Week 1: Part 1
For the students taking the field methods course this year, the first week is all about instruction. Admittedly, this can be a difficult time for those of us who’ve waited all winter to get back out in the field and start mucking about the site. But its essential that the student’s are not simply worker bees doing the bidding of instructors and PhD students looking for dissertation material. The point of the field methods course is to teach practical skills as well as those tools necessary for being able to take field data and make something wholly new out of it.
On Monday, students were given an introduction to the course by Dr. Tim Scarlett (what’s expected of them, what they should expect to learn and experience week to week, etc.) followed by a brief (well, 2 hour) lecture on the history of the Cliff Mine and last year’s fieldwork by me, Sean Gohman. In the afternoon we began first aid training taught by Michigan Tech housing director and EMT Travis Pierce. We were all certified in CPR and learned how to deal with all manner of injuries and ailments that could occur while out in the field.
On Tuesday, Dr. Scarlett gave a lecture on the history of archaeological studies and how it arose out of other sciences like geology, history and even the work of Charles Darwin. The central idea the students were to take away from this lecture was how archaeology uses context (where things are found in relation to others) to build a story of change over time. In the afternoon we finally made it out to Cliff to take a tour of the site so the students could have an idea of what they were getting themselves into.
Wednesday and Thursday were a mix of classroom lecture and in-the-field training. But that’s for tomorrow.