Student Blog — Revitalized & Excited

Caleb shares some of the road that led him to joining the field school this season. — Kate

Oh man, where do I begin to explain the time I had with this field school. I suppose to get a proper grasp on my feelings I’ll need to explain some contextual information about my situation prior to the field school. To say I have had quite the academic journey thus far would be an understatement. In adopting the old adage and envisioning the journey like a rollercoaster, since my first year, there have been a plethora of ups, downs, climbs, falls, loops and inversions, with the climb to the first drop being the year 2019.

I am thankful for the fact that my first year took place during the final year before Peterborough was affected by the Covid pandemic. Having one year of normal university, I feel was critical in consolidating my dedication to archaeology as my program. I fear without it I might have given up in face of the trials and tribulations that was online schooling. Indeed, as I’m sure most will agree, learning such a physical discipline via online means is not optimum. So much so, that there was a time at the end of my second year, during the height of the pandemic that my academic conviction nearly crumbled. It was only the prospect of hybrid learning and the partial return to the classroom in my third year which kept me going.

While my third year was certainly an improvement in terms of hands-on learning, I did find that socially connecting to my peers was difficult. This was probably due to the fact that we were all still essentially strangers to each other, previously only having one proper year to meet in person prior to sharing third year classrooms.

Fortunately, the end of my third year also marked the end of my lowest time at university. In fourth year I began to make connections with professors, explore more in depth material on archaeology, and find kinship with my peers. And capping off this triumphant climb on the Trent academic coaster was my participation in the 2023 Ontario field school. Indeed, in many ways it was everything I could have asked for from a field school.

From the faculty running as supervisors, to the plethora of bright faces who arrived everyday and traded their masks for high viz vests and shovels, I could not have asked for better company on site. In addition to all of this, I was excited to share the field with fellow indigenous band members, who share an interest in cultural material, as indigenous led archaeology is the path I’ve decided to tread this was a wonderful sight to see.

To be entirely honest, I have to revert to the nit-picking method of analysis to even find fault with the field school. The one issue I can think of is that it was quite short. Maybe it just came down to my perception of time or the factor that physical work makes time fly, but I felt that we only began to scratch the surface of the potential inherent to the field opportunity. Maybe in the future, a lab aspect can be incorporated either in betwixt time on site, to pad out the duration of the course.

All in all I am more than happy with my time this month, I’ve gained experience on the extracurricular skills used on site, like grid mapping, documentation, and feature planning. I’ve gained some great friendships as well, which is more than I could ever ask for.

–Caleb Johnson

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