Although archaeology is often associated with dinosaur fossils and sarcophagi, museums only hold a small portion of the artifacts unearthed over the past few centuries. For Max Lopez ’15, who’s currently working as a teaching assistant at a summer field school in British Columbia, “it’s the day-to-day kind of stuff that really gets [him] going, the smaller stuff that tells a story everyone can relate to.” It is these types of discoveries he hopes to make, leading him to pursue a Masters of Archaeology at Cambridge University beginning in the fall.
Although Lopez, an archaeology major and Chinese minor, completed his first field project in 2013, his interest began when he was young: “I’ve been digging and collecting garbage from the ground since I was very small,” he joked. “More recently, however, I've worked on the Slocan Narrows Archeological Project (SNAP) in British Columbia and completed digs in Western Ireland while studying abroad,” he added.
Hometown: Montclair, N.J.
High School: Montclair High School
Lopez’s thesis, “Three-Dimensional Modeling in Archaeological Interpretation: A Case Study from the Pacific Northwest,” focused on his work with SNAP. He described the project: “Essentially, I built a 3-D model of a 2,700 year old pithouse, an ancient subterranean dwelling, and simulated how daylight and light from central fire hearths would have affected inhabitants senses.” This type of work is particularly interesting to him because “interacting with past people through their material remains gives a great deal of perspective, similar to the kind gained when traveling somewhere new,” he stated.
Lopez is thankful to Hamilton for “affording [him] the opportunity to start working with professors on their research early on, something not possible at bigger research schools with graduate students;” something that helped him hone his interest and skills before applying. “I also became very close with my Professor Nathan Goodale, who has been a constant mentor,” he added. Lopez hopes to either work in cultural resource management or become a professor himself after completing school.
For others who are similarly interested, Lopez suggests getting started as soon as possible; “it has helped to make life much easier by having a long term goal and plan, not to mention the importance of applying to graduate schools early, as many funding deadlines come before regular deadlines.” Beyond the convenience of his family living in London, Lopez noted that schools in the United Kingdom don't require GRE scores, which he considers a bonus.