RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – In 2011, millions of new Twitter accounts were made.
One of those was @Archaeo_Guy.
Another was @Archaeo_Girl.
The owners of the accounts didn’t know each other. At least, not yet.
“For me, it was a play on my name and what I do, so it’s not just Archaeo_Guy, it’s Archaeo_Guy (Gee),” said Dr. Guy Duke, an assistant professor of anthropology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
That same year, he met Sarah Rowe, now-Dr. Sarah Rowe, now an assistant professor of anthropology at UTRGV. She organized a conference session he attended.
“We didn’t talk much that first time,” Archaeo_Guy said. “I gave my paper and that was about it. We communicated the next couple of months online and that sort of thing.”
But the online communication didn’t include Twitter. Duke said he wasn’t very active on the social network. Neither was Rowe, at the time.
“I really didn’t start using it until almost a year after setting it up,” Rowe said of her Twitter handle.
So, the two didn’t know that Twitter’s @Archaeo_Guy had met @Archaeo_Girl.
Rowe and Duke met in person again at another conference and, as Duke put it, “decided there was more to that.” After they started dating, they learned about their similar Twitter handles.
“We were like, ‘Oh, look at that coincidence,’” Rowe said.
@Archaeo_Guy and @Archaeo_Girl got married the year after they met, and started working together at UTRGV in 2015.
“We sometimes refer to it as ‘the academic unicorn,’ because it’s so rare but so wonderful,” Rowe said. “Our department has a really supportive, family-friendly culture. As for doing our research together, since archaeological research takes us on months-long trips, it’s the only way we’d be able to see each other during the summer months.”
Some of the work they’ve done together includes an archaeological field school in Ecuador, which they’ll lead again this summer.
Meanwhile, (though not active) their Twitter username family now includes @Archaeo_Baby, @Archaeo_Kid and @Archaeo_Kids.