Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meet Jen!  Photo courtesy Brad Biglow.
   After four years of volunteering, my moment has finally come.... I’m Jen, the new intern at FPAN! And now it’s my turn to contribute to my favorite blog. I am in my senior year at the University of North Florida, and began volunteer work with FPAN while a student at Florida State College Jacksonville. I joined the St. Augustine Archaeology Society first, and they pointed me towards Amber Grafft-Weiss and Sarah Miller. Never has a student been so fortunate to have guidance from professionals in their field who are also so generous with their time. Amber is a University of North Florida Alumni, and her knowledge of the Anthropology major is a great resource. It is truly invigorating to work and learn from people in your chosen profession. I've had my share of archaeological adventure firsts because of FPAN, including my first dig. Never mind those yellow jacket stings, Robin Moore! I also have had the pleasure of volunteering with several previous interns who continue to inspire me: Rosalie Cocci, Sarah Bennett, and David Underwood. I never expected that my turn to intern would come so soon, but here I am. I want to share some of the memorable past events in which I've volunteered. For fun, I've sprinkled about some terms in bold that you can search in the blog archive that will link you to all the related posts. For more about the survey of  Spengler Island, and my first dig, by St. John's County Archaeologist, Robin Moore, please visit the The St. Augustine Record article: "Mrs. Lincoln Stayed Here, Overlooked Island Once Hosted Visit by Mary Todd Lincoln."

     One of the most memorable projects I participated in was the Summer Archaeology Camp for youths in St. Augustine. We conducted a dig  across the street from the Castillo San Marco in the Colonial Spanish Quarter, finding remnants of a livestock enclosure. The children learned many archaeological processes, including how to set up a unit, weigh, sort, and bag unit materials. My favorite activity, and I am sure theirs, was water screening artifacts. We had a lot of fun with the hose. It was a fun way to learn, and keep cool on a hot summer afternoon in St. Augustine. The picture above is of one of my now absolutely favorite fieldwork t-shirts. 

     I’ve helped for the past two years in December with a small public dig on Black Creek in Middleburg.  I adore working with high school students, and seeing the possibility of a future in archaeology cross their minds is a treat. Middleburg High School students showed up ready to work, and had many questions. For me the dig is always the weekend after finals, and it reminds me of why I study so hard. 

    Archaeology Road Show
at MOSH with Sarah Miller is a huge event. Seeing the public excited about archaeology keeps my passion alive. There is always a large crowd willing to spend a Saturday morning with us. Trying to identify a wide range in artifact ages, from all over the world, is very challenging. Of course, unlike Antiques Road Show, we can’t give an artifact value, because they are all priceless. It is also a wonderful opportunity to explain how it’s not the artifact that tells us the most about a past people, but the context of where it was found. Please note: I have a new clean white FPAN t-shirt after my blue summer camp one is designated fieldwork only. Also, I spilled coffee on the new white one the very first time I wore it and at the first Archaeology Road Show. In this picture, the 2nd show, I wore another shirt to the museum, then changed into the white one, and avoided catastrophe.

      As part of Fernandina Bicentennial Celebration last year, I participated in two roles in a public excavation. I filled one role as a UNF Archaeology student, and the other as an FPAN volunteer. It was wonderful sharing my FPAN experience with my fellow Anthropology majors. The UNF students were able to convey their interest of Archaeology with the public, a common FPAN and UNF mission. Fellow students and I from UNF are from left, me, Lisa MacIntyre, and P.J. Chua. Note: It really is my favorite fieldwork t-shirt. 
      With so many amazing experiences already under my belt as a volunteer, I am so fortunate that there are many more that await me as an intern. Sometimes I pinch myself in disbelief that my internship at FPAN is actually happening. I am looking forward to many more adventures and hope to share the next one with you! 

Text: Jennifer Knutson
Images: All but first photo by FPAN staff

One Response so far.

  1. So nice to see you aboard, Jen. You have done much wonderful work along side FPAN and I look forward to reading your exciting blogs!

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