Perspectives From A Future Archaeologist: Eleanor Barnett-Wright

Thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing company for a very short few weeks, I now know that archaeology is in my future.

Ellie holding a Turk's head pipe
Ellie holding her favourite Turk’s head pipe

As a high school student nearing the end of my time in secondary education, I was tasked with deciding what I would like to do during my one-month co-operative placement block. The goal was to explore a career path that we thought we might follow, or would like to try in order to allow us to either confirm or narrow suspicions of the answer to the big question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I knew that as I finalized my university preferences, I would want to combine my passion for history with my abilities across a broad base of sciences. I knew that archaeology would be the perfect way to combine them, as I found the idea of bringing a perspective derived from biological remains and adding them to those derived from other cultural artefacts fascinating. My amazing global studies teacher took my atypical (neither “marketing” or “medicine”) request in her stride, finding and calling ASI to ask them if they would consider taking an untrained, and inexperienced grade eleven student as an intern for four weeks. For some reason, and luckily for me, they said yes, and seven exams later, I found myself embarking on my first commuting experience into the office to start work.

My main task at ASI was the continuation of the processing of artefacts from the historical Thompson Neighswander site. I was first trained in washing and later sorting, and I got to experience the beautiful and interesting artefacts from the rich site, always asking Alexis, Caitlin, or Danielle about what I was washing.

I came across many fascinating items, including a decorated metal hunting button, a completely intact pipe effigy of a Turkish man, and, my personal favourite, an adorable small little decorated ceramic button.

The Thompson collection was the perfect way to initiate me into the history and archaeology of Ontario and the exploration into the masses of artefacts to be uncovered and analyzed. I was also lucky enough to go out in the field with Alexis, where we did a cemetery investigation in a beautiful historic graveyard. I had the opportunity to interview Andrea, who shared with me her journey to becoming an archaeologist. Her work bridges the gap between the archaeology and the use of science and technology to further research and investigation, something that greatly interests me.

Ellie- transferware- small
Blue transferprint ceramics and a machine-cut nail

I am so grateful to everyone I worked with during my time here at ASI, as I was constantly asking questions and everyone was very patient with my lack of knowledge and experience. I learned so much from everything I experienced at ASI, from the commute to the artefacts themselves. Thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing company for a very short few weeks, I now know that archaeology is in my future.

Written by: Eleanor Barnett-Wright