By Taylor Bowden
Kathleen and Taylor excavating.
When I initially chose anthropology as my major, archaeology wasn’t anywhere on my radar. Forensic anthropology was what I wanted to do, and what I still want to do; however I have a whole new appreciation for archaeologists and all that they do. I heard about this field school when Dr. Ahlman came to speak to my Intro to Archaeology class and his passion for his work piqued my interest. I had been looking for a way to study abroad and still gain the experience that many people in our field rarely just happen upon and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me. I signed up immediately and found myself in June on a plane to St. Kitts. Stepping out of the plane with the 4 strangers who were my classmates, I had no idea what would be in store for us. Continue reading
By Todd Ahlman
Students and locals during the previous St. Kitt’s Island Field School
The topic of this week’s PAST Posts seems like a no-brainer, but more and more I see and hear from my colleagues that students are not taking archaeological field schools and are finishing their undergraduate and graduate studies without the essential training necessary for an archaeological career. In this post I will talk about my field school experiences and wrap up with a discussion of what experiences people should look for when taking a field school. Continue reading
Guest post by Clark Wernecke
Members of the Texas Archaeological Society during a 2000 field school at the Gault Site.
As an archaeologist one of my primary duties is to uncover information regarding human behavior in the past and to pass on usable information to my colleagues and the general public. If I excavate the rest of my life and fail to do this then I have wasted my life – it’s that simple. Archaeology is not about filling in museum cases or rewriting history texts, it is about expanding our knowledge of how humans behaved in the past to improve our understanding of behavior in the present and predict it in the future.
I have been particularly lucky in my career to have worked on many different types of archaeology throughout the world and, on occasion, I have worked with archaeologists who viewed the public as a distraction at best and nuisance at worst. A few years ago I was at a seminar where a panel of archaeologists discussed one national volunteer program as a bunch of “old, retired folks” who were nice enough but took up their time. I also had worked with this group and, when asked my opinion, I noted that those “old folks” were retired engineers, architects, doctors, surveyors and even anthropologists and they have the time to spend volunteering on your projects!
In addition to providing access to the archaeology we conduct through public participation, our PAST Program aims to encourage community members to be stewards of their local archaeological resources. There are many factors that put archaeological sites at risk, some obvious and some not. This post addresses a few of the destructive acts that harm archaeological sites, provides information about archaeology laws, and suggests ways we all can help to protect and preserve our irreplaceable archaeological resources.