Lillia McEnaney ’17 Explores Possible Archaeology Career Through Summer Internships
This summer, Lillia McEnaney ’17 split her time excavating a Greek island and making three-dimensional models of stone inscriptions in Macedonia. A religious studies and archaeology major, McEnaney was a field volunteer at Despotiko, a late archaic to early classical sanctuary to the Greek god Apollo in the middle of the Cycladic islands. The field program, run by the Greek Ministry of Culture in conjunction with College Year in Athens, was based on an uninhabited island of the same name, adjacent to the larger islands of Antiparos and Paros.
McEnaney volunteered at the Paros Archaeological Museum Laboratory prior to beginning fieldwork to acclimate herself to the ceramic materials she would be excavating at the site. During the excavation she learned basic archaeological field methods, while focusing on ceramic analysis.
After leaving Greece, McEnaney began her second program in Macedonia, where she was a field school participant at the Balkan Heritage Foundation's course "Advanced Digital Photographic Documentation of Artifacts and Architecture." In this program, she was trained on basic RTI and photogrammetry techniques, which are ways of creating three-dimensional models.
RTI, or Reflectance Transformation Imaging, is a photographic method that uses an object's surface shape and the photographer's manipulation of light to create a digital model of the image that can be further analyzed, allowing the archaeologist to see markings on the objects not visible to the naked eye. Photogrammetry is a similar method of computational photography, where models are constructed with 3D surface image data with photographs from the field. These models can be moved around in a 360 view on a computer screen, unlike RTI models, where the object stays stagnant but the light moves.
Upon returning to the U.S. McEnaney interned with the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center, where she has worked over the past six years on various curatorial, collections management and photographic projects. McEnaney has curated seven exhibits while at IAIS, has co-curated two, and acted as the primary researcher for two additional shows. She remotely continues her work with the Institute while on the Hill.
McEnaney hopes to ultimately obtain a Ph.D. in archaeology and work at a university museum as a professor and curator.