This field school has thus far for me been a series of firsts. Not only is it my first time being involved in a formal archaeological survey project, but it is also my first experience with travel outside of the United States. I chose to pursue a career in archaeology out of an urge for exploration, and a fascination with experiencing cultures first hand that are different from my own. My experience in Kosovo has by all means fulfilled these interests for me. It is more than fair to say that I am absolutely enamored with this country. From the breathtaking geography, the sweet and amicable people, and the incredible food, Kosovo has made me feel far from home, yet completely comfortable and welcomed. Here I have eaten incredible baklava, hiked along the beautiful mountain trails, played cards with incredibly smart and wonderful graduate students, somewhat learned to (very poorly) speak Albanian, and made friends with many local people I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. This has been a very memorable experience for me, and more than anything I wish we had more time to spend in this gorgeous country.
Besides the incredible cultural experience I’ve had during my short time here, I have also learned a great deal about archaeological practice, and garnered a wealth of knowledge, in Balkan archaeology specifically. I applied to this field school with the main goal of broadening my spectrum of possible roads to take for future research. There is an inconceivable amount of material that can be studied in archaeology, and as of now I am conflicted as to where exactly I would like to take my education and my career. I saw this field school as a way to experience a variety of different subjects and archaeological methods and thus to hopefully narrow my interests. Since my interests so far in the field of archaeology mainly concerned North and Central American archaeology, I had little to no background knowledge in Balkan archaeology when starting this field school. I could barely tell an artifact from a rock, and had an incredibly hard time identifying and dating the pieces of pottery that the survey teams were finding. However, through work in the museum to identify and categorize types of ceramics, days of surveying for any and all artifacts, and an overwhelming amount of help from the graduate students and Dr. Galaty, I have learned and applied a massive amount of information in a very short time span. I am excited to take part in what the rest of the field school has to offer.
This field school has been a powerfully educational experience for me, but being in this beautiful country with such an amazing team of people and doing exactly what I love to do has made it hard for me to think of this as anything less than a exhilarating adventure.