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With the collaboration of the science teachers at St Stephen’s School and Inge Weustink, classics teacher and Director of the Lyceum, I was able to create a crash course into all that is archaeology. I am currently working as the activities coordinator in Boarding but will also work closely with the Aventinus Minor Project (AMP) this coming season. I am a St. Stephen’s alumna (Class of 2010) and hold an MSc in Forensic Archaeological Science. I am in the process of completing a Ph.D. in Egyptian Archaeology. I have had the opportunity to excavate at numerous sites, including Sant’Omobono in the center of Rome, Sais in the Egyptian Delta, and a northern Roman site in the UK.

Throughout my academic career, I have been trained in the scientific methods used in archaeology and have designed courses related to the practical sides of excavation and laboratory analysis at university. I have always loved teaching archaeology, especially to first-year students, since they are always very eager and curious about the discipline and its multifaceted approach. It is, therefore, an incredible opportunity to work with younger students and perhaps inspire a potential career in archaeology. I was drawn to it as a student since I could never really decide what my main career aspiration could be. I was very artistic in school but was a devoted history student and loved biology. Archaeology has allowed me to combine my interests into one field, and I have never had to give up on one of my passions.

Over the next few weeks, students will partake in workshops designed to introduce them to a range of fundamental scientific methods used in archaeology in preparation for the opening of the AMP season in May. Techniques were discussed in relation to archaeological material and how results are interpreted, especially concerning the context in a forty-minute interactive presentation followed by various group activities. The role and purpose of excavation, techniques developed for the analysis of human remains, and artifacts were introduced, and their significance explained. However, these aspects only represent a fraction of the full range of archaeological data available. This data concerns environmental archaeology, such as soil analysis, taphonomy, and the importance of animal and plant remains. This evidence provides a further dimension of data, from individual sites to a broader landscape. To remotely map and identify sites and discover sub-surface detail using geophysical techniques is vital to understanding a site. Laboratory-based techniques such as dating methods, ancient DNA, and isotopic analysis were briefly touched upon to provide key data related to dating events and processes, examining diet and mobility, and answering questions related to human genetic history.

The teaching aims to equip students with a basic repertoire of techniques and tools available to archaeologists to interpret the past. The group activities included resolving the mystery behind a mass grave at Sant’Omobono, deciphering the use and significance of an ancient Egyptian artifact, as well as interpreting complex data regarding the isotopic analysis of Norse invaders on the island of Orkney. Time permitting, a few more practical sessions will be scheduled in May in collaboration with the sciences. There will be an opportunity to do some practical work in the lab, such as excavating a simulation of an archaeological site and identifying organic remains in the soil. I am very much looking forward to collaborating closely with the AMP and putting the students’ newly acquired archaeological skills to the test!


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