|A Viking bead made of amber, found in our dig last week!|
After the first few weeks, I quickly realized that although I enjoy the field work involved in archaeological excavations and searching for remnants of civilizations long gone, I get much more excited about the idea of studying the artifacts uncovered - even to the extent of trying to figure out how such artifacts were originally produced, how they were used, and the ever-important question of why. While discussing this with a few fellow students, one asked if I had heard of Experimental Archaeology. I had not.
Experimental Archaeology is relatively new as its own discipline, and is the combination of archaeology with experimenting with methods of construction, metal-smithing, craftsmanship, etc. to replicate period buildings and artifacts using only tools and materials that would have been available at the time in question. This is like a dream come true for me. I knew that I loved to work with my hands, both to study artifacts and to create new ones, and that I also love the more academic side of the historical and theoretical study; I just never imagined there was an actual academic discipline that combined the two.
|Some handmade beauties I've bought in Sweden|
Does that mean I'm applying to Sheffield? Well, no. I'm not sure that a Master's in Experimental Archaeology would be such an immense help in getting an experimental archaeology-related job, but I'm sure the degree would be great if I wanted to teach such a discipline (which I don't). There are a lot of historical sites and open-air museums practicing such experimental-historical methods around, and I'd be very, very surprised if I'll need a masters degree to get a job at one. It means that if I do decide to go for a Master's degree, I'll definitely apply to that one first. For now, I'm just happy to have finally found a degree program I can get excited about, and if it works out that I will actually study Experimental Archaeology in the future, then that's awesome. If I get a good job at a historical site or reenactment place that I can get excited about and share my passion for the past with others (while carrying out my own research and writing on the side), then that's just as awesome. :)