(June 25, 2018)—Heading into this field school, I had no idea the wide range of knowledge and experience I would gain that would in turn help me become a better student and hopefully a better archaeologist. The beginning of the field school was jam-packed with information; we listened to lectures and visited a wide array of archaeological sites in and around the Tucson area. From what I have learned from classes and personal imagination, I expected the sites to be freshly excavated and easy to see with the eye. In fact they were quite different. Instead of obvious buildings and other features, we visited sites that have been partially excavated and then backfilled and preserved, so that most of what could be seen with the eye were mounds and surface artifact scatters.
After visiting sites of this nature for three days, I realized how much more I could learn from going on these visits. No archaeological site will be perfect, and it will always be a challenge to uncover what might sometimes be so far from your expectations. A multitude of disturbances change the nature of the sites, including looting, animals, and natural phenomena. During each site visit, I could tell that I was becoming more keenly aware of artifact scatters and subtle features.
This skill set was tested and sharpened even more when I did survey with Max and Sam. Survey allowed me to build on the knowledge I had gained during our initial site visits, and to apply that knowledge to new, unknown areas. At first it was a struggle. I constantly picked up rocks that were simply rocks, thinking that they were flakes. Seeing tiny and subtle changes in the landscape tricked me, as well. I began to improve at distinguishing artifacts and features as we continued throughout the three days. The cherry on top of the knowledge I had acquired was finding a new site during survey. I did not really expect to find much, let alone record an archaeological site. Walking upon the masonry roomblock and noticing the slight difference in the environment as well as the artifacts surrounding it solidified that I had applied what I had learned so far. Seeing that I was understanding and practicing these archaeological skills was exciting, and it made me hungry for more.
Luckily, my curious mind is quite satisfied with this field school. We are provided with ample opportunity to have experiences like no other where we grow our knowledge and continuously connect to more experiences so that we can become better archaeologists overall. I am so grateful for my time here at the field school, and I would not trade these experiences for anything in the world.