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Edward Watkinson was, according to Bernice Summerfield, "one of the century's most noted archaeologists", and "a bit of a hero".

His name was attached to the Chair of Archaeology which Summerfield once held at St Oscar's University. His appetite for knowledge was voracious. Summerfield claimed that he'd published more than 10,000 papers in his lifetime, though about half those were written collaboratively. Nevertheless, he performed wholly original research into subjects as diverse as ethnomycology, folsom points and Lvan glass megaliths. Summerfield once wryly noted to her students that the fact he had four arms made her "suspect he could type two papers simultaneously", thus aiding his prolificacy.

He once spent a couple of years investigating the origins of human civilisation and became convinced that humans used grain initially to make beer not bread — a view expounded in Beer Before Bread? A Theory Revisited, a paper that was a set part of Summerfield's syllabi. Summerfield's academic output sometimes dealt with Watkinson's theories. Repetitive Poems of the Early Ikkaban Period, for instance, referenced Watkinson's earlier idea that the Ikkaba had immolated themselves because they expected reincarnation. (PROSE: Walking to Babylon)

Aside from Beer Before Bread, Watkinson was also known to have written Introduction to Quantum Esotericism with Gustous R Thripsted, (PROSE: Unnatural History) Cosmo, Ninshubur, K'tiansolnerilii: the Role of the Hero's Best Friend in the Literature of the Milky Way in 2537, (PROSE: Walking to Babylon) Glory Under the Mud in 2524 (PROSE: Walking to Babylon) Translate This, You Invading Bastard: Intersections Between Language and Archaeology in 2503 (PROSE: Walking to Babylon) and a "post-post-doctoral" thesis on the supposed importance of silence in Tidlangadlanga culture - though in fact he was simply unable to hear the pitch at which they spoke. (PROSE: Don't Do Something, Just Sit There)

Behind the scenes Edit

Technically, Unnatural History does not reveal that the "Watkinson" in question is Edward. However, as both books were at least partially written by Kate Orman, and Orman goes out of her way in Babylon to explain that Watkinson wrote many of his papers collaboratively, the reference is unlikely to indicate anyone else.

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