Friday, October 27, 2006

Student Thoughts

Hi, I am a freshman here at Berkeley and this is my first time doing anything with archaeology. It was initially a surprise to me that I really enjoy archaeology. I didn’t really think I’d enjoy it when I decided to take an anthropology class. But eight weeks later here I am working on an actual dig. I think the wonderful thing about archaeology is how it relates the present to past. With archaeology, it is possible to look at the past and see the steps a culture took to get to its current way of life. It is interesting to look at houses like the Cheney house and see what parts of their way of life still exist in my way of life.

The other I like about archaeology is that I can easily talk to people about it and get them excited. Whether I am talking to an elderly person or a six-year old, I can talk about what I am doing and studying. There a lot of things you cannot do that with. Now I must admit one thing. I quite commonly get asked “Well what have you found? Any dinosaur bones?” The people are being serious when they think archaeology is mainly about dinosaurs. I explain to them about how little things you find like a piece of ceramic can tell you a lot about someone’s life. Then they understand a little more about archaeology and are more interested than if I had just said I found a piece of glass.


The Cheney House is the first archaeological project I have worked on. I am learning a lot. It has been really interesting to see how have everything works in the field and in the lab. My favorite part is fieldwork. The ground in Berkeley has a lot of clay so it is very tough to dig. What makes fieldwork fun is that as you work; you are always looking out for things like soil changes and even an object like a piece of glass. Or in the case of some holes, you are on the look out for a pipe or a root from a tree. I also really enjoyed doing lab work. It was amazing to see how different the objects appeared after being cleaned. It made little pieces stand out a lot more. For example, in pit A2, a large circular screw was found. The screw was entirely covered in rust prior to washing, but after being washed it was possible to see the threads of it. I think some artifacts we found that are really interesting are the pieces of bone and the pieces of broken red glass.
- Gina, one of our illustrious undergraduate students


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