Home Forums Introduce Yourself Erika

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  • #15840


    Hi all!  I'm not big on intros so I'll keep this brief.  My name is Erika and I'm from Kansas (no Dorothy jokes, please). I've been listening like mad to catch up on all the podcasts and haven't even started on the members only material, so any suggestions on where to start there would be appreciated!  I have a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology, emphasis in Archaeology, and English. I got my Master's in England, focusing on European Archaeology.  My interests lie in Iron Age Ireland and Britain. I've surveyed and dug in the US (Kansas, Catalina Island–CA, and Wisconsin) as well as in England at Dorchester and at Marcham/Frilford.  Sadly, I'm currently not doing anything related to archaeology, but I am hoping to head back for my PhD in a couple years.  As such, here I am brushing up to gain a more well-rounded perspective on British history so I have more context for that doctoral thesis I will eventually write. Jamie: Great Work!

  • #19046


    Welcome Erika!!I have been interested in archaelogy for a long time, forgive me if I spelt that wrong. But I'd be interested in learning how you go about getting into it and such. I currently go to school for a liberal arts/social science degree at a community college in my area, and am really really interested in history. I've always thought that it would be exciting to dig something up that hasn't been seen for hundreds or thousands of years and really am curious how to go about getting into archaelogy. I do a lot with genealogy as a hobby and for helping others find their ancestors right now as well. Please if you could let me know what may have to be done to get into archaelogy. Welcome to the forums again.Christina

  • #19047


    Hi Erika, welcome to the community!As you might have noticed from my many tangents, I am quite fascinated with Archaeology.  So needless to say, I'm rather jealous of you right now.  ;)Did you find anything interesting in your digs?

  • #19048


    Christina, I'm glad your interested in archaeology (I spell it the British way, but your American way was good too)! It tends to be a very small community so we always like new faces.  Archaeology is certainly fun, but it's also exhausting and sometimes mind-numbing.  The digging is rewarding, especially if you find something big.  It's also very methodical and back-breaking. You spend lots of time on your knees trowling and sifting through dirt. Sometimes you're removing less than a centimeter at a time and sometimes you're scooping out feet of dirt with a shovel.  If you want to see if its something for you I'd suggest you take an introductory archaeology class at your local community college or university. This will give you a good foundation and talk about the major must knows such as stratigraphy, various terminology, and give you a generalized background on major cultures and human evolution.  If you're still interested, take more courses. Archaeology in the US is a holistic discipline, so you'd study physical/biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistics.  I'm not too sure how undergraduate programs work abroad, unfortunately, though I imagine they are slightly different. After you take a couple classes go on a dig. I know here we have a local archaeology group full of enthusiasts, the curious and actual archaeologists from the university or surrounding areas.  They do an affordable dig that will get you some experience and let you gain some skills.  There are tons of other programs out there (check out the Archaeological Institute of America website) and you can find some cool areas to dig--for a price.  If you like your local archaeology enough I'd suggest sticking with that for your first dig because it will save you money and you'll learn the same skills.  I'm happy to give more advice if you like, I just don't want to overwhelm you all at once so I'll stop there!

  • #19049


    Jamie:Wanted to save you the humdrums of reading my how-to-become-an-archaeologist speech.Unfortunately, I seem to have the worst luck. I've never found anything myself that was cool, though I've been at various sites when people have.  At the Marcham/Frilford dig they found a crouched burial. That was non in the trench I excavated, but it was really interesting. Also on that dig they found a preserved, woven hand basket that they think is about 2000 years old. It was...probably the most amazing thing to see. Obviously organic items rarely survive even a fraction of that time so it was such a treat.  I have found the usual items at Roman occupied sites/levels in Britain: animal bone, pottery, coins (some of them no bigger that a fingernail).  I could wax poetic and how gross the Romans must have been. Imagine dragging a trowl through the dirt and litterally dozens of pieces of bone, pottery, etc. just popping up out of the must have been filthy.  If you're interested in some of the sites, you can find some preliminary documents about them on the Oxford Website under the School of Archaeology.  I was listening to your Wales Hillforts podcast today and it reminded me that a couple of the professors there had done a project titled the Vale and Ridgeway project that you might find interesting.  I've included the link below so you can review some of what they are or have been working on. Also, I think you should definitely go on a dig. England has some volunteer options if you don't want to do the whole scholastic exercise that is required for archaeology students. I think the listeners would like a first-hand account of your own experience. :)

  • #19050


    I have looked at the schools around where I do live, and they don't really have any archealogy programs, I did however do an anthropology course at the local community college, which I enjoyed, but it was hard. I know that is a bit different though lol. I really enjoyed the podcasts that Jamie did for the Staffordshire Hoard, not sure how it is spelled :) and I think digging is sort of in my blood, lol you should see our back garden. There is a huge hole my dad has been digging since I was a child and my brother and I too have helped, it is very deep now however so I don't go down in it anymore. We found some old rings in it, but figured they weren't from very far back. My ex came over from Wales a couple years ago and said how he was looking on the ground of his old barn there and then proceeded to show me some coins that we went to the local market and found were East India Trading Company coins, he wanted to sell but I told him to keep them. I am going to school at the moment for a commercial pilot degree but maybe after doing that I will look in the archealogy, I really enjoy searching for things from many years ago, and it was just exciting to find the old rings too, and I love history. If you can please feel free to inform me more about what archealogy consists of, and I agree that Jamie doing a dig and sharing his experience would be exciting to hear about too, and maybe a show about archealogy would help people understand it more as well.

  • #19051


    Christina,Try this link for fieldwork opportunities. Some of them might require experience so read carefully: have things all over the world.  I don't know where you live, but you might just try a web search for "archaeology societies in _______".  Many of them will have training opportunities. In the US, some of the state historical societies have digs as well.As far as education, get some more anthropology classes under your belt. They will help get your foot in the door and your professors may have archaeological contacts at other universities.

  • #19052


    Back when I was in college (quite some time ago!) I took a paleoanthropology class from Don Johanson (the guy who discovered Lucy).  I swear it was probably the most fascinating course I ever took, and at the time I was seriously tempted to change my major! (except that I was only a year away from graduation, and there really weren't any other courses in paleoanthropology being offered!)  I've never been on a dig, and I know archaeology is different from paleoanthropology (and I probably don't have the patience for either one), but it's always been one of those things I've thought about if things had been different…

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