The trust-but-verify ancient history crowd was devastated last month by the passing of indefatigable YouTube science communicator Charles Appleton. I took it hard like many. But I feel particularly sorry upon his death, and a bit guilty.
Not long before Chuck died, I responded to a tweet from LasVegApps with this:
WTF?! Have you run out of mysteries or something? Good god man this is a lifelong calling — not a game! Now go hit three buckets of balls, clear your head, and get back to your purpose in life.
— George Howard (@CosmicTusk) September 16, 2021
Dammit I wish I had said something different. Chuck had created almost 3000 YouTube videos when he sent his tweet. I wish I had responded, “Take a long break @alittlepervy. Consider never mentioning the subject again because you are working too hard, it is frustrating, and could give a guy our age a heart attack!” Sigh.
Here is me and Chuck a few days after he called me to do a podcast (not his format) about Tall el-Hammam (not his subject) seven months ago. What a guy.
CFapps7865 was a VERY popular figure — and willing to divert from his lane to let the Tusk ramble about an obscure archaeological site in Jordan. Just weeks later, and immediately prior to Chuck’s passing, the Tall el-Hammam paper became arguably the most read science paper on earth.
Chuck did more to communicate the importance, mystery and hard science of ancient American “Mounds” than anyone in US history. In other words, clutch your goatees, professors…but this is true…an uncredentialed hockey jock, avid golfer, rock fan and life loving resident of Las Vegas…did more from his laptop and apartment to educate us on Ancient America than any effort you can name.
Tusk buddy Rob Heatherly has established a Go Fund Me for his fans. Chuck should have had more insurance, but at least he paid us all a lot.