About a month ago I wrote about some difficulties I was having composing an appropriate syllabus for my incoming intern. A senior at the local college, she had worked in Mesoamerica and Italy, so I knew I needed to at least give her some context for the greater Southeastern United States. In addition, much of the archaeology in the places she worked is conducted by local laborers and grad students, so her interaction with artifacts was minimal. She also expressed an interest in museums-type work, such as making displays and researching artifact histories. With all this in mind, I put together a 12 week syllabus, planning about 3 weeks at a time in order to stay flexible. I suspect if I continue doing this, I’ll have the experience to design for the full 12 weeks all at once.
While I have always been averse to the use of textbooks in the classroom (I think they suppress pedagogical creativity), I chose Judy Bense’s textbook on SE archaeology because of its cut and dry presentation. Supplementing this reading, I’ve bookended her assignments with some late 19th century/early 20th explorations of a topic (say bannerstones) that are succeeded by modern anthropological studies of the topic (regarding bannerstones, WK Morehead vs. Sassaman). In this way, she gets not only a thorough review, but also sees how we are the architects of our own knowledge (her own phrasing).
In addition to her readings, I’m requiring she keep an up-to-date journal, which I review every 3 weeks or so, and she also has to design and implement her own special project, which should be didactic and relevant to the average citizen. It will ultimately be displayed at the local public library.
I’ll present the topics we’re covering below, they are in chronological order, and generally a week or two is spent on each:
Basic intro (registrar and cataloging)
Sorting, labeling, and identifying materials. Review of paleo and archaic artifacts.
Basic chemicals, coatings, and adhesives. Iron conservation. Woodland artifact review.
Bronze and copper conservation. Mississippian review (earlier lessons involved the Fatherland collection).
Artifact photography (ground stone tools, archaic points, bannerstones)
*Any Thoughts? Comments, etc, please let me know*