Six Weeks with EBAP Cianan Butterfield-Stinson

cianan

What was I expecting when I decided to join the EBAP team? Not much really. Only during my second term of my second year at University did I really decide on anthropology being my major. It all started with a presentation at the beginning of my Greek and Roman 200 class that I learned about this program and what would result in one of my best summers so far. Previous to this experience I have only had one second year archaeology class which taught me the basics of archaeological research as well as problems that are faced within the field. While it was very informative and provided me with an idea of what I was getting myself into, it didn’t prepare me for what an amazing journey this experience would be.

Being immersed in a site and working right in the trenches can not be replaced by any lecture. Swinging a pickaxe into the soil and scraping the bulk wall with a triangle trowel is so satisfying. After these six weeks I have learned how to use these tools, along with many others, to the fullest in terms of technique and efficiency. Even something as simple as a dustpan or a broom will never be looked at the same without thinking of how much soil I swept up every day and wheelbarrowed to the mountain we call the spoil heap. Unfortunately, I have not had the joy of experiencing troweling in my sleep which people have warned me about. What I have experienced is every part of my body being sore at one time or another.

One obstacle that worried me was whether I would get along with the people that I would be working with for half the summer. This is something you do not necessary need to worry about in a lecture. I was very lucky to have a fantastic group of people to work with and get to know. Relationships formed here can happen as easily as having a pottery washing buddy or with the roommates you are assigned with. In a classroom setting, it can be more awkward and less organic. Being able to see and work with the same people every day can create stronger bonds and lifelong friendships even after they go back to their respective homes. This is easily one of this most important aspect of the program for me.

Another aspect of this experience I enjoyed is being able to work and interact with professionals and students in my field of study as well as a variety of others. It is great how archaeology can utilize a number of different skills people have and combine them together, no matter if it is to do with technology, art, or sheer power. While being here I have also figured out a clearer idea of what career I would like to pursue after obtaining my degree. This is mainly because of my interactions with people here and being able to share ideas and learn from others. This has put my life on a new trajectory that I am thankful for.

Coming to Greece has always been a dream of mine, but I never expected to come here for an excavation. This experience has taught me many skills that will transfer to my future pursuits no matter what they are. Who knows if I will end up in archaeology as my future profession. What I do know is that I will never regret my discussion on whether I should have come here. I think this is a fantastic program to be involved in whether you are in the field or not and recommend it to everyone.

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