GENERAL PITT RIVERS - RESPECT THE CHOPS
With the noteworthy exception of that one eyed flute on Time Team with the 'eww-arrh!' accent the wearing of sideburns has been sadly absent from world archaeology since the 19th Century.
It was no less a man than General Pitt Rivers (formerly Lane Fox) who introduced the three age system for sideburns (or chops as he so delightfully termed them.) Indeed, having spent a lifetime shielded beneath a set of these flossy pseudo-pubic accoutrements he was probably the most well equipped man to develop the typology.
As a child the young Lane Fox showed a healthy crop of facial hair. This early form of sideburns he came to term 'lamb chops.'
I remember well frolicking with him on the butcher's spoil heap and him saying 'My Mummy tells me not to play with common children like you.' This verbal emission caused me to slip on a rancid liver and slide to the bottom of the heap. 'She says,' he continued, without missing a beat, 'your sort are only papist scum.'
But I recovered well by catching him across the nose with a bloated cow's stomach - and oh how we chortled!
Ah such innocent days! Where have they gone?
By the time Lane Fox was serving as quartermaster with the British army in Co. Cork. His lamb chops had grown to a fulsome, quite cheeky, indeed one might venture, luxuriant set of hairy winged wonders. This more developed phase he termed 'hogget chops.' I remember him wandering into my family hovel (conveniently located under twenty feet of bog) steaming drunk, waving a pistol and calling my gentle father a 'Fenian Bastard,' before discharging his weapon in the poor old gent's ear.
Heavens above, our laughter was profuse (and very welcome in our impoverished state) as we were all drenched under a fountain of blood.
Ah for the glowing days of my youth!
Incidentally it was of course in Cork that Lane Fox began his illustrious career in archaeology by paying shovel-handed navvies thruppence a month to dig sideways through any suspicious looking carbuncle protruding from the fecund soil.
On inheriting his vast estates, Lane Fox faked his own death and changed his name to Pitt Rivers in the vain hope that his old friends would not send him begging letters. I, of course, was wise to the old mucker's game and bombarded him with shameless amounts of correspondence requesting macaroni.
He never replied - possibly because his facial hair had now grown into full blown Mutton Chops (his term not mine) and he was forced to use two loo rolls to help him see through the fleecy imbroglio of hair.
His mutton chops were really suited to his new role as a member of the aristocracy, displaying as they did the mutations so common among blue-bloods who think nothing of giving their sisters what-ho in hope of siring an heir. These mutton chops would have made a Hapsburg jaw drop to the floor with a clang of envy.
And that was the last I heard of dear sweet Lane Fox, wonderful old Foxy.
But I'm not bitter about him turning his back on me, not one bit.
The toffee nosed bastard.
And to finish, an apology to Phil Harding, for calling him a one eyed flute (rooty toot) - and here's a pair of sideburns you can don and alternate between saying 'eww ahhr,' and 'jollyhockeysticks.' They truly are versatile and delicious!