Our first week of field school was spent learning how archaeology is practiced in the world of cultural resource management. For our second week we learned a little about archaeology and communities – archaeology and museums – archaeology and the public. The highlight of the second week was all the different people that we met.
We started the week with DNR archaeologist, Mike Magner. Mike gave us a lesson on surveying in the forest. He brought us to a very cool late 19th or early 20th century lumber camp deep in the woods north of Lake Roosevelt. He showed us how to map the site and record the features all the while talking about his job and the practice of archaeology in a government agency.
Next we joined up with students partaking in the American Indian Museum Fellowship jointly sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota Humanities Center. Our first day we excavated at the Lake Roosevelt site where the museum fellows were able to gain some hands on experience in archaeology. It was fun to watch my students and the museum fellows working side by side. The challenge for everyone was to try and gain a little perspective, a little understanding of other knowledge systems. I learned about carving pipestone and reading shadows.
After a day of archaeological fieldwork, we spent the next day at the Crow Wing County Historical Society Museum. It was a kind of exchange. The first day my students taught the fellows about digging sites. The second day the fellows taught us a little about viewing exhibits. After the exhibit we ate lunch and talked about story telling with Grandma’s scrapbook, the invisible and visible, and how to make a difference. Since we all had gone through the museum together we really had a chance to gain insight what others see. I am extremely grateful to the generosity of all the participants for their willingness to share their thoughts and feelings. It’s important dialogue to have even if we only had a few days together.