Join in the conversation for the love of anthro!From field schools to conferences students are engaging in all sorts of anthropological experiences. Here are only a few to inspire you with your future anthropological endeavors. Have your own experience you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it, e-mail it with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Me by my one of my research subjects! This past summer in Isla Mujeres I completed an ethnographic field school that researched young females and their fertility. Here I am standing next to the Goddess of Fertility, Ixchel. Ixchel has been revered since the island was first settled upon, bringing in women from all over to pay homage to her on their first menstrual cycle. Now Ixchel has become a symbol of not only culture, but of economic wealth as she brings in tourists from all over.
I started volunteering in the anthropology lab at the start of my first year at McMaster where I cleaned human remains sent back from Dr Prowse’s field school in Rome. Later that year, I continued my volunteer work under Bonnie Kahlon in the anthropology lab cataloguing ancient human skull casts and making study sheets for them. This experience definitely triggered my love for anthropology and made it clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in the field. Since I loved my time in the lab so much, I jumped at the chance to volunteer in the archaeology lab with Christine Cluney. Now, I work with a group of amazing ladies and together, with Christine, we work on various projects identifying animal remains from both Southern Ontario and Rome.
This past summer I took part in Dr. Prowse’s bio-archeology field school in southern Italy. The field school enabled me to take the information I learned in lecture and actually apply it in the field. Here I am standing on top of Mt. Vesuvius, which was one of the many places we visited while on the dig.
In the summer of 2015 I took part in the bioarchaeological field school run in Gravina, Italy, by Dr. Prowse and put on by McMaster University. Through participating in the field school I was able to embrace my passion for bioarchaeology while learning about the human skeleton and the methods used to properly conduct an archaeological excavation. The field school also allowed me to find out where my anthropological interests lay, and for that I will always be grateful for the opportunity to participate in it. After participating in the Vagnari field school I decided to take on a more active role in the anthropology department at McMaster, thus I started volunteering in the archaeology lab under the supervision of Christine Cluney. There I help work on a variety of projects; from cleaning animal remains from around Ontario to identifying animal bones collected from the bioarchaeological field school run by Dr. Prowse. Regardless as to what I am doing in the lab it is always exciting and never a dull moment! It is truly and utterly something I love doing and would readily encourage everyone to give working in the lab a try!
Aside from Dr. Prowse’s excavation of the Roman cemetery at the Vagnari site in Gravina, Italy, there is also another archaeological dig currently underway there. Across a ravine that splits the site into two halves Dr. Carroll, of the University of Sheffield, runs the excavation of the Vicus (the economic center of the site). This excavation looks at the buildings that make up the vicus and the economic purpose they served, as well as looks at the role of slave and free labour within them. Though I did not personally work on this dig I did get the opportunity to observe the excavation process since it runs at the same time as the bio-archaeological field school. Apart from this I also had the opportunity to meet and become friends with the British and American students working on this dig, as both McMaster and Sheffield share a residence while in Gravina, which needless to say made the field school even more amazing. After hearing the Sheffield students first hand experiences with this dig, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a field school that works more with ancient artifacts and architecture, as it offers the opportunity to both excavate one of the Vicus buildings and process the findings from it.
The pictures seen above are of some of the cleaned artifacts found during the 2015 excavation. In addition to pottery you will also see that there is a fragment of ancient Roman glass, and a clump of slag (a by-product of lead smelting).
In the summer of 2015 I went to Italy to see Ancient Rome and Sicily. While there i saw not just two different societies one from the ancient past and one from the present structures beside each other, but I saw a merge of the building of Ancient Rome and the technology of today. It showed the evolution of a culture, growing taking aspects of the things that the Ancient society left behind and fusing it within the culture that Europeans had today. This is what I see as Anthropological.
I have just recently taken an interest in anthropology and a passion to pursue a career in this field at the beginning of second year. Anthropology was never on my radar until I took my first anthropology classes in first year and was drawn in by the approaches that were taken to understand culture, particularly archaeology captured my attention in that vast ways it can be used to interpret or arise to conclusions about events that occurred in the past. I ended up choosing a combined major in anthropology and psychology as my second choice, a backup plan, when choosing my major at the end of first year. Unfortunately, my first choice of major did not work out so I found myself in the anthropology and psychology program. Upset a first, I soon realized it was a blessing in disguise as I fell in love with the study of anthropology. I have not had the opportunity to take part in a field school yet, however I hope to complete a field school in the very near future. Anthropology is something that unexpectedly grabbed my attention and I look forward to where it will take me in the future.
In the Summer of 2015, I was fortunate enough to travel to Sri Lanka in Southern Asia. I didn’t go to work in a field school, like most anthropology undergraduates do- but to work as an intern in two local hospitals, shadowing physicians, nurses, midwives and surgeons. I was able to help host a medical camp, bringing diabetic treatments and medications to the people who did not have access to it regularly. This was where I realized I wanted to study global health, a discipline closely related to anthropology. This picture is of me standing on the surgical floor in the Panadura Base Hospital, in between surgical observations.
Anthropology is that great balance of science and art. It’s a venue that let’s you study the sciences from a humanistic approach and the arts from a scientific perspective. After beginning volunteering in the zooarchaeology labs here at McMaster, I’ve found an interest in studying faunal remains in a past context. In working both in the lab and at a local petstore, I’ve tailored my interests to focus on studying animal and human relationships, particularly relationships with animals as food, companions, and domestication.