Friday, August 1, 2008

Learning While Doing...

As I sit here pouring over bag upon bag of artifacts, I have to step back from time to time and adjust my process of cataloging them. After a while certain types of ceramics start to look the same even though they are not. This is when I look at the various resources at hand to identify what it is that I am looking at. Since I am still fairly new to the world of archaeology, my resource collection is limited. Luckily I have all the materials Jim and April have provided me.

For example, when I come across projectile points in a bag, I would, in the past, have immediately taken it to Jim and find out what type of point it is. Now I use a couple resources on hand to try and identify what type of point it is and then take it to Jim for confirmation. The main resource I use for point identification is: Middle Atlantic Projectile Point Typology and Nomenclature by William Jack Hranicky, Archeological Society of Virginia, Special Publication No. 23. This publication not only shows pictures of what the points look like but also materials to look for and size and shape.

I have come to learn that having resources at hand goes a long way in learning while doing! The craft of artifact identification is ongoing and always changing. While Tin Glaze is still Tin Glaze, learning where these were manufactured (all over Europe) cannot only help us date artifacts but a look into the "buying habits" of the people who used them.

My education is ongoing, as it is for most archaeologists, as I learn from work and school. In fact, I am taking a GRE prep class starting next week so I can start the process of applying to graduate schools this fall.

- Peter


Dancing Willow said...

That's awesome Peter! What a road you are traveling, and this book sounds like a great tool. I'd love to leaf through it sometime.

Ken Quantock aka Dad said...

Life is constant learning. The fact that you are now identifying artifacts (not stuff) from centuries ago is fantastic.

Keep up the great blogs and continue to educate this balding retired Dad!

Scott said...

You have been warned! You get 2 years and then you must become a bus driver. Move on, my friend.