At the Inner Core: Passions for Archaeology and Education

It is hard to believe another year has passed, and it is time for a third year of Day of Archaeology participation. What is the radiocarbon plus/minus on a year?

Joking aside, I am both excited to have more archaeology-based work in my planner now, and to be part of this across-the-globe initiative.  After all, archaeology is still a living, breathing passion and field for all of us. What better task is there than showing others around the world what archaeology is, its methodological practices, and what its true values and other gains are for the world in which we live?

This summer finds me teaching cultural anthropology online, catching up on professional journal reading, working on book reviews for a professional archaeology journal, listening to insightful webinars on national archaeology funding and legislative news, and even conferencing with a K-12 (secondary school) teacher on her plans to integrate archaeology lessons into a classroom this fall.

It was and always will be fun to collaborate on lesson planning and discussing what I have facilitated as a volunteer.  Archaeology lends itself well to active learning engagement, hands-on activities, and interdisciplinary learning. It allows for flexible, creative planning no matter how young or how senior the audience. Sharing how I took paint color chips to construct a pseudo-Munsell chart on the cheap, to how to construct mock dig boxes, to what online resources are out there on historical archaeology etc. was a lot of fun. I was grateful for that opportunity earlier this week.

Knowing that these lessons ignite the passion in other students as young as I was when I first proclaimed I want to be an archaeologist (by kindergarten or first grade, 5 or 6 years old) and even their K-12 teachers is exciting too.

Admittedly, equally enjoyable higher education tasks (such as grading, facilitating a meeting, engaging in online dialogue with students, and tutoring) largely filled my day today.  After all, it is that time for the summertime juggle of roles and responsibilities.  However, I did spend some break time engaging in the online archaeology literature (thanks in part to social media resources aggregating my favorite archaeology news, professional organization, magazine and journal websites for me!).

By day’s end, my efficiency reduced my workload to the point that I can spend all day Saturday reading the end of an archaeology book and writing reviews.  In retrospect, I am content to have carved out a life sustaining my passions for what we each do. After all, my writing about archaeology and living the life of an archaeologist is not exclusive to one day a year or to one set of job descriptors/job titles. I might not be as active in laboratory, research or even field-based lines of archaeology at present, but what I do as an educator merges my passions of teaching and archaeology.  This increases sustainability of the discipline to some level, as new people find their passions and interests in what I do, continuing dialogue of what archaeology is and what it can contribute to the world in which we live.