Kat Matthews: After the Archaeological Dig Experience

This summer I spent five weeks in a town called Vescovado di Murlo in the Province in Siena, Italy, digging at the Etruscan archaeological site of Poggio Civitate. The field school, run through the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and headed by Dr. Anthony Tuck, was inarguably one of the most extraordinary experiences of my college career thus far. I’ve known I want to be an archaeologist for years but haven’t decided what particular area I want to spend my professional career in; there are quite a few to choose from. Working on this site this summer forced me to seriously think about which direction I wanted to take when it comes to my academic and professional career. I learned different archaeological techniques along with various conservation methods. Every morning from Monday through Friday, we were up before 6 am, eating breakfast on the stoop, hiking up the hill, and were ready to start digging by 7 am. We worked from then until 3:30 in the afternoon stopping only for personal salt and water breaks and the group lunch at noon which lasted a half hour. It was hard work and most of the time was spent either squatting in the trench or standing, bent at the waist. Every week, students were put into groups of about five or six and assigned to a specific trench working under a different trench-master. This worked wonderfully because every supervisor ran their trench a little differently and every trench contained different and various artifacts so students were constantly learning new things throughout the summer. I came back home battered and bruised and had to ice my knees for three days straight but I could not have been happier with how I spent my summer. I look forward to returning to Poggio Civitate as a trench-master in training next summer.

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