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Autumn Baker’s (ANTH ’14) Summer Experience in Romania

Posted by: Melissa Page | October 1, 2013 | No Comment |

Autumn Baker received an Anthropology Fieldwork Award during Summer 2013 to attend an archaeological field school in Bradesti, Central Transylvania, Romania.  The program was a funerary excavation program studying the village’s medieval church and adjacent cemetery.  A first-person account of her experience is below.

100_3542Attending the five-week long Osteology program in Transylvania, Romania this past summer is easily the best academic and personal decision I have made in my college career. My experiences, both cultural and archaeological, opened my eyes to the wealth of diversity and opportunity available for further research.  From this venture I have solidified my plans to return and continue spreading awareness of Eastern European contributions to the historical record.

Before ever visiting Romania, I knew that I possessed a fervent desire to partner with local and international scholars in an effort to increase academic awareness of the region’s significance. During my time abroad, I established strong professional connections with archaeologists and historians working at the local Haáz Rezső Múzeum.  I also developed a network of peers working toward higher degrees in archaeology, history, anthropology, and osteology at universities around the United States and abroad.  Through these connections I now have a solid base of international support with which to continue my archaeological work on medieval churches and their role in the religious, social, and political landscape of rural Romania.

I have also developed a better understanding and appreciation for the social complexity found in Romania, learning for the first time about a subculture of 265ethnic Hungarians living in a region known as the Székelyföld. Living among the Székely folk was my first experience in being part of a minority group. Speaking neither Hungarian nor German, I learned to listen carefully and pay close attention to the interactions occurring around me. By the end of our stay I had acquired several words and phrases of Hungarian, as well as a basic comprehension for how to react to different social situations. Learning about the Székelyföld has opened up an entirely new avenue of future study for me as I seek to raise awareness of the exciting discoveries waiting to be revealed.

Autumn’s experience was made possible, in part, by donations made to the Anthropology Fieldwork Award fund.  If you would like to contribute to student opportunities such as Autumn’s, please see our website at http://sociology.cofc.edu/giving/index.php.

under: Student Spotlight

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