Anthropology Major Sara Deurell Reflects on Recent Field School

Sara spent part of summer in Spain at an archaeological field school.

From the desk of Ms. Duerell:

This summer, through ArchaeoSpain, I attended the University of Valladolid's archaeological field school at Pintia.  The site is an Iron Age Celtic settlement, and excavation is currently focused on Las Ruedas Necropolis, used during  Vaccean (Celtic), Roman, and Visigothic occupations of the area.  We excavated two units, each of us spending some time digging and some time screening for artifacts.  In addition to pottery sherds and faunal remains, we found small pieces of cremated human remains, metal objects (brooches, pieces of weapons or belts, etc.), and canicas (decorated ceramic marbles, also traditionally buried in Vaccean graves).  During the final week, we uncovered a collection of intact vessels, including a funerary urn.  Even with only three weeks of fieldwork, we put in 150 excavation hours, not including the seminars on Vaccean culture, osteology, artifact processing and repair, archaeological drawing, and stratigraphy.  On our days off, we went on excursions to see, for example, the castle at Piñafiel, the Vaccean exhibit in Palencia, and the University of Vallodalid's rare and antique book library, as well as part of the university's anatomical collections.  We went canoeing one afternoon through a gorgeous canyon with cliffs full of birds' nests.  On our last full day, we visited an excavated Roman villa, as well as Altamira and Monte del Castillo, two caves containing 18,000-year-old paintings.

I couldn't have asked for a better field school experience, and I'm grateful to all the people who shared that experience with me--my hard-working fellow students and the always-informative Pintia staff, the staff of ArchaeoSpain and the University of Valladolid, and the kind and hospitable people of Padilla de Duero--as well as the people who made it possible for me to go:  the University of Louisville Department of Anthropology and the Etscorn International Summer Research Awards Committee.