Produced by Aaron Kendall and Rachel Adkins
In conjunction with the Barbuda Historical Ecology Project (BHEP), an experimental and educational video project was carried out at the Seaview site in Barbuda, West Indies. The primary aim of this project was the creation of a series of short educational videos demonstrating the basic elements of an archaeological excavation (see videos below). The idea being that these videos would be made freely available to the public here on my blog, as well as on the HERC website, and easily accessed for use as teaching aides in introductory archaeology classes. Running concurrently with the excavation was an undergraduate fieldschool, funded by a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) NSF grant and organized by Dr. Sophia Perdikaris. The participating students were supplied with Flip cameras and asked to create their own video narratives over the course of the three week fieldschool. These narrative videos were intended to provide some insight into the success of the archaeology fieldschool and also enrich the student’s experience directly by forcing them to create their own narratives and not just be passive participants. Some documentation of the excavation, fieldschool, and video creation processes can be read here on my blog. The overall goal for the video series, student videos, and blog, was to provide a commentary on the integration of active learning concepts, aspects of social media, and video to disseminate information about archaeological fieldwork and enrich the learning experience of undergraduate archaeology students.
In terms of finding ways to effectively engage students in the learning process, participation in an excavation project is ideal. Archaeology fieldschools draw naturally from ideas regarding active learning experiences. Involving the students in the construction of knowledge through various forms of academic investigation, including fieldwork, provides a more grounded frame of reference for the students. Getting them involved on this level also serves to collapse the traditional distinction between student and teacher, as we work as a team in the process of excavation. All the tasks are of equal importance and everyone is involved in every step. The second part of the video project, arming the students themselves with video cameras helped bring their various perspectives to the surface. Allowing the students to express themselves through video and create something original that pertains to their experience effectively added to the learning process as they experienced it. At the same time these student videos provided valuable feedback to the teachers/supervisors and gave some insight into what the students found interesting and valuable. Hopefully the videos presented here will be useful to those interested in archaeological fieldwork and education. Engendering this type of multi-media educational experience within the context of archaeological research is stimulating for all those involved and easily replicable for other fieldwork projects.
Participating REU students: Cristine Bailey-Lagares, Karan Dua, Sant Hmuk Khalsa, Manuel Lagares, Grissel Olavarria, Jeannette Plummer, Rebecca Riggle, Lucretia Williams, and Lauren Witter
Thank you to Dr. Sophia Perdikaris and Dr. Matthew Gold for providing the technical, financial, and inspirational support that made this project a success.