Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Student Alyssa Reynolds at New Harmony, IN

“You’ve got to go dig those holes."
-“Dig it” D-Tent Boys

Having never been on an archaeological dig before, I have to admit I was a little worried. Will I get along with the other students? Since I’m not experienced in field methods, will the professor cast me off to the side? Those were just a few questions racing through my mind. However, after participating in the USI field school from May 9th – June 8th at New Harmony, IN, all of my doubts were erased.

Alyssa with a Harmonist red ware cup.
The focus of the 2012 field season of USI’s excavations at New Harmony was Christoph Weber’s pottery kiln. Previous field schools had uncovered the firebox for the kiln, but we were hoping to expand further on this feature. Much to director Dr. Michael Strezewski’s surprise, the kiln was larger than he had anticipated. Not a big surprise - considering this is archaeology. One of the most interesting artifacts discovered was a Harmonist redware cup. My digging partner and I were so excited when we pulled this out of the ground! Other artifacts unearthed included Harmonist pottery shards, rotary scissors, and kiln furniture. While expanding the kiln feature, the remnants of a church wall built after the Harmonist period and a brick floor from the Harmonist period were also discovered.

The amount of knowledge which I obtained from the field school was immense. I learned how to draw maps, measure, document, and dig using correct excavation methods, all while having a lot of fun. Making new friends was easier than I thought. Being in a hole with somebody for an extended period of time makes you get to know that person rather quickly. I will never forget this experience and all of the people I met. We all had such a good time together. Filling in the holes on the last day was a bittersweet experience for all of us. We reminisced about our five weeks together in the hot sun digging holes and discovering the past. We laughed, hugged, and vowed to do it all again if possible. I thank them for making my first field school unforgettable and reaffirming my career choice – archaeologist.

Alyssa in a trench at New Harmony.

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