SMASH Week 5 Update: Our favorite (and not-so favorite) things about field school

As the field season approaches it’s close, we look back at what we loved, and what we could have done without. We both wholeheartedly agree that finding artifacts and bone is a great experience, and gives off an “adrenaline rush.” Digging is the main aspect of the aforementioned “rush.” But, being precise and methodical while digging is key. After we dig, we wash and analyze the artifacts so we can get a clear picture of what we found, and the implications of those finds.  However, attention to detail is necessary, meaning that every sherd, from small to large, needs to be washed, weighed, and analyzed, which can be a little tedious at times.


Students and instructors working in the 2017 excavation block


Students and instructors in washing artifacts in the field lab


One of our favorite things outside of the field is the lack of internet and social media. Even though we don’t spend every waking minute on social media, it’s nice to be off the grid for a while, and focus on the dig.  Even though we don’t have internet, the group as a whole is still entertained during down time, as we have an extensive board game collection which we use nightly.

As we are in southern Georgia during the summer, we experience humidity and bugs at higher rates than we normally would. We haven’t had too many days that have been extremely hot (90 F +), but humidity can always be counted on to make the day seem hotter than it is. The bugs take their time waking up in the morning, so we usually don’t have problems until the afternoon, but when they hit, they hit hard.

This has been an experience we will never forget. There are some amazing instructors with us, and the other students are great classmates, in and out of the field. With this week being our last in the field, and only one week in the lab left, there’s not too much time left before we go back into the real world.

– Mara J. Holandez and Flynn Vogt



About Dr. Jennifer Birch

I am an archaeologist who specializes in the Archaeology of Eastern North America. Conceptually, my interests are underpinned by the desire to understand how the lived experiences of individuals and communities articulates with long-term, large-scale processes of social and cultural change. My current research is concerned with the development of organizational complexity and diversity in eastern North America. Ongoing projects in Northeastern North America include: - Geophysical investigations of Late Precontact Iroquoian Villages - Regional synthesis of data on Iroquoian settlement patterns, including intra-site patterns, interregional interaction, and geopolitical realignment Ongoing projects in Southeastern North America include: - Multi-scalar investigations of the Late Woodland to Mississippian transition in the Deep South - Household and community archaeology at the Singer-Moye site
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