Friday, June 22, 2012

Childhood Aspirations - Archaeology and Art

On the Summer Blog Challenge, the following question was posed: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

There were two major careers that I had in mind when I was growing up: an archaeologist and artist. 

The latter was a career that I had thought of throughout elementary school and junior high. However, at the end of ninth grade, my parents said that artists don't make much money so it would be best to take classes that would better prepare me for college once I entered high school. That ended my dream career...after over ten years of thinking that was what I was going to do as an adult.

Even while considering becoming an artist, there was a time in sixth grade that I became very intrigued with archaeology. I thought that learning about people who had lived hundreds and thousands of years prior to now would be fascinating to study.

Basic Dig Kit
A basic dig kit that archaeologists use in the field.

It was easy to envision myself carefully digging in the ground to uncover artifacts...or even being part of a team that was uncovering an entire early civilization. I was significantly more interested in people, cultures, and communities than I was about prehistoric animal life.

Recently, I had an opportunity to travel with Sophia and Olivia to Mitchell, South Dakota, to see the Prehistoric Indian Village (PIV).

Olivia Looking at Sifted Items
Olivia examining items on a tray.
These were the sifted remains from the 
Prehistoric Indian Village.

The PIV is an active archeological site that has uncovered how Neolithic Native Americans lived over 1,000 years ago. These people lived during the era of earth lodges. Approximately 80 lodges are thought to have been at this site.

Uncovering Artifacts
This is the earthen floor in the Thomsen Center Archeodome.
It has two lodges that are in the process of being uncovered.

The Thomsen Center Archeodome has two full lodges on its exposed earthen floor; and includes a laboratory, darkroom, computer classroom, and video conferencing studio. 

Animal Burrow
On the day that Sophia, Olivia, and I visited the Prehistoric 
Indian Village, there was a person was working in this section 
excavating about 12 inches of clay. Once he got rid of the clay, he 
would be at the layer where the artifacts are located. At that 
point, an archaeology team will come in and uncover the artifacts 
and note where they are located in relationship to the lodge.

During the summer at the PIV, there will be an international team of archaeologists that the public can watch as they excavate 1,000+ year old artifacts. The archaeologists are from the University of Exeter (England) and from Augustana College (Sioux Falls, South Dakota). The next archaeology awareness day is July 14th.

Someday I would like to volunteer and do some work in archaeology. There's an interesting program that is open to the public through the USDA Forest Service called Passport in Time. It has a diversity of programs in varying duration throughout the United States. They even have some opportunities for children who are as young as ten years old.

Even though my childhood career dreams didn't happen as I had planned, doing arts and crafts as a hobby and hopefully volunteering with Passport in Time in the future will make the aspirations of my youth a reality as an adult.


Tima said...

Archaeology! Wow, that sounds like a great program. Thank you for your kind words on my blog. xxx

Domestically Seasoned said...

Who had more fun on your trip? the kids or you?

Kassie Groll said...

I have a little brother that is almost 9. Since he was 3, he's been telling everyone how badly he wasn't to grow up to be a "paleontologist -- They're archaeologists that study dinosaurs". It was so cute to see a 3 year old say that so matter of factly. At 4, I got him a dinosaur book as a souvenir and he insisted I not read it to him and he look at it himself because I wasn't pronouncing the names correctly. HAHA!!

Sara said...

What a great trip you took! Have you been a part of a discovery while on an archaeology trip?

Shai Smith said...

That's awesome!! VagabondHusband wants to get into archaeologist *now*, but didn't as a kid. lol. He's in school, actually...we'll see where he winds up.