Anthropology Internships

Fri, Jul 16, 2010

Internship Information

Are you interested in anthropology? This post provided advice on how to find an anthropology internship. But what exactly happens on an anthropology internship?

As an anthropology intern, you can work either in the field or in the lab.  Elizabeth Orcherd, who studied anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder, is working as a field intern at the Crow Canyon Archaeology Center in Colorado. The center is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Pueblo Indians.  As one of two field interns this summer, Orcherd spends her days digging.  With only one other field intern in the program, she says, “There’s definitely more one-on-one attention, which is nice.”

Orcherd says they were most excited by the discovery of burnt corn and an axe. The public can also dig at Crow Canyon, so she learns how to clean up the site when they’re done and handle follow-up paperwork. Learning administrative tasks is “a good thing if we want to do this as a career,” she says. For her part, Orcherd plans to take the GRE and wants to enter a graduate program in anthropology or archaeology.

Another field intern is Noah Fribley, anthropology major at Grinell College. Fribley is spending the summer as an anthropology intern at Kaibab National Forest in AZ.   “I’d like to think there is no typical day here,” he says.

His responsibilities include monitoring and protecting the forest.  Interns do a lot of land surveying. They’ve worked a lot with watering holes for livestock in the forest. Fribley says, “Most of our time is spent outside, surveying areas of the forest previously unsurveyed or monitoring sites that have already been recorded.”

Anthropology interns can also work in a lab.  At Crow Canyon, lab interns analyze the findings of the field interns. Sediment is mixed with water, so organic materials, like plants, float to the top.  The interns examine the remains of those plants under microscopes to discover how the Pueblo Indians might have used those plants.  The interns learn about the historical environment of the site and the diet of the Pueblos.

Another anthropology student, Melina Giakoumis of Adelphi University, is interning this summer for Archaeology Magazine’s website. She works as an assistant to an Adelphi anthropology professor at a site in Greece. A team of physical and forensic anthropologists examines 3,000 year-old human remains at the site, determining age, sex, and whatever other qualities they can find. Giakoumis will write about her experiences for the web. She says, “My employers have given me quite a bit of responsibility and trust me to write articles that they will publish in their well-known online resource.”

On an anthropology internship, there are many different things to do. Whether you work with artifacts in the field or in the lab, as an intern, there are valuable hands-on opportunities in the profession.

By Danielle Bullen.Danielle is a writer and a resident of the Philadelphia area. Danielle can be reached at Daniellebullen@comcast.net.

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