Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Valnoha. I'm a senior history major at Flagler College here St. Augustine, with a double-minor in anthropology and public history. Similar to many other kids of my generation, I wanted to be an archaeologist and go on exciting and dangerous adventures like Indiana Jones and other big screen archaeologists.  My passion for history and archaeology began when I was very young, shortly after my uncle returned from a yearlong stay in Egypt. He shared many exciting stories from his travels; I quickly knew that I wanted to study Ancient Egyptian history and discover mummies! As a 12-year-old in the eighth grade, I was one of the few who wanted to be an archaeologist or Egyptologist. Over the years, my interest in archaeology was refined into a love for history and historical archaeology. Now, I'm in my final year at Flagler and my dreams of working in the field seem to be getting closer every day! 

On a local farmer's property, Bolas, Costa Rica
One of the mysterious "stone spheres" on the farmer's property
 Through my internship with FPAN, I'm learning to actively engage with the public concerning Florida's buried past, and I hope to continually learn from these interactive experiences. I enjoy teaching children, and showing them how learning about archaeology can be fun and exciting! I hope to use the experience I gain from FPAN and apply it to create future opportunities within the fields of museum studies and/or historical archaeology. In the future, I'd like to continue working with the public; I want to help convey the importance and relevance of  local Florida archaeology and history. 

During my time at Flagler College, I've experienced St. Augustine archaeology and history through Flagler's archaeology club, which celebrates the city's rich cultural heritage with themed events. Currently, I am the club president, and continually strive to share my enthusiasm for history and archaeology with the other members. In addition, I recently attended an archaeology field school in Costa Rica with Flagler archaeology professor, Dr. Bill Locascio. The research and excavations are part of the Southern Costa Rica Archaeology Project (SCRAP), which also involves faculty and students from College of Lake County (CLC) in Chicago. This educational experience made me appreciate both the physical labor of archaeology in the field, and also the detailed artifact processing that occurs in the lab. 

Text and Images, Elizabeth Valnoha and Ryan Harke, FPAN Staff. 

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