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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

A Test of Nerves and Archaeological Knowledge

Excavation2Three intensive years had passed and the day of reckoning had arrived. Time to take our archaeological certification exams.

My son began the program with a nearby state archaeological association and I functioned as his chauffeur. We ended up attending lectures together, undertaking fieldwork, working in the lab together. Both of us were in the program now: lectures, fieldwork, texbooks. After our almost-full-day testing earlier in the summer on every conceivable artifact from metals, to lithics, to ceramics historic and prehistoric, it was time to sit for the written practicals.

Yet, they could not tell us what was on the multiple choice and five to seven written essay portions.

What should we study?

What we had been studying for the past three years. We were to know it…whatever “it” was.

Petya and I arrive to the archaeological offices 30 minutes early. Our proctor is ready and we convene at the appointed hour. She suggests that we look over the exam and see if we have any immediate questions.

I do, but I dare not voice it: How had we come so far… to know absolutely nothing?

excavation4The questions are all absolutely foreign. I feel sick. Many are obscure, unknown, obtuse. Where was the material we knew?

My mind goes blank. Even the questions with which we were familiar appear convoluted. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpse Petya’s face, shaken.

I feel like crying. And I’m not a crying person.

We swallow hard and blunder on, hoping for the best.  My hand starts to cramp as we write for hours on end.

Altogether, the two of us believe that the outcome will not be terrible, but we have no idea. We won’t hear for a week or two. It’s obvious that we messed up on a few questions, yet no one could tell us even what would be a passing score.

So we sit and wait, equal amounts of relief and dread washing over us.


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