Posted by: signalhillarchaeology | August 11, 2009

Final Thoughts from Susan…

As I’m preparing a series of excavation wrap-up posts, here’s a post from Susan, about what she’s learned from the Memorial University Archaeology Field School. Thanks Susan (your post buys me another day to finish up mine!!– Amanda)

So what have I learned?? Well….

Ok, the field school is over, so what now?  For the last six weeks we have been face and eyes into a trench, literally. Now the great field school is over and we are given a pat on the back, a good grade…(please, please, please) and sent on our way. But what have we learned about ourselves, our site and our desire to be archaeologists?

Teamwork, Field School style...

Rocking the field photograph on a slant-y ladder-- that's teamwork, field-school-style...

Well, I can only speak for myself. I have learned so much and am on such a high that I dread for Monday to come. What will I do without the daily treck up
Signal Hill with my 60lb back pack?  (that by the way Amanda never checked to see if we had all the tools we would need. I really was afraid she would!!! I’m
sure she was keeping track with her third eye). [Amanda notes–Susan: search your bags?!? what am I,  the CIA?!?].

What will I do without the constant looking-over-the-shoulder by Stéphane to make sure our maps were done correctly, or the bruises, or the flybites and the discovery of beautiful artifacts?  I’m going to be very sad, that’s what. One thing I am going to do and that is trying to get down on paper all the mistakes I’ve made and what I have learned. Ok, Ok, so it’s going to be a novel, but just so you know I screwed up many times and that’s when I learned the most.

I have learned that precise measuring and actually measuring from the correct line (sorry Stéphane) is VERY important. Future archaeologists will thank you for doing that part correctly. I have also learned that after a while you learn to love the beautiful different colors of the soil, as that makes them easier to draw later (Lot 8,9,11 and 12 giving you nightmares as well Andrew?). I have also learned that one can never spend too much time at the sifter….and that finding bedrock after spending hours upside down in a trench is a beautiful thing!

The Memorial University Archaeology Field School at Signal Hill National Historic Site: You won't find a classroom with a better view than this...

The Memorial University Archaeology Field School at Signal Hill National Historic Site: You won't find a classroom with a better view than this...

All joking aside, this field school is a most valuable tool for the Instructor I’m sure. As a student I didn’t fall asleep once [Amanda notes: thank you for that…], stayed wide eyed and fully engaged during every lecture. And as I’ve said already, I have learned so much I don’t know where to start that novel I mentioned above. Oh wait, yes I do: it will start with…  “Amanda, help!!  Stephane, is this a bone?  Danielle, does this artifact need special treatment? and Jen, what’s that”?

And to M.U.N. and Parks Canada I say thank you for I can not adequately express how valuable this learning experience has been. I hope that even greater resources can be acquired and arranged in the future to allow for longer field seasons… Newfoundland and Labrador is the greatest place to learn both in the classroom and outdoors.

—Susan Penney (student)

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