Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hello from the East Central region! I must say I am extremely happy to have become a member of the FPAN team as an Outreach Assistant to both learn and teach others about how incredibly rich Florida is with archaeology. This opportunity could not have come at a better time, having just graduated from the University of Central Florida roughly 3 weeks ago. I left many brilliant professors and future colleagues after graduating with my B.A. in Anthropology. During my studies I focused on bioarchaeology (the study of human skeletal remains in an archaeological context) and forensic anthropology (the application of law and the analysis of modern human remains). Now, I know you immediately jumped to the television series Bones when I said forensic anthropology, but this work is much more meticulous and less glorified than the show reveals.

Continuing my academic career beyond the classroom, I have delved into public archaeology and the marriage of archaeology and environmental science. It turns out my professors prepared me well for field work with colleagues. Last summer I took part in a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Experience program in Sicily, Italy. It was there that I had my first foray into the world of professional archaeology.
My NSF program research investigated human skeletal remains from the 5th century Greek colony Himera. After years of explaining to my non-anthropology friends exactly what I was ecstatic about, and what had me reading scientific journal articles non-stop, I began to wonder what the public perception of archaeology as a field really was. Fortunately, I will be able to engage with these questions in my new position.

In this position I will be able to see first-hand what the public sees on the other side of the pit wall when peering in. Besides that, I will be able to geek out about the precious history the Earth has to offer us, especially when it comes to Florida archaeology. That offering is years of knowledge and insight into how people once inhabited these lands and how we can improve our own interactions with the land to protect it for future generations!

Glad to be a part of the team,

Me at some ruins in the city of  Cefal├╣ in Sicily,Italy

Botanical Garden at the University of Georgia

Me and one of my directors on site in Sicily, Italy

Texts and pics: Caitlin Sawyer

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