Institute? (capitalization counts) (15 pts) (ed note--I vividly recall this one, and the parade of fresh-faced undergraduates who timidly approached the sanctum sanctorum. The commode in question actually met its demise a year or three later (it wasn't me, and I'm not telling!) I cannot speak to whether the spigot valve survived the repairs, because I wouldn't know a spigot valve if it jumped up and bit me in the... oh, never mind.

176. A U of C anthropology professor to dress as Indiana Jones with either a lost Sankara stone, the Cross of Coronado, or the Holy Grail. (15 pts, bonus for an archaeologist)
194. A jay-walking ticket from 58th and University. (25 pts)

292. The hat of Walter Kaegi. (35 pts) (ed note--Walter was also a high school classmate and pal of Hunter S. Thompson--a pretty good year for Louisville)

81. Genji 2 has shown us that the Oriental Institute lacks an exhibit on one of the famous battles that actually took place in Ancient Japan. Fix that. (29 pts)

I am also hoping to assemble a list of Institute Faculty who had taken part in the Latke-Hamantash Debate, at which I am sure they acquitted themselves admirably.

1 comment:

Charles Ellwood Jones said...

For 2007 see also
and for 2008 see the first item at: