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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…!

Archaeological Field Diary – Certification

IMG_1527For our certification course in archaeology, we need to learn many things.  First, we need to learn what it means to be certified.  That will be today’s lesson.

 Certification does not mean that we turn into real archaeologists.  That would be for individuals holding undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology and/or archaeology.  That would not be me.  But I am learning enough about human behavior to write volumes.  That’s what working out in the hot sun, or freezing rain, with a group of diverse individuals will do for you.  You learn a whole lot, real fast.

 The two-year certification course offered by various states is often taken by retirees who have a good bit of time on their hands.  It involves reading scores of textbooks, attending about a dozen two-hour or so lectures, receiving on-site mini-seminars in subjects such as troweling techniques, or using a surveyer’s transit, and then gaining fieldwork in three different areas:  archaeological IMG_1534survey (not to be confused with surveying), excavation, and lab work with artifacts.  Each of the three categories requires 60 hours, divided equally into  30 of historic work, and 30 in prehistoric work.

 Needless to say, the two-year process can turn into ten or twelve.  Plus, we will need to take final exams at the end. 

 IMG_1528Can you tell I’m looking forward to that?

 The point is not so much to turn us into avocational archaeologists which many already are, but to ensure that we do as little damage as possible.  We are reminded repeatedly:  once a site is excavated correctly or incorrectly, that opportunity is forever lost.  Translated, this  would mean:  Watch your step, Bud.

 But in all honesty, the course offers tremendous field experience, the likes of which most grad students have never seen.  For Petya, it’s an opportunity to see if archaeology of one sort or another might be his thing.  For me, it’s a chance to reach beyond myself, have some time with my son, and engage in activities that I did when I was very young and living half a world away.

 Fascinating as this all is, let me tell you about this latest field school experience.  Stay tuned for my next installment in “The Whiskey Bottle, the Dice, and the Debtor’s Prison”….



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