Lost Churches Project:

Medieval Funerary Excavation

2013 Evaluation

Pre-Arrival

 

Did the project staff provide you with enough information beforehand to organize your packing and travel for the project?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          1          5          7          7          Overall Average: 80% (4/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants present at the time of the evaluation)

 

 

Was the pickup arrangement made prior to the project adequately seen to by the project staff?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          1          3          3          12        Overall Average: 7% (4.3/5)

Evaluation participation: 86% (19/22 participants)

 

 

General Logistics

 

Were the living accommodations by the project adequate for your needs?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          0          0          20        Overall Average: 100% (5/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Were the meals provided by the project adequate for your needs?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          0          3          17        Overall Average: 97% (4.8/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Did you encounter any problems with the accommodations, food, or travel?

 

Yes: 11% (2 participants)

No: 89% (16 participants)

Evaluation participation: 82% (18/22 participants)

 

 

Lectures:

 

Were the anatomy classes (if applicable) informative and useful?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          0          2          7          Overall Average: 95% (4.8/5)

Evaluation participation: 75% (9/12 participants - only 12/22 participants took the anatomy classes)

 

 

Were the formal lectures presented informative and useful?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          0          7          13        Overall Average: 93% (4.6/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Were the formal lectures presented interesting and engaging?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          0          7          13        Overall Average: 93% (4.6/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Did you find the supplementary materials (i.e., handouts, readings, Dropbox files) informative and useful?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          1          8          11        Overall Average: 90% (4.5/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Excavation:

 

Were the instructions provided by the project staff in the field clear and helpful?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          3          2          8          7          Overall Average: 79% (4/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Did the project staff offer you a thorough theoretical understanding of the methods being employed?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        1          4          3          9          3          Overall Average: 69% (3.5/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Did your participation in the project offer new understanding of the archaeological field methods?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        1          1          1          8          9          Overall Average: 83% (4.2/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Did you feel actively engaged in all aspects of data collection in the field?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          3          3          7          7          Overall Average: 82% (4.1/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Overall:

 

Did you feel overall intellectually engaged and challenged with your work?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        1          1          4          7          7          Overall Average: 78% (3.9/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Was the project staff able to adequately answer all of your questions?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          1          5          6          8          Overall Average: 81% (4.1/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

Were your interactions with the Romanian staff informative and helpful?

 

         Poor        1          2          3          4          5          Outstanding

Evaluation:        0          0          5          9          6          Overall Average: 81% (4.1/5)

Evaluation participation: 91% (20/22 participants)

 

 

Last thoughts:

 

Please provide us with your thoughts on what you found most rewarding about your bioarchaeological experience on the project.

 

  • Actually getting to excavate human remains for the first time was amazing.

  • The best part of this field school was the freedom allowed to the inexperienced students. We all participated in every aspect of the digging, excavation, and recording processes, and we were allowed to make a certain number of (minor) mistakes and ask many questions, ranging from stupid to great :)

  • Meeting people who are interested in the same things, as well as willing to help you succeed.

  • I have never done an excavation before, so it was helpful + rewarding to learn what a dig is like. I also enjoyed helping local people learn more about their history.

  • I did not feel as though the archaeology side of this trip was thoroughly fulfilled. The Romanian culture aspect of this trip was! Meeting new people and travelling throughout Romania was most rewarding.

  • I found the ability to work in the field and learn most parts of data collecting to be really rewarding. I learned so much from my interactions with the staff and from the cultures as well. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience.

  • This dig sparked a passion in the bioarchaeology and osteology field! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Jon and Anna’s knowledge was very helpful to a novice like me.

  • There is a large volume of bodies, which allows for lots of hands-on experience. Kirsty is great at what she does and is very informative.

  • Working with skeletal remains was a unique opportunity and an excellent introduction to the intricacies of field work.

  • I learned a lot about archaeological techniques + burial practices through this experience. The site at Lueta really let us try out everything we learned + we were proud of what we were able to do.

  • I feel like I know how an archaeological dig works a little better.

  • This was my first experience with human remains, and learning how to handle bones with respect was definitely new and rewarding.

  • Gaining further, more specific experiences and to meet valuable people who work in the field.

  • I found my interactions with my fellow students to be the most rewarding. Most were passionate about archaeology, despite a general apathy towards the project itself.

  • Most rewarding would have be firstly the people I met. Overall everyone got along which doesn’t happen very often working in large groups. Also, just the opportunity to work in areas we did and visit the not-so-touristy areas (thank you Andre and Zsolt). Such a unique experience!

  • It was great to learn from such an involved Field Director. Kirsty was awesome.

  • I really enjoyed the whole project, it was excellent.

 

 

Please provide us with your thoughts on how the project might be improved as a field student experience

 

  • More intermediate help. Squash the bad attitudes of laziness. Spend a day teaching digging techniques to new people.

  • A quick tutorial at the beginning on the basics of field work wold help. Perhaps a little background on the customs of the area too.

  • Possibly another field director in addition to Zsolt & Kirsty. There were a lot of us (up to 23 students at times) and it’s hard for two people to get around to see everyone quickly.

  • Better organization and more communication. Tougher leadership.

  • To qualify as a student experience, one must be a student and thereby learning. Kirsty was great, but overworked, managing too much for too many people.

  • There needs to be more staff to students. I received hardly any time with staff, unfortunately, to carry over to an archaeological site excavation.

  • I wouldn’t suggest this to people prior field experience. Also, the methodology differs greatly from other digs.

  • More leadership + clearer communication among staff would have made for less confusion among the students.

  • More instruction.

  • I think having one more Project Director or one other representative of ArchaeoTek permanently on site would get more out of the students in terms of graves excavated and information passed on to us, but otherwise it was wonderful. Kirsty was absolutely wonderful + helpful + took time to explain everything.

  • I believe a full day spent before the field work on how to properly do field work would have benefited everyone and ultimately save time for ours and Kirsty’s sake. Less mundane questions would have been asked and more time for detailed archaeological excavation would been had.

  • I think maybe one way to improve the project would be to have one or two more staff members in the field to help answer questions and help students (especially) to do the mapping.

  • As a novice, I had to ask the people around me for help since the Trench Leaders were always so busy.

  • It felt a little unprofessional, I mean not the way my classes described it.

  • Twenty-plus students in the field requires more than one director – especially when we are mainly novices. Kirsty was run ragged and we had a fair amount of waiting time to do the paperwork. You must have 2 or more field directors next time.

  • More TA’s to Kirsty in the field. She was amazing but couldn’t be everywhere at once.

  • It seemed Kirsty was spread a bit thin at times trying to help all of the students (don’t get me wrong, she did a spectacular job!!!)

  • There need to be more people between supervisors and the students. The supervisors are stretched too thin and some students need constant supervision/instruction.



ArchaeoTek's thoughts:

  • We came to realize that the dynamics of a funerary excavation might be slightly different from a "normal" dig and we will increase significantly the staff:student ratio for the next year. However, there were two permanent Field Directors for an average of 22 participants (except for about 4 days – even Field Directors can get sick…), which give a field ratio staff:student to 1:10.

  • In terms of excavation techniques, ArchaeoTek’s goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to acquire experience and this can only be achieved through hands-on, direct engagement with the site. We believe that “on the job training” is more useful than theoretical field methods classes. The staff is always available to answer your questions, but you need to actively interact with us: we don’t believe in “force fed” or “default” knowledge. We much prefer to address individual issues as they are presented to us. We believe that being a good excavator requires two fundamental things: being able to micromanage a never ending succession of situations happening at the end of the trowel AND being able to recognize what is relevant at the end of the trowel - neither aspect can really be formally taught, they need to be experienced to become knowledge.

  • As far as formal instruction goes, there was a mandatory 3h introductory lecture given the first day by A. Gonciar covering the culture history, context and archaeology of the region; followed by a non-mandatory intensive human anatomy and morphology class and laboratory (ca. 25h) taught by Dr. J. Bethard during the first two weeks of the excavation designed to theoretically contextualize the excavation of human remains at the grave level; and finally, mandatory individual lectures (ca. 6h) offered by Dr. K. Squires during the last three weeks of the excavation, for an approximate project overall average of 6.8h of formal instruction per week.

  • Because of the organization of the excavation and lectures, we realized too late that the participants arriving only for the last 2 weeks of the project had a harder time to integrate themselves in the team and keep pace with the participants that were there for the full 5 weeks. For this we sincerily apologize and will remedy the situation next year.

 

Would you recommend this project/workshop to your peers?

 

Yes: 72% (13 participants)

No: 5% (1 participant)

Maybe: (23 participants)

Evaluation participation: 82% (18/22 participants)

WHAT'S UP?
LAST EVENT

NEW PROJECTS

 

  • The outstanding success of our 2018 and 2019 GPR projects, the Applied Field Geophysics Workshop - GPR Applications, prompted us to buy a second GPR unit with a different central frequency and a different configuration. As a result, our participants will have the unique opportunity to get fully proficient on a 250MHz GPR system, in a cart configuration, as well as 500MHz system, in a rough terrain configuration.

  • Furthermore, participants who are committed to expand their field skill set can register to our new Geophysics Exploration and Field Excavation program. It is a 4 week program, combining the GPR Applications Workshop (5 days) and  Roman Villa Excavation (3 weeks). Participants save $200 over the combined costs of the individual programs.

2020

New for our 2020 season: our Applied Field Geophysics Workshop-GPR Applications will allow the comparative professional training on the core GPR systems and configurations used in near surface investigations: 250MHz and 500MHz transducers, in respectively cart and rough terrain configurations. Our program is open to all disciplines, focusing on GPR theory, methods, techniques and applications.

 

As a result of overwhelming positive response and further request from our participants, we are offering the possibility to combine all sessions of our the GPR Applications Workshop with both field sessions of our Roman Villa Excavation as a stand alone program, allowing to save $200 on the combined fees. Our two research/training case study sites have been carefully chosen to combine increasing complexity of ancient, historical and modern features. These sites provide an unparalleled access to a diverse set of features and conditions.  We address urban and proto-urban settlement construction, complex anthropogenic stratigraphic relationships, variation in soil structure and conditions, wide range of materials and their use/reuse, unmapped ancient and modern utilities, potential graves, modern and ancient civil works projects (including the remains of roads, aqueducts, and wells), changes in hydrogeological environment caused by modern human intervention, and all as-yet undiscovered features. The highest quality for the best price on any GPR courses available anywhere!!!

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