For years, the signs which indicate parking lots and dot the Texas A&M campus have confounded students and faculty alike. Recently, however, TAMU’s team of renowned archaeologists may have cracked the prehistoric code behind their symbolism.
Most students are familiar with these ancient monoliths. Each sign prominently displays one, two, or—in some rare cases—three Arabic numerals. Though relics of a bygone era (which some historical texts refer to as “The Time of Plentiful Parking Bounty”), it has been well-established that these numbers indicate the parking lot’s number. Studies have yet to confirm why each lot was “assigned” a completely irrelevant number.
All of these facts, however, have been studied and discussed extensively. The true breakthrough lies in the signs’ other symbols, claims project lead Dr. Ted Goebel. “It’s no surprise that these… structures… tell us where to park. What is surprising, though, is that they also explain how,” said Goebel. Indeed, it appears that the artwork above the lot numbers actually indicates facts such as where game day parking is, or which lots are free after 5 p.m.
After last semester’s success with the expedition into the depths of Blocker, Dr. Goebel’s team was assigned to study these parking signs. In the process of travelling from lot to lot, the archaeology crew faced two cases of heat exhaustion, a bike accident, and over a dozen parking tickets. The crew’s biggest obstructions, though, were the traffic gates and pedestrian crowds on campus. The caravan was often forced to wait until nightfall to maneuver to the deeply interior lots such as Beutel and Lot 6.
“The prehistoric lot nomads wrote down a set of laws to guide their parking on these signs,” said Goebel. “Because each tribe had a different set of symbols, eventually they all lost meaning, and parking information was passed down by oral tradition. Today, people only know where to park because they heard it from somewhere else. The actual information died out long ago.”
Though there is still much to learn about these parking signs, Goebel is confident in his discoveries. “I pay to park in Koldus anyway; those signs are way outdated.”
—Bacon & Ags