|Megan works on her SCUBA skills.|
Down at Texas A&M, I've spent almost a year climbing up the steep learning curve that the Nautical Archaeology Program (NAP) throws at its first-year students. Having not taken time off between undergraduate and graduate studies, I am one of the young students in the department. However, with the solid preparation I received through the archaeology program at Evansville and my previous underwater excavation experience, I haven't felt unprepared for the challenge. So far I have learned how to draft ship lines and construction drawings (and in the course of doing so I learned that 68 hours without sleep is about the limit a person can go); how to prepare and give thirty-minute presentations on a weekly basis; and that a twenty-page paper is "a bit short." I've also spent quite a bit of time working at the Conservation Research Lab, helping to record barrel staves and other interesting bits recovered from shipwrecks. The NAP has a very strong emphasis on hands-on learning, and this semester I am enrolled in a scientific diving course in order to gain familiarity with all of the equipment and techniques used in underwater excavations and become a better diver in general. This summer I will be participating in the Burgaz Harbors Project in Turkey run by Dr. Elizabeth Greene in collaboration with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA). Information on this and other INA projects can be found at inadiscover.com.