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Digging in the Dirt


This summer while most jobs went remote — and for that matter, indoors — Nandini Subramaniam ’22 worked an on-site internship at the Fort Drum Army military reservation. Through the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML), a research unit within the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, Subramaniam conducted archaeological research to help ensure that land development does not disturb any archaeological sites.

Subramaniam explained that prior to military use, field technicians typically survey selected land to preserve history and cultural heritage. Fort Drum’s Environmental Division hired CEMML to aid in the land reviewing process, which eventually led to Subramaniam working at Fort Drum from June to August. Her tasks included excavation, artifact analysis, mapping, and photography.                                                                                                    

About Nandini Subramaniam ’22

Major: Anthropology/Archaeology

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C., and Bangalore, India

High school: Indus International School, Bangalore

read about other student research 

“I understood the importance of CRM [cultural resources management] as a field of archaeology but also as a way we interact with history as it is marked in the land,” she said, describing how her internship impacted her understanding of archaeology.

An archaeology major, Subramaniam applied to the internship to further explore one facet of the field. “I wanted to gain experience in cultural resources management as a potential career trajectory within archaeology,” she said. Subramaniam decided to major in archaeology because of its unique approach to studying history. “I wanted to be like Lara Croft, but I also appreciate the importance of looking at history critically to understand our connection to it. And I really like mud,” she said.

Subramaniam enjoyed the experience and felt as if she spent the summer learning productively. “It was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to meet lovely people, learn various skills living on my own in a new place, and of course fine-tune specific excavation techniques,” she said. “I think doing all of this in the middle of a pandemic made adapting to work and living on my own harder, but I think I've grown a lot from this experience.”

 

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