The Shift

Another excavation season has come and gone and it is now time for me to shift hats and become Latin teacher Andy again. I think this shift, more than the jet lag, is my biggest challenge mostly because I have so little time between the field and the classroom (i.e. zero days, I was in the classroom less than 24 hours after landing). These transitions are some of the worse things about my summers. They are abrupt and jarring and throw me through a loop. It is strangly fitting that our faculty retreat is focused on change today.

There are many things that happen with this shift, no longer am I making sure people drink enough water or looking for subtle changes in soil composition or trying to put together a complex Harris Matrix. But one of the big things about the shift is the lack of connections with my fellow school teachers and the loss of my dig people. I just spent 10 weeks with some of these people, and I mean with these people. We woke up together (not in that way you filthy minded reader), we broke bread together (sorry it is a Catholic school retreat), we worked, sweated, and bleed together and suddenly these people who were in my life 24/7 are gone. Now I am at school where everyone just goes to their own home after work and I to mine. I miss being able to clean up after work and then go have a beer with my fellow archaeologists.

Sure, time apart can be a good thing. I mean I’d be lying if I said that no one was bothering me at the end of the dig season. Sure people’s idiosyncrasies were starting to wear on me. But it only took a few days to reset and be ready again. I miss them and the data creation we did together. It is such an intense environment and the bonds created are so strong that this quick seperation is really painful.

I know we will all be back together soon but I’ll miss them until then. It is one of those feelings that you can never fully explain to a student going through their first field school but that is so viscerally apart of this whole experience. It is sad that some never get to experience it, but I am glad that I’ve been apart of it.


About handyatmurlo

I am a Latin teacher at Regis Jesuit High School. I earned my MA at CU Boulder and my BA at UMass Amherst. I have spent my summers working in Italy as an archaeologist at three different sites. One I have worked at for 10 years at Poggio Civitate at Vescovado di Murlo. I have worked at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome for 2 years, before the project ended. I also spent 2 summers at the FSU excavations in Cosa.
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