AIA: An Experience

 It is good to learn about archaeology and its principles in a classroom. On the other hand, it is better to use the learning when out in an archaeological field. This was what I have done in the Archaeology in Annapolis field school. During the last five weeks of the session, I have learned new practices in addition to understanding how archaeologists analyze their findings. It was a steady process in which it takes time and yet it was worth it. Of course there were a few troubling moments along the way, but they did not hinder me from comprehending the study. I will use this experience when I go into a professional field in the future.

As I have mentioned previously, the field school is a series of steps that takes time and patience. It does not take one day but rather weeks to collect significant data. It includes profiling a unit, taking measurements, analyzing the stratigraphy, and examining the artifacts. In general, it is all about recording the processes as they happen each day. This was the first thing I have learned when we arrived in Annapolis in the first week and were given field journals. The journals helped us in keeping track with was what happening in the units or lab. In addition with teaching us how to dig a unit, the staff first explained how to create a Shovel Test Pit, or STP. From my understanding, this step is a prerequisite to see if there is an abundance of artifacts within a certain location of interest.

What pleased me about the field school is that there are the instructors who were willing to assist the students such as answering their questions or aiding them in the units. It is understandable that we must do the work by ourselves as archaeologists, but it never hurts when there is extra assistance in scraping a soil level or identifying an object.They taught us various terms, practices, and methods throughout the seminar. For example, Ben, one of the staff, explained about surface collecting, in which we look on the ground for objects that were brought up from natural occasions like storms. Overall, it is good that there are people who would use their time to help others.

During the course of the session, there had been some setbacks that were troubling to us individually and socially. The weather, for instance, was changing variously depending on conditions from previous days. There were days when it was scorching hot which would then lead to heavy rain in the following hours. They were distracting because we would not have enough time to continue examining our units. However, we had ways of handling the weather, for instance having sunblock and a hat for those hot days or an umbrella or raincoat for the rain. During the third week in Annapolis, I had a problem when it came to measuring a profile. I was having difficulty trying to understand the instructions from which the instructor Beth was presenting to me. As an individual with a disability, it felt hard for not fully comprehending the directions when they looked easy. Nevertheless,it took a while until I finally understood what I needed to do.

Personally, I had good time practicing archaeology during this summer session. It gave me a glimpse of what needs to be done in collecting information through excavations and research. Before I participated this course, I understood most of the methodologies and principles from classes from UMD and Montgomery College. These courses were helpful as I continued in the field school. As I have previously stated, I have a disability which not only confuses my comprehension with reading, but also limits my interactions with other people. This field school has helped me to become more active with the classmates such as being open in their conversations. Lastly, I found it nice that the readings were minimal and they centered around a certain topic per week. For instance, there were selections over the issues of race, gender, and class in society . This experience has helped me learn in what it is to be an archaeologist.

I want to thank the Archaeology in Annapolis staff for giving me an opportunity to participate in this summer session.


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