Bridget Murray ’17 Uncovers the Past on Tennessee Campus

Posted August 12th, 2015 at 10:40 am.

Credit: Hollis Bennett

Credit: Hollis Bennett

“I knew if I wanted to work in archaeology, I needed to attend a field school,” explains Bridget Murray ’17, an anthropology and linguistics double major. Her summer internship at the Sewanee Environmental Institute’s Summer Field School in Archaeology provided her with hands-on experience—and the chance to reinforce just how much she enjoys the field.

Housed at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, the program is an intensive summer course in archaeology methods and practice. The program began with work in prehistoric Southeastern archaeology at Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park, but most of Bridget’s summer was spent at an excavation unit on campus.

Working at Rebel’s Rest—a post-Civil War-era house in the heart of the university’s campus that burned down last summer—Bridget got a taste of real-world archaeology. “Working in the field was new and thrilling,” she says. “I worked on excavation units, learned how to record excavation information and draw maps, got some experience with geophysical field surveys, worked with artifacts in the lab, and collected and interpreted soil samples.”

The excavation, which followed the disassembly and salvage of what was left of the 148-year-old building, provided researchers with the opportunity to explore the remains of the structure and its grounds.

“Rebel’s Rest was the first building constructed after the university re-opened following the Civil War and was an important historical landmark for both the university and the town of Sewanee,” explains Bridget. “So, we had lots of visitors and volunteers coming in and out and asking about the site and the work we were doing.”

The internship more than met Bridget’s expectations: she had been considering a job in one of the state or national park systems, but is now eyeing graduate school and a career in research. Whatever path she chooses, her time at SEI’s Field School has equipped her with the skills she’ll need. “I absolutely loved my time in Tennessee,” she says, “and am so grateful to have had this opportunity—and for all the doors it has opened.”

To learn more about what Bryn Mawr students are up to this summer, visit the Summer Internship Blog.

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