Some students chose Miami University because of its beautiful campus. Others chose it for the college town-feel of Oxford and the nightlife of Uptown.
Jillian Schwab, however, chose Miami so she could dig up buttons and coins on her own campus.
Schwab, a junior anthropology major with an archaeology minor, is currently taking ATH416, Applying Archaeology, which has students excavating and digging for artifacts in areas behind the McGuffey House throughout the semester.
“This is part of why I came to Miami, and it's been a good time,” Schwab said. “We found some interesting things. We found glass and nails, and it's been really cool.”
Schwab’s interest in fashion and textiles makes discoveries like a hair comb from the late 1800s an exciting moment. Schwab said the opportunity to handle real artifacts and learn from them is what made this class appealing.
“They are basically teaching you how to be a kind of human to the past, how to take care of what we find from the past and how to learn from that,” Schwab said.
The archaeology minor not only allows Miami students to get hands-on experiences while in Oxford, it also allows them to develop essential and transferable skills. Students can learn mapping in Geographic Information System (GIS) classes and how history is often a domino effect in museum classes.
Jeb Card, the associate teaching professor for the course, put archaeology into his own terms.
“Archaeology is going through dead people's trash so you can spy on them from the future,” Card said.
The archaeology minor crosses between disciplines to provide students with a variety of experiences. Students learn how to handle artifacts, discuss culturally historical topics and explore different theoretical frameworks within the discipline.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
Card said a large reason why he’s in the archaeology field is because of the unpredictability of fieldwork.
“One of the things I love about archaeology is it's not a formula,” Card said. “Being able to deal with a lot of uncertainty, being able to adapt and improvise in the field, all of those are very archaeological things.”
Along with the classroom content, students in the minor value the friendships and fun it can bring. From working together at the dig site outdoors to collaborating in the university’s teaching collection, students get a break from lectures and get an opportunity to work with their hands.
Sydney Davidson, a junior anthropology major with an archaeology minor, enjoys working with students who have similar interests to her.
“It’s just a really fun thing to do,” Davidson said. “There’s a lot of cool classes, and you meet some really cool people doing it with a lot of similar interests.”