Hello, from the Commonwealth of Virginia! My name is Tabitha Hilliard and I am beginning a graduate program at Monmouth University this September. I am majoring in Anthropology, with a concentration in Archaeology. I have the good fortune of telling you about two archaeology sites that I am associated with. I know the purpose of this blog is to write about a “day” in archaeology, most specifically- the day that I’m writing this entry. First, I am going to tell you about my work at the first site. Afterwards, I will tell you what I’m currently working on at the second site.
I began as a volunteer in May of 2009 at Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home Archaeology Lab. George Washington moved to Ferry Farm in 1738 at six years of age. In 1754 he moved to Mount Vernon. His mother, Mary Ball Washington, remained at Ferry Farm until she moved to the city of Fredericksburg in 1772. As a volunteer, I was responsible for washing, sorting, and labeling artifacts. Beginning in May of 2010 I was accepted a position as the Archaeology Lab Assistant, my first full-time position in the field- woohoo! I remained on staff until I fulfilled my X amount of hours in my contract. I finished up my term last week, which gives me a few weeks to prepare for my move back to school. While working as a Lab Assistant- I was responsible for cataloging artifacts, supervising and training new interns and volunteers, and cataloging new materials in the library and archives. I also co-hosted VIP tours of the lab and I assisted with public events like our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Archaeology Day Tour (this happens once a year, during archaeology month- October for Virginia). Ferry Farm is in the very early stages of development as far as public archaeology sites go, as a result I was able to assist with tasks associated with other departments- like putting together a new exhibit case in our Visitor’s Center. I will be staying on as a volunteer at Ferry Farm to assist with researching several artifacts in our collection until I ship off for school in September.
TODAY, I am working as an Intern at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. I began my internship with Mount
Vernon in June and my term will conclude the second week of August. I work here two days a week in the Archaeology Lab. My primary task this summer has been to digitize features for a master map of Mount Vernon in a GIS program. The department is taking all of the hand drawn maps of every excavation completed at Mount Vernon and digitizing them in GIS. Some of these maps date to the 1930’s! The maps are scanned, uploaded into GIS, and adjusted to fit real-world-coordinates. My job is to digitize each feature within each excavation project and insert the metadata associated with that feature. The details of how I’ve been doing this can be found here: Mount Vernon Mystery Midden Blog. Other tasks this summer have included: mapping the Upper Garden, mapping the Lower (Kitchen) Garden and working on a bit of excavation in the Lower Garden. It is trying to rain outside today, so I believe I will be finishing up the Laundry Yard project in GIS and moving on to the Dung Repository.
I love my field 🙂