By Deborah L. Huntley, Preservation Archaeologist
Our student Mac Mattingly discovers the reality of archaeological fieldwork:
So much has happened over the past week, it’s hard to know where to begin.
When I first heard about this field school, I had no idea what to expect. Maybe what I really envisioned was something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But this isn’t cracking a bullwhip and looking for lost treasure, this is real, hard-working archaeology.
The instructors here put you through intense field training. They talk you through everything. They take you through each step of the process very slowly, so that when you’re digging up an artifact you’ll know what it is—is it a piece of pottery or a rock that just happened to be mixed in with the broken pieces of pottery? All of the instructors here are very kind and understanding. They throw a ton of information at you on the first day, but if the students don’t really understand the material, the teachers make sure that everyone is on the same page before moving on.
Patience is important out here. We help each other along the way. If you’re looking to find the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail every single day, archaeology may not be for you just yet, but if you leave all of your preconceptions behind, come with an open mind, and a sense of adventure, you just might find what you’re looking for. (As for me, I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, but I’ll let you know when I do!)