The Department hosted a visit from Dr. Harold Mytum, Department of Archaeology, Classics, and Egyptology and Director of the Centre for Manx Studies at the University of Liverpool. Harold is collaborating with Dr. Jennifer Birch, Department of Anthropology, UGA, supported by a UGA- Liverpool faculty exchange sponsored by the Office of International Education. Jennifer visited the University of Liverpool earlier in the semester.
Harold’s research interests concentrate on the archaeology of western Britain and Ireland from the Iron Age to the present, and aspects of global historical archaeology (17th-20th centuries), including linking research about the past with heritage issues in the present. He led students from the Departments of Anthropology and Classics through an experiential learning exercise in monument recording in the Old Athens Cemetery. Harold also gave a talk entitled When People Became Part of History: Material evidence for the Application of Linear Time in the British Isles and North America as part of the Department of Anthropology’s Speakers Series.
Harold said: “We first met at a conference session concerned with Biographies of Enclosure as my research on later prehistoric forts defined by timber palisades and earthworks coincided with Jennifer’s interests in palisaded Iroquoian settlements. However, we discovered that we both had a strong interest in the pedagogy of field training and decided that a collaborative approach to delivering this would be worthwhile. This exchange programme provides a vehicle for us to meet each other and academic colleagues in both institutions to frame a robust and reflexive study of current field training to further enhance student learning. We particularly want to emphasise the links between professional practice, student experiences, and the development of skills suited for a variety of careers including but not exclusively those within archaeology and heritage.”
Jennifer comments that: “We are arguing that the process of authentic assessment and its impacts on perceptions of teaching and learning are central to our approach. We view the outputs of this project as encouraging reflexivity on the part of both students and instructors regarding student learning outcomes.”
Harold and Jennifer consider that most field directors and instructors would agree that whilst field schools teach discipline-specific knowledge as well as broadly-relevant competencies, it is unclear from published studies how these objectives are tied to assessment and reflection during the field-school training process. We will be exploring the integration of these objectives within our redesigned student fieldwork. Trial evaluation will be taking place this summer at Norton Priory near Liverpool, and in Georgia with North American students from Athens and elsewhere. After this, a more wide-ranging data-collecting project will consider the varied objectives and outcomes across a larger sample of international field schools.