A Day of Archaeology for Student Intern at Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex

Just a few years ago, unexpected events led to the necessity for me to embark on a career change late in life. And now, at 61 years old, and starting my last year in a Bachelor of Specialized Studies program at Ohio University Eastern, I’m fortunate to be serving an internship here at Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, (GCMAC), where I’ve received excellent training and hands on experience, thanks to the hard working and attentive staff at this wonderful facility. Even though my education has included a very in depth and high quality field school with the Hocking College Archaeology Department, the training that I’m receiving here at GCMAC gives me valuable insight on archaeology from a more clinical perspective, which I deem to be greatly important since my goal is to construct a broad and well rounded collection of knowledge to hopefully make myself employable in many areas of archaeology.
While working here my duties have included learning how to clean, label, and number individual potsherds, faunal bone fragments, and lithics, (flakes, tools, cores, hammer stones, hematite, etc.), of which there are a very impressive number in a curation facility such as GCMAC. I’ve also been able to help with the organization of curated materials in the “state of the art” storage facility here, where artifacts from all over West Virginia are stored along with many federal and privately donated collections. Some days I work in the document viewing room, entering information from CRM reports onto an Excel spreadsheet or help in the preservation of records, documents, correspondence, etc. by making copies on archival paper, which will prevail long after the originals have succumbed to the ravages of time. At one point during my time here, the director of the facility allowed me to put my academic and field school experience to use by having me monitor a utilities company project that took place on the mound site property. Another very enriching experience was the arrival of a Native American Studies group who came to GCMAC from West Virginia University, (WVU), and stayed for a week while helping with the many tasks that need done in a large facility such as this. During that week I received instruction on prehistoric ceramic type-analysis and cataloging from a retired West Virginia Division of Highways archaeologist who accompanied the group from WVU. As for this Day of Archaeology, for this student intern it ended with my making copies of old correspondence of Ms. Bettye Broyles on archival acid-free paper for the sake of preserving old and important things. And for those who may not know who she was: Yes, the spelling of the first name is correct and she was one of West Virginia’s first female archaeologists, and an amazing woman, (worth researching!).