Student Blog — Reflections on the Field School

Today’s student blog is by Brianne, and relates her reflections about her field school experience this year — Kate

With field school ending, and having procrastinated writing this blog post to the very last second I’ve decided to end with some observations and random thoughts I have encountered throughout the past month.

You Might Make a Good Archaeologist If:

-Gardening is a meditative pastime opposed to a chore

-You don’t hate washing dishes

Washing artifacts in the lab

– Puzzles are less frustrating than they are amusing, and you don’t give up halfway through and put the puzzle back in the box before it’s complete

The reconstructed spittoon

-You enjoy turning chaos into order and generally get satisfaction out of organizing things

Boxes of artifacts to be processed

– You like photography or keeping a detailed journal of your daily happenings

Photography station

-You enjoy drawing or sketching nature (aka rocks)

Raine drawing plans of the test unit

-Enduring various types of weather makes you feel connected with the earth (or in our case you just really, really like rain)

– You like yoga ( as I’ve come to learn, everyone refers to the many digging positions as “archaeology yoga”)

– You have an interest in cartography or map making

– You enjoy field trips and adventures/excursions to super cool places

Print shop in Lang Pioneer Village

General Store at Lang Pioneer Village

– Worms, slugs, grubs and ants while maybe not lovable, don’t fall under your category of fears

While the field of archaeology is realistically more complicated than this list may lead you to interpret, the point is that archaeology encompasses so many different interests and facets of life. Anywhere from osteology, forensic anthropology, or environmental archaeology, all the way to archaeoastronomy.

The versatility of archaeology is one of the things that makes it so great, especially for anyone with a lot of interests. A question I get a lot when I tell people that I’m studying archaeology is “what kind of job will you be able to do with that degree?” Or “are there any jobs in that field?” And I think one of the reasons for this is that people don’t realize archaeology isn’t restricted to digging a hole in the dirt. Archaeology is a very broad field with numerous specializations (and specializations within those specializations). In reality, digging is only one of many lengthy stages in an archaeology project. While this field school was a stage three excavation and did focus on the excavation/digging part of archaeology, it did open my eyes to all the work and preparation that needs to be done before getting to this stage as well as all the work still left to be done after artifacts have been recovered and catalogued.

Coming into this course I had zero field experience, making me extremely excited but also very nervous, because no one wants to find out halfway through their degree that they don’t like the program they’ve been studying. Looking back on the past month, I’m very happy as well as relieved to say that this field school has been one of the best experiences  I’ve had at Trent thus far. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to explore archaeology as a possible career path, especially if they are unsure like I was about how they would enjoy archaeology in practice. This small glimpse into the world of archaeology that the field school has given me makes me excited to see where the field of archaeology takes me next.

— Brianne Glaves

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