Last week, I got a text message from a friend of a friend that went something like this: Hey! I have always wanted to learn more about archaeology but I'm not sure how or if I can get involved. Is it too late??? Am I smart enough???
I thought this is a great example of how accessible archaeology is as a field to be excited about (yay!) but how bad we as archaeologists are at spreading the word about getting involved in our exciting field (boo!). And, of course, the perfect topic for a blog post.
First: what is an archaeologist and what do they study?
Yesterday, I had a the great pleasure of sharing the radiocarbon dating activity that I developed last year as a Michigan Communication Fellow at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History with several students from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa from the Petoskey area. In this activity, I walk students through hypothesis formation, relative dating, and absolute dating via AMS. I try to bring examples of artifacts that students can easily identify and I always bring a slide show with some of my best field photos.
This week, I had the great pleasure of visiting Ohio State for the first time. (To all those Michigan fans, no, I am not speaking sarcastically.) I got to meet a very friendly community of researchers engaged in inspiring and dynamic projects at both the Byrd Center and the Anthropology department. I also shared my dissertation research at both venues and got great feedback from many generous attendees (and you can watch the video from the Byrd Center from the comfort of your own home!). The best part about sharing your research with new people is getting questions that you may never have considered. This was definitely the case for me this week, and the questions and ideas that were shared with me has led me to think about my next steps in research and service a little differently.
Bree is an Alaskan Anthropologist pursuing her PhD at the University of Michigan.