Artifacts are not known to whisper their
secrets to you. I was really intrigued by the challenge of trying to make sense of artifacts. To try to pull the narrative out of dirt. Monticello-UVA Archaeological Field
School aims to teach students basics about archaeological field methods, that
is the mechanics of trying to take the ground apart in a controlled fashion and
also basic analytical methods so that we can put field observations together on
one hand with observations on artifacts on the other to try to tell a more
complete story about human history. The hands-on experience is so much more than a classroom can provide for most of the time. Here you get to feel the
differences in the texture of the dirt You get to get blisters on your hands
and realize that this is difficult work. You really have to be invested. You can
learn as much as you want about archaeology but until you go and do it,
you just don’t have the experience. Our work this summer focuses
on Site Six. It’s about a half mile east of Monticello Mansion. Specifically our
work is aimed at domestic economies and social relationships among enslaved field
laborers. Students have an opportunity to help us figure out how stratigraphic
observations and the artifacts that we’re recovering can help advance our
understanding of the dynamics that comprised Jefferson’s Monticello in the
18th and early 19th centuries Unlike a lot of disciplines, it’s
inherently a team enterprise. Even just digging shovel test pits, it’s a very tedious process. You need at least one person to go and help you screen, double-check
your paperwork, it’s all a collaborative effort. It’s really hard to do
archaeology alone. You can’t dig a site by yourself. I consider it an honor to be
able to work at a site like Monticello. It’s a little humbling when you think
about how much history is poured into an area like this because you’re rebuilding
history and re-establishing an unwritten way that history might have unfolded. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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