From the Field: by Madeline Topor

I’ve spent a week here in Peja after arriving for the field school in Kosovo and I’ve been able to experience many different aspects of both archaeology and the culture. Being a part of this field school has already provided so many opportunities to learn about the region as well as field survey. On one of our first days here we drove through the mountains and went on a hike to explore the landscape of Kosovo. I also learned more about the history of religion in this area when we toured the Patriarchate of Peć. It was really interesting to see the architecture and elaborate design of this Orthodox Church. Throughout my time here we’ve visited many museums and places around the city, which helped me to be more involved with the culture and language.


Madeline Topor sorts pottery in the lab.

After spending a few days in Peja, it was time to begin working on the project. I’ve participated in all aspects of the project, such as digging shovel test pits, working in the museum, and field walking for survey. I learned a lot about archaeology from experiencing these different techniques. First I was doing shovel testing, where I got to help test whether the soil in an area contains artifacts that aren’t visible from the surface. It was really interesting to put the soil through a screen to see what objects are found in each layer of the pit. I also spent time working in the lab, which I really enjoyed because I got experience working with ceramics and I learned a lot about sorting them. I thought it was fun to work with sherds from a wide range of time periods, spanning from the Neolithic up to more modern times. Finally, I’ve been field walking with a survey team to look for surface objects in fields (or tracts) throughout the region. Walking in straight lines, each team member picks up any cultural material they see on the surface to collect information about the type, location, and distribution of artifacts over a large area. I think it’s exciting to go out into the field to see what objects and sites are still undiscovered. Overall, I’ve had a great experience with this field school and I’ve been able to learn a lot about archaeology and become involved with the culture here in Kosovo.