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Archaeology Field School
To ensure that all of our Archaeology majors get the training that they need to begin their career in our field, we require that they take an archaeology field school. Every summer, Dr. Kruczek-Aaron or Dr. Messner offer a 4-week field experience in which students learn basic excavation, surveying, and mapping skills.
In 2016, students under Dr. Messner’s direction investigated the Smokers Point site (Tupper Lake, NY), in order to critically examine the belief that the Adirondacks were too remote, cold, and unproductive to support human occupation in the ancient past.
The students’ work revealed the presence of an Archaic Period (~5000-7000 year-old) occupation, and artifacts like scrapers, drills, and projectile points showed that people performed a variety of tasks on site. The stone materials suggest that people carried tools from the lowlands and refashioned their equipment from locally available cobble resources. While artifacts recovered await further analysis, preliminary results suggest that the Adirondacks have a more complex history than is commonly put forth.
2015: South Africa
Two summers ago, Dr. Kruczek-Aaron’s field school took place in South Africa, where students gained not only training in archaeological field techniques, but also—because it was an international travel course—an opportunity to heighten their global awareness. In this case, the students collaborated with students and faculty from the University of South Africa to test deposits associated with Botshabelo, a nineteenth-century mission station near Middleburg in Mpumalanga province.
Their work helped to document the lived experience of the thousands of local southern African peoples who lived, worked, and worshipped there over its 100-year history. For more on this experience, check out the cover story in the 2016 issue of the Collegiate Anthropologist.