In the second of our internship series of blogs Kelsey Gamble asks how will interning help your career?
Interning and Your Career – Kelsey Gamble
If there’s one thing I’ve realised in my path to a career in archaeology, experience is worth its weight in gold! My intention in choosing to intern was to get hands on experience I could use to help me apply for employment with commercial archaeology firms back in the US. In only three weeks as an intern with the IAFS I had already experienced many facets of working at an archaeological site, from general excavation to recordation and registration of features and artefacts. While these experiences are not new due to my status as a returning alum of the IAFS, the scope of my responsibilities were far greater. I worked ‘one on one’ with an archaeological supervisor in excavating a single discreet area, or cutting, on site and got to assist in teaching first time field school students general excavation techniques and procedures.
Through this one on one mentorship dynamic I learnt more than just how to perform and teach archaeological skills – I started to think about archaeology in a more comprehensive way. Archaeology is more than just dig here, trowel there, neat finds! In the field, all the features on site are recorded in detail as separate and distinct events, but they are all still a part of a bigger picture. Working alongside my supervisor I began to interpret the evidence uncovered. For example, a wall is more than an organised pile of stone; it is a complex series of choices made by human agency to serve a purpose. That purpose could be constructing a wall, arch or something else entirely. Alternatively, it could be the systematic destruction of a wall when quarrying for reusable construction materials, where every bit taken and left behind represents a deliberate choice.
The more I was exposed to and learnt about archaeology at the Irish Archaeological Field School, the more definite I was that this was the right path for me. There’s just one hiccup, but it’s positive not negative! The overall academic atmosphere encompassing the field school has inspired me to rethink my immediate plans to join the commercial sector of archaeology. This internship has helped me realise, the farther removed I become from academia, the more I long for the excitement and the intellectual challenge of research. So, with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees already complete, I’ve begun searching for PhD programs beginning for the 2018/2019 academic year. In the interim the gap year will give me time to apply for programs and funding at a more relaxed pace.
The ultimate endgame for me in my search for a career in archaeology would be a research position at a University or Museum working with an archaeological osteology collection. My path to this end is ever changing and not always clear, but I am excited nevertheless.