Lessons Learned in the Field

Robert Masters tackles his final student blog post by reflecting on the past three semesters’ lessons learned.

Lessons Learned in the Field


This semester like the previous two semesters, I am taking an archaeology class with Professor Seifert. During all three semesters, the class has had the opportunity to perform fieldwork for both extra credit and to get fieldwork experience. While I enjoy receiving extra credit for helping out with the different digs, the reason why I continue to come back is because I enjoy learning about history, especially local history. I also enjoy spending time with my fellow classmates at the digs and helping new students with the proper excavation procedures. Another reason why I enjoyed participating in digs is my enjoyment of just digging holes. This is completely different from my childhood where I would dig randomly and not take any precautions. Now after digging with Professor Seifert, I can still dig holes but at a slower pace. The reason for our slower pace is because we are digging in a scientific manner and are interested at what the ground contains, while also looking at the different layers of soil known as stratigraphy. Stratigraphy can tell us different things from soil composition, to habitation layers, and sometimes within these layers, we can find features such as postholes, trash pits, or privies.

The most important thing that I learned this semester while performing digs is not to jump into a clean hole. The reason is that we take pictures at different depth levels to show the stratigraphy for each unit (hole) that we dig. By jumping into the hole, I messed up the floor of the test unit, meaning I had to re-clean* the floor that was already clean before I jumped into the hole. This is probably one of the big things that I will take away from my experiences performing digs with Professor Seifert. Since this is my last semester at Georgia Southern’s Armstrong campus, I will not be digging for extra credit, but I may still volunteer and help with digs in the future. I would like to thank Professor Seifert and all the other experts that I have met though my time performing digs while participating in the many archaeological digs over the past three semesters.

*Use a trowel to scrap back a thin layer of soil exposing differences in soil color and texture.

Robert cleans off an artifact he just found at the Kiah House this semester.

Robert cleans off an artifact he just found at the Kiah House this semester.

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