Moundville, AL is a prehistoric site, inhabited by Mississippian peoples from about AD 1000 to AD 1450. It features 29 earthen mounds, dwellings used to sit on and around. (read more about it here. ) I was not aware of this fascinating place until I read about it in one of my classes “Buried Cities and Lost Tribes.” It was a small section covering the mound-building societies in the US and it compared and interpreted sites like Cahokia and Moundville. I stared at the page and thought “This in my state – less than 2 hours away from me and I HAVE to go there.” So I did.
Very recently I have had the privilege to work alongside other anthropology/archaeology students from the University of Alabama. Specifically, I get to work in a lab washing and sorting broken prehistoric Native American artifacts. I am so overly excited for this opportunity I can’t even see straight! The work is really tedious and dirty (as in I leave with my hands waterlogged and embedded with ancient dirt) but I don’t mind. It is giving me the chance to learn what to look for, how to interpret findings, and learn about the cultures.
The Office of Archaeological Research (OAR) performs a lot of functions for different clients. Anything from site preservation/excavation, surveys, and museum curation. They also work in close collaboration with multiple Native tribes in order to repatriate remains and objects to their rightful owners – which I’m very hopeful to observe and one day participate.
“Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.”
― Marcus Tullius Ciceroobtained from Goodreads
My goal and greatest hope while studying archaeology and cultures both past and present, is to unify people, to enjoy the richness of relationships among diverse people through collaboration efforts, and to share stories that inspire good. I want to see the world through different lenses. My own view can become clouded and narrow when I stay inside my own familiar corner. The only way to learn and understand history and present day society is to examine it from multiple angles and seek unbiased truth.