Field School in Archaeology Pays Off in CRM

Samuel Sims

My very last act as a Kennesaw State University undergraduate was to fulfill my internship requirement. I chose to intern as a field technician at Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc. (EPEI) over the summer. It was exactly the hands on experience that I was hoping to gain.

Edwards-Pitman is a cultural resource management (CRM) firm that works mostly in Georgia. Being in archaeology class you often hear about CRM and if you have Dr. Terry Powis, it comes up often, due to his background in the field. Dr. Powis’ field school is even CRM based and that gave me a small taste of what it is like. But I must advise you, doing actual CRM work is like Dr. Powis’ field school but in overdrive and turbocharged! This internship allowed me to see first hand what all the hoopla was about.

Being a CRM field tech can be very fast paced and is almost always rugged. You may be walking behind sound barriers which haven’t been visited by a human being since they were erected. Or maybe it’s rural Georgia and you must trudge through thick vegetation only to run into a stream you must fjord. Or perhaps you are walking along a noisy interstate, feeling the full force of the sun for several miles. I say all this not to scare anyone away, but to give a real sense of what the hardest parts of the job entail. On the flip side, there are easy days. Often, large portions of shovel test are in paved, developed areas and those are simply written off as undigable. Other times you have ample time to do all the shovel tests for the day and you take frequent long breaks. Regardless of the work situation, the crew chiefs are very considerate of your well being and take environmental conditions into account.  This summer was freakishly hot with regularly high humidity, so the crew chiefs were regularly checking in with their techs, taking regular breaks and making sure everyone was hydrated.

The vast majority of my time was spent in the field, but I did get a small amount of time to work in EPEI’s highly equipped lab. My work there solely consisted of labeling and inventorying artifacts from past projects. This is pretty tedious work, but it’s essential that it is done correctly to ensure that the artifacts are curated properly. Though lab work isn’t my cup of tea, so to say, but I enjoyed doing it as it gave me a greater appreciation for the work. It also is a bug free, air conditioned work space which was a nice break from the field!

One of the coolest things about working in CRM is that you are actively doing preservation work. I truly believe that work itself is of utmost importance and the folks at Edwards-Pitman share that value. It is nice to work in a crew of like minded people and have an accomplished feeling that you’ve done work towards the greater good. I really enjoyed working with people of vastly higher skill level than me. I had a suitable, albeit amateur, skill level coming into this, but it gave way to so many learning opportunities. It seemed like at every turn I had a question and there was always someone there with a good answer. There is also a decent amount of commingling of people with varying levels of experience and/or education in the field. Being around these people gave me hands on experience that is inherently lacking in a classroom.

When I changed my major to anthropology I envisioned myself doing work that looks very similar to being a CRM field tech and I must say I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience, bugs, heat and all. Since my internship was the very last class I took, it felt very much like a
culmination of all my past experiences at Kennesaw State. My internship with Edwards-Pitman was the perfect, pretty ribbon to wrap up my college experience.

A Deep Dive Into the Past at Bulloch Hall

Molly Dangar

This summer I interned at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA. The site is located near the Roswell Mill, and was the childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, the mother of former president Theodore Roosevelt. The site showcases the Bulloch home as well as a garden, slave quarters, privy, carriage house, and two wells. Visitors can explore the grounds and learn about Roswell, GA, The Bulloch family, Theodore Roosevelt, and the way of life in the 1830’s.

Gwen Koehler, the Director of Education at Bulloch Hall, along with her coauthor Connie H., have published three books containing letters that the Bulloch family exchanged during the 19th century.  The books contain letters telling the story of the love affair between Mittie Bulloch and President Theodore Roosevelt Senior leading up to their wedding, the civil war, the couple’s move to Thee’s hometown in New York along with Mittie’s mother, and the hardships that the family faced during this time. These three books include letters between 1854 and 1864. For my internship I read, analyzed, transcribed, and digitized letters that were written between 1865 and 1869.  My college experience has involved printed textbooks and academic articles written by scholars, so it has been an interesting experience working with handwritten letters. Not to mention these letters are written in cursive with a fountain pen and inkwell, which now seems to be a lost art. After all of the letters are transcribed, Gwen and her coauthor Connie M. Huddleston will start the editing process and publish a fourth book containing letters written post 1965. In addition to transcribing letters, I had the opportunity to meet many docents (volunteers) at Bulloch Hall as well as some of the members of the different guilds that meet on the site such as the Gardeners Guild. During the middle of July Bulloch Hall hosts Camp Rough Riders, which is a day camp for kids ages 6-10 to come learn about the Bulloch and Roosevelt families, and do crafts relating to the time period.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bulloch Hall and wish that I could do it all over again. Being a student that is mostly interested in physical anthropology, I wasn’t sure what to expect while interning at a place that was more historically and culturally focused, but it was one of the best opportunities I have ever had. The ladies that work in the administrative office at Bulloch Hall rave about Kennesaw Students, and really know how to make you feel welcome. I did not feel like an intern while working at Bulloch Hall, I felt like family.

Internships are a MUST!

Anthony Calloway

For my final semester I chose to do an internship. From the very beginning of my course work I have always been interested in doing cultural research, I was given the opportunity to work with the homeless population in the metro Atlanta area this summer. I was able to work and perform ethnographic research at Must Ministries a nonprofit charitable organization located in Marietta, GA that operates a homeless shelter and outreach program. From the very beginning of the semester I was very excited to begin doing my first ethnographic study where I could begin to apply what I’ve learned during my course work at KSU, by studying and analyzing the behavior of the homeless (clients) through interviews, participant and non-participant observation in the hope of better understanding  this particular sub-culture.

I began my internship working in the intake section of the Elizabeth Inn shelter, which was at first overwhelming and exciting at the same time. In the intake section  I was able to conduct structured interviews with many of the clients, which went surprisingly well, since I didn’t have considerable experience conducting interviews, the structured interview did not require extensive training but it assisted in improving my overall interview technique as well as being an excellent way of building confidence for future unstructured interviews and field work. Working with and interacting with the homeless population helped me to gain a better understanding of the daily life of this sub-culture of our society by spending significant time studying their behavior. Later I worked in case management, where I was able to build rapport with many clients and conduct more extensive interviews with the clients which gave me a broader view of the homeless and what’s more, while working in case management I realized that each person’s situation was unique.

This internship has not only provided me with an  invaluable experience it  has also allowed me to have an one a kind experience not only from the stand point of applying what I’ve learned during my course work in the form of observations, interviews, fieldnotes all used to form conclusions based on data, but also by broadening my perception of the homeless, and obtain a more complete depiction of this sub-culture of our society.