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Ariana Yanez Field Blog 3, July 1, 2019

Our last day of field excavation was June 25, and it brought a bittersweet feeling to me. I still wanted to excavate, but at the same time I missed home.  

Over these weeks, with Dr. Spenard’s coaching and guidance, my rusty classroom knowledge turned into valuable hands-on excavating skills. Participating in this field research in Belize definitely challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, physically and mentally. I learned how to pace myself to prevent dehydration, and I gained a lot of patience when collecting data on iPads for the first time. The experience and knowledge I gained in cave archeology and the Maya culture cannot be replicated anywhere else but here on site. All these honed skills and abilities will continue to help me in my archaeological career because they can be applied anywhere in the world.  
Arian and Mike in a Maya plaza in the ancient city of Caracol.Ariana and Mike in a Maya plaza in the ancient city of Caracol. 

I would definitely recommend students to have a field experience before graduating. The only way a student will find out if they really want to work in the field in the future is to have an experience like this. Fieldwork is completely different than being in a classroom, and the only way students will truly understand is if they experience it themselves. Faculty benefit from these opportunities, too. The faculty will be able to learn from student experiences and fine tune future field schools by receiving feedback from their students.