From Archaeology to Archives
Growing up, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up (and I didn’t simply say “I don’t know”) I usually replied with a job that dealt with history. For the longest time I specifically planned to be an Egyptologist. When I graduated from high school and started at Wright State, however, I had no clue what I would choose to study. That was until I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test and my results indicated that I might choose to study a major that was geared towards my passion of history. That is when I decided to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology.
Finally, with a plan and career path in mind, I focused on the archaeological side of anthropology. For several summers, I participated in the archaeological field school under Dr. Robert Riordan at Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve. It was through this experience where I found that little Lauren was right and that I love archaeology. Touching an object, whether it was a projectile point or the pieces that came off from making a point (a flake), that has not seen the light of day for over 2,000 years makes you appreciate how short our lives really are. Blink then it is over, and someone 2,000 years from now will be excavating our bones and trash while hypothesizing how we lived. For a couple years, I wanted to continue to chase this feeling and be an archaeologist.
So if I loved archaeology so much, why I am pursuing an archival career?
Thanks to another archaeology class, taught by Dr. Lance Greene, I did research on the land that Wright State is situated on. I learned about the families that used to live on the land that I walk around all the time. We would explore the woods and look at the Rockafield Cemetery that is at Wright State, named after the family that used to own the land WSU is on. While still applying archaeological skills by looking for former foundations around the woods, I was able to look through documents that helped stitch the pieces together. After that, I then became an intern for the Special Collections and Archives at school. I did many projects but I always enjoyed cleaning and helping preserve some of the older ledgers. The idea of preserving objects for future eyes to appreciate just as much as I do gives me a stronger sense of purpose. And know you know why I chose to follow the archival, or even museum, path.
I really miss the unpredictable nature of archaeology. I come to my internship knowing what I will do and having an idea of what I will come across. Digging is more random. I could have come across a significant artifact or absolutely nothing. I also made a lot of memories and met a lot of people that I often think about. However, I love archiving more. I like the researching aspect and preserving the past for the future. So that is how I have ended up interning here at Warren County’s Special Collection and Archives.
One thing I know so far is that I seem to circle back to learning about Warren County’s history, whether it is prehistoric or more recent.