Here is a nice piece from Josh sharing some of his thoughts and experiences about the field school. — Kate
My experience with archaeological field school has been one of the most incredible months of my life, and for good reason! Since I was just a little kid, I’ve dreamt about becoming an archaeologist, and with this field school, I finally got to live that dream and see firsthand what it entails. Even though I come from a long working background doing remote work in all environments and weather, the experiences I’ve had in this journey have been incredible, and honestly, I am a bit sad it is coming to an end.
I started field school with a hefty amount of archaeological theory in my back pocket, but no hands-on experience to speak of. On the first day, while doing a historical tour around campus, I bent down to tie my shoelace and ripped my pants pretty bad right down the middle! Needless to say, not a good start. On the other hand, right from the get-go I started making friends who were all interested in the same stuff I was. In addition to that, I found that I got to know some amazing people and had an great time just talking about whatever came to mind and getting into the flow of what can be a fairly strenuous manual labour job at times.
During this field school, my primary focus was the central unit, and as it turns out, the deepest on site at 65cm in depth. I got to work with an incredible guy named Sebastian, and together we became fast friends and became equally attached to our unit as it sat right on top of a section of the stone feature that characterised the site. From laying down spikes to mark the corners of our unit, to actually doing the work of shovelling through topsoil and screening, and finally reaching the stone feature was all an interesting and thought-provoking experience. By the end, we even got to dismantle a small section of our feature, and see inside of it, which was a bit of a mind-boggling experience, as Sebastian pointed out that we were the first to see into this stonework for over 150 years.
Additionally, I was able to test my skills in various other ways, from making a separate 1x1m unit, to helping to clear an old well, to simply enjoying the beautiful days outdoors. These are the kind of experiences that I personally will never forget, and having James, Kate, Dan, and Michael as our supervisors was so much fun. It was nice to joke around with them and be able to ask questions regarding archaeology in a very practical way which has helped me gain a clearer understanding of the state of Ontario archaeology more-so than any class I’ve been in so far.
Besides these incredible experiences, it has really driven home that this is exactly what I want to do, and while not every day will be easy or even enjoyable, the nature of the work resonates with me in a way nothing else has before. I can’t wait to further my academic career, and eventually my working career in a field that so far has brought me so much joy. And if the people along the way are even half as fun as this group, I know it’s going to be an amazing journey.