Hannah Zanotto, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student
After a week in the field, I am finally gaining the experience I have been searching for since my first archaeology lecture on my first day of college. Three weeks ago, I graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Anthropology. As an undergraduate, I spent countless hours poring over archaeological site reports and field notes and doing other kinds of archival research. Although these research projects were great experiences, I felt that there was still something vital missing in my pursuit of a life in archaeology. Until this week, I had never been able to take part in the process behind the data I have used in the classroom. When talking with my professors, I always ended up asking a question that elicited a long pause, followed by, “You really need to go in the field to fully understand.”
With all my professors’ words of encouragement and Archaeology Southwest’s support, I have finally begun a program that gives me a chance to see the full process of retrieving this important information, as well as to understand the data I have been analyzing during my on-campus research projects. For example, I have read about shell artifacts being recovered from contexts such as “fill” or “overburden,” and now I see what those terms actually mean. I have looked at adobe rooms on maps for months, and now I see them being built in experimental archaeology projects at our field camp, as well as being excavated at the Dinwiddie site.
Since this program began, we have visited museums and archaeological sites, learned how to excavate, and analyzed artifacts. Already, many topics that seemed remote in the classroom are much clearer to me. Being outside in New Mexico with all of these wonderful and curious students and staff has been a great learning experience already, and I cannot wait for what’s to come!