One step forward, one step … forward

A TI-84 calculator atop a trowel
Suddenly I’m taking Statistics instead of Field Excavation

With coronavirus infections continuing to rage out of control, I was wondering when the on-site field excavation class I was taking this spring was going to get canceled. Yesterday morning I got the email: field class was canceled.

Fortunately, I’d been low-key preparing myself to take a statistics class (thanks, YouTube!), because I need it for the associate’s degree in anthropology. A quick search through available classes, leavened by some research on professors, turned up a class that meets the stat requirement: Psychology 258, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. I think archaeology is as much a behavioral science as a hard science, and frankly I’m much more interested in the human side of the numbers. For instance, charting the distribution of lithic artifacts in an area doesn’t interest me nearly as much as comparing that distribution to other areas and trying to work out what that means in terms of human behavior patterns.

Since that replaced a four-unit course with a three-unit one, I also added a Physical Geology class because I think basic geological knowledge will come in handy. So I’m taking two classes this spring, one of which moves me a step closer to completing the program.

I took another step closer earlier this month when I finally got around to locating, filling out, and submitting the online request form to have my 35-year-old college degree transcript from Cal State Fullerton evaluated!

The catch is, my college transcript is so old it’s only available as a paper document. With the pandemic, very few people (if any) are staffing college offices, so it might as well be a cuneiform tablet. It’ll be a while before one of the four copies I had mailed gets sorted into the appropriate bin and opened by an academic evaluator.

But, the form gets the process going, and now all I can do is wait.

In other news, I received my grades for the fall semester: Human Osteology, A; Intro to Archaeology, A; Intro to California Indians, A! A pretty heavy semester, with three major classes in my section, ended with a 4.0 cumulative GPA. That’s a whole bucket of not-bad.

Book cover: Doing Archaeology by Thomas F. King
The more I learn, the more excited I get

Between reading more of Michael Schiffer, I’ve been reading Doing Archaeology: A Cultural Resource Management Perspective by Thomas F. King, a leading archaeologist and CRM consultant. King’s book strips the mystique from commercial archaeology. But so far, everything King says just makes it seem more and more interesting. Working under tight deadlines? I can hear the Time Team theme song drums beating. Budget constraints? Right in my wheelhouse as a veteran guerrilla marketer. Collaborating with the enemy? Heck, every partnership is based on finding common ground and goals amid conflicting interests and resources. Evaluating something that’s properly the province of other specialists? What could be a better fit for a curious generalist with eclectic historical interests?

I’m currently taking a basic geology course through Open University as a preview of the actual class, and also continuing to learn statistics through Crash Course and Khan Academy. I’m also determined to get more literary reading done!

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