Entry 1: Out of Our Comfort Zones

I am hoping to come out of this with a lot of new knowledge on life in Aboriginal communities and being able to learn more about their culture and history…

My hopes and expectations for the Barunga trip:

Just in general I am looking forward to being able to see the stars without too much light intervention and being able to experience being surrounded by a different culture than I am used to. Having said that, I am a little apprehensive about getting a bit of culture shock once arriving in the community, particularly concerning ways of life and differing gender roles, however I look forward to the challenge.

In terms of what I’m hoping to get out of this experience, I am hoping to come out of this with a lot of new knowledge on life in Aboriginal communities and being able to learn more about their culture and history (and also hoping to get some hints and tips about camping and fieldwork clothing/expectations/experiences etc. from those who have more experience than me).

I don’t have many preconceived ideas of what to expect other than the fact that it will be different than what I am used to, but I’m looking forward to just taking things as they come and working with what I’ve got.

Entry 2: Experiences and Challenges

The nightly bonfires have also been a really nice opportunity to make deeper connections with the community members and connecting through our skin names.

Half way through the field school I have definitely settled into the groove of camp life and have made some great friends along the way. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to take part in the surveying of multiple cemeteries and consulted with multiple TOs to make sure that we helping them with what they actually need. I’ve really enjoyed being able to connect with the local community. The sleeping and shower arrangements were challenging at first because of a lot of noises at night and the women’s showers being broken, but I have slowly gotten used to working around those problems. I’m also surprised that I haven’t had too much difficulty with the hot weather having coming from Adelaide winter conditions with the Barunga weather being over 30 degrees every day and in the low 10s at night. Really this whole field school so far has really helped me to see archaeology in a different way by working directly with the people within the Barings community. The nightly bonfires have also been a really nice opportunity to make deeper connections with the community members and connecting through our skin names.

Entry 3: Take Away Thoughts

I won’t miss the buffalo, but I will definitely miss the kids and dogs and the field team that I have been working with for the last week.

Overall this field school has been a great learning experience for me. Although there have been some challenges that I have had to overcome, the experiences I have had living with the people of Barunga has been truly worthwhile and have helped me to see the world from a different perspective.

I have found myself growing quite attached to the people within the community and their close (although complicated) connections with everyone else in the community and I love that I feel like I have taken part in the community to help them with anything I can.

I was surprised how successful this community archaeology venture has been and continues to be every year, and how it is a great example of learning about each other’s cultures and ways of life. I was able to participate in helping survey grave sites so that the community members can visit their passed loved ones more comfortably and I found that I got along well with the community members that we worked with for this project.

There is something about this community that makes you not want to leave.  I won’t miss the buffalo, but I will definitely miss the kids and dogs and the field team that I have been working with for the last week.