A System Archaeologist is someone who has to look at relics of the past and determine why they are how they were. Were they useful? good? bad?
I've spent a lot of time looking at relics of the past and trying to determine:
- Was the person who wrote this lazy?
- Was the person who wrote this a fool?
- Was the person who write this good but who failed at documentation?
Just like a real archaeologist, a system/code archaeologist seeks to understand what something is - but more importantly why something is. It takes research and caution. When Dr. Jones replaced the fertility idol with his weighted bag he did something that too often System Administrators and Engineers are tasked to do - swap out one thing for another. While our risks are less perilous than the boulder-trap, for the companies and products we support - making the wrong decision due to lack of knowledge about the situation can still be very damaging.