There and Fighting Through Mordor to get Back Again…A Graduate Student’s Experience

By: Sarah Henley

Coming into the program I had a Bachelors degree in Sociology and little experience or knowledge about archaeology besides from what I learned on my own through volunteer work at a Civil War camp in Kentucky, a field school in Ireland, and books. My first semester I felt out of place because it appeared like everyone else knew so much more and had more experience than I did. However, I was not alone in the grueling stress of first year graduate work. After working my butt off through classes, the PHAST program, and other various experiences I no longer feel out of place. Plus, this past October I finally got to meet my mentor, Stefanie Smith, in person when I went to Athens, Georgia for the SEAC Conference. I found out that she and I were so similar in our experience it was scary but awesome. Overall graduate school has been one crazy, what feels like never ending, roller coaster ride of stress, sweat, blood and tears, and the occasionally random fun times.

My thesis, in a nutshell, involves investigating the manufacture and trade of Cypriot Red Slip ware (CRS) in Cyprus using portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF). I will be testing and comparing the elemental composition of CRS sherds, which date to the Roman and Late Roman Periods, and clay bed samples in Cyprus to determine possible manufacturing origins of the CRS. Then I will connect my results and data to Cypriot trade. Currently I am at a temporary stand still due to things that have occurred in my personal life, three classes and an increasing school work load, and working as a lab assistant 10 hours a week. It is frustrating because I really want to start writing my thesis, and I also have to prepare for my trip this upcoming May, to Cyprus, but what can you do? Life happens.

IUP Department of Anthropology

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