Anthropology: Celts, Romans, and Early Medieval Europe
On this trip, we viewed museum collections, archeological and historical sites important to understanding the long history of the Celts on the European Continent and the impacts of Roman expansionism. A sense of place, architecture, art, iconography and other features that helped with understanding the events that occurred in these key places. Day-to-day travel activities brought us into constant contact and interaction with people and cultures of modern Europe. This gave us the important experience of understanding operations in current living cultures and allowed us to see how Celtic ideas influence their descendant cultures.
China is a misunderstood country both in the West and in the United States. It is changing every day, and participants on this trip discovered a different outlook and understanding after landing in the country. They saw the overwhelming economic development, skyscrapers everywhere, over population, air pollution and traffic jams and learned why China implements a one-child per-family policy and the pros and cons of this policy.
This trip had two components, focused on two different, but entwined, streams of learning. Students could participate in either or both components.
The first component was designed to help students identify key phases in medieval buildings through an examination of their fabric, as well as to understand the events that occurred in these buildings. Students produced an accurate plan of a simple medieval building to scale through on-site survey. The selected sites were prime illustrations of materials and ideas discussed in the classroom (Castleology) prior to departure, and then reinforced in discussions during the visits.
The second component was designed to give students interested in archaeological excavation an opportunity to participate in an accredited international field school in Ireland, excavating a late-medieval tower-house castle in County Galway; i.e. the type of built culture they were introduced to during the Castleology class and/or the first component of the course. Students were taught to work on an excavation site in a safe manner, understand the nature of a site grid, use excavation tools with skill to produce clean surfaces, identify and record archaeological objects during the excavation process, identify obvious deposits and cut features, discuss their stratigraphic context, record data onto context sheets, and assist in drawing site plans, sections, elevations and profiles to scale.