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Career Research in Archaeology

Sureyya's Journey, Part 2


Library Stacks (University of Chicago)

Library Stacks (University of Chicago)

Kris Cohen
Career research is a vital part of any prospective career change. I.T. sysop Sureyya Kose has decided to change careers from Information Technology to Archaeology. In this part of Sureyya's Journey, she describes how she began to collect a background of information about her new career.

Sureyya’s Journey


I'm sure the reader would have already come to this conclusion, but I’ll mention it anyway. When you enter the tomb of archaeology, it only takes a few steps to find yourself in the largest library you have ever seen! There are books, upon books, upon books! They are everywhere, taller than the towers of Babel. The bookshelves disappear into the cosmos, full of information about humanity and its history. I’ve found that before I equip myself with a trowel or spade, I must first equip myself with a library card. The brain work, I’ve found comes first, and it seems to resume all throughout the journey. I need to know where to dig, why to dig there, how to dig etc.

I haven’t started College as of yet. It starts in February, and I thought I’d catch up and put all my past snippets of learning into context. I started buying a heap of books. I have to get an old VCR to watch more documentaries; most of them are in the old video format. There are so many great books out there, with such great ways of presenting the information that I found myself swamped with many that I didn’t really need to purchase. My savings account wasn’t looking too good. The library was a much, much better alternative. I know that seems to be an obvious observation, but those book stores have the prettiest and grandest history books; that it became hard to resist. I wanted to possess every book and build a big personal library. In any case, the lesson is learned.

The first thing I read, to start on this path is to read the About.com’s guide to Archaeology; K. Kris Hirst's entire site. That is, most of it. The site is like a pomegranate. Just when you think you’ve read it all, you find a heap of other articles that you’ve missed. It is very, very informative and should be the first point of call for anyone interested in the exact details of the job. Every question is answered for the initiate, whether it is which college to choose, to why cities are buried in the first place. So having read most of the ‘about.archaeology’ site, it gave me clues on where to start mining for my initial historic information.

Getting the Big Picture

From reading many books, and watching certain documentaries I have a general picture of history, but not the comprehensive, in detail, knowledge I need to acquire on each ancient civilization. So I’m reacquainting myself with the earliest civilizations. I initially wanted to begin with Mesopotamia, Egypt next, and the Indus Valley and China afterwards. I thought to lay the groundwork for my knowledge base. Well it began well, but the amount of information out there is staggering! The most staggering was the information on the internet. I was up reading into the wee hours of the night. One session I timed took nearly 9 hours of reading. I was dreaming history and books, and still am. Its great fun though, the discovery of it all. Yes, even the information overload. I have coffee and tea to thank, they were great pals.

The Rent Awaits No Person

So in conclusion, I am at the ‘library’ stage of the Journey. I’ll be in this library for quite awhile I think, before any exams, or essays etc occur, let alone field trips. I have taken breaks however, due to work. The rent awaits no person. I’ve have gone to my local Museum to see if I can get a volunteer job, on my days off. I want to work towards getting a ‘Museum Assistant’ job at the British Museum; you get to handle artifacts! It also has the greatest collection ever assembled of ancient art work and excavated material. I think I’d be able to live in that Museum. They wanted to employ people with previous Museum experience, and I thought I’d volunteer here, at the local National Gallery of Victoria; which has many great historic artifacts and art work from the past also. I’ve also gained experience on a ‘living museum’, for which I’ve been volunteering on and off since 2002. It is the Tall Ship Enterprize, a working replica of the Tall Ship that settled Melbourne in the 1830’s. It’s a great ship, especially if you love sailing 1830’s style like me. It gives you a ‘hands on’ view of the past. It also awakens my sense of adventure and love of history. I’m a deck-hand, who helps sail the ship and I take people on a historic tour of the ship whilst we sail out in the bay. It’s great fun. I’ve started photography as a hobby also, and have some photos that are of interest if one likes seeing pictures of old monuments, and excavated bits and pieces in a museum. If you live in Victoria and are interested in volunteering on the Enterprize, visit their web page.

It's great for experience gathering to work in museums and the like. Another interesting thing I’ve found is the Amelia Peabody series. Barbara Mertz writes as Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. She is an Egyptologist, turned writer. The books are archaeological detective stories based mostly in Egypt.

Till next time, take care and fare thee well.


More of Sureyya’s Journey

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