This summer, Sabrina Pike ’20 has been working as a research assistant for Hamilton’s Archaeology Field School. You can read more about the field work’s excavations here
What is your research project?
I'm a research assistant for Hamilton's Archaeology Field School, helping to conduct excavations at two Native American/First Nations sites, one in North Carolina and one in British Columbia, Canada. The site in NC was in its earliest stages and consisted of surveying the landscape and conducting text excavations to see what was present at the site. The site in BC is much further along in this process and excavations are conducted with the goal of learning more about the activity areas within each housepit. I assist in the excavation processes and help out with activities around camp.
Archaeology Field School is a course that prepares students for a future in archaeology. We conduct excavations to better understand how people lived in the past and gain a greater understanding of their culture. The two sites we went to were in different stages of excavation. In North Carolina we were trying to find out what exactly was there by using survey equipment. In Slocan, we conducted very precise excavations in order to answer questions that require as much context about what we are finding as possible.
What do you hope to accomplish through this project?
My main goal is to impart knowledge of how to properly conduct archaeological excavations and to collect data for my upcoming senior thesis project. I also want to experience this unique area of field school so that when I graduate I’ll be able to apply what I have learned here to other projects.
Major: Creative Writing and Archaeology
Hometown: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
High School: Kealakehe High School
How did you find this research opportunity?
I went on the 2017 field school and was asked back to be a research assistant. I will use the data we collect this season for my upcoming senior thesis project.
What drew you to this research?
I did the field school in Slocan, BC, two years ago and I loved it so much I decided to be an archaeology major. I was overjoyed to be asked back as a research assistant this field season!
What do you like best about your research?
I loved excavating from the moment my trowel first touched the sediment. It was exciting being able to excavate each day, not knowing what new artifacts we would find or what kinds of features would be encountered. Now I am supervising the students and I see that same excitement on their faces. Fostering a love for archaeology was one of my hopes for this experience and it is very rewarding to see it come to fruition.
What are your plans for the future?
My life dream is to become a novelist, but I also want to continue to go on excavations because I find them so enjoyable. I also have plans to write a novel about the adventures of an archaeologist; my experiences here are useful for inspiration and help to accurately portray the everyday lives of archaeologists.
Anything else you’d like readers to know about your experience?
This has been an adventure that I am so lucky to have experienced. The beauty of archaeology is seen through field schools such as these and it is crucial to respect and continue to develop an understanding of cultures worldwide.