Entry 1: Out of Our Comfort Zones

This will be my first archaeology field school and I know it will be great but also a challenge as I am inherently shy.

I am excited and nervous about spending a week in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. For me the whole purpose of this field school is to get out of my comfort zone and experience something new. This will be my first archaeology field school and I know it will be great but also a challenge as I am inherently shy. Many of my friends and family have asked me what I will be doing on this field school and I say I’m not sure. All I know is that I am there to help the community in some form and learn. However, I am not worried about all the details as I can go with the flow and adapt easily. I expect to learn a great deal about community life in Barunga, rock art, and all the intricacies of working with Aboriginal people. The rock art is said to be amazing, so I am looking forward to seeing some and learning about the interpretations of the art. I expect Barunga to be as big as my home town with a lot of space and I am interested to see how they compare. I love the outdoors and being amongst nature, so I am excited to see the beautiful landscapes.  I feel so fortunate to be able to go on this field school and experience what not many others can. It is a privilege to be welcomed into an Aboriginal community and I cannot wait to learn as much as possible.

Entry 2: Experiences and Challenges

It was great that we could bring some of the local kids along to see it as well.

The people in Barunga have been so welcoming and I am learning so much. I have been given the skin name Bulangan. I am now someone’s daughter, mother, aunty and sister. We are all family now. The kids are so friendly and fun to interact with. The woman’s showers aren’t working so the ladies are using the men’s when they are not in there and have made a sign to warn people. It is not ideal, but it will do.

We visited the Drupni rock art site which had some lovely paintings. It was a bit of a trek to reach it but we’ll worth it. It was great that we could bring some of the local kids along to see it as well. I have found my project to complete which will be recording historical buildings and sites around Barunga with Megan. It has been challenging to find time to speak with the elders about it, but we will make it work. Sleeping at night has been challenging with camp dogs barking, music playing and all sorts of noises. It has also been hard to find time to write in my field journal as there is so much housekeeping, cooking and learning to do. I have had to write late at night before I go to sleep which has not been ideal. I am looking for to the last couple days where we will hopefully be visiting some waterfalls.

Entry 3: Take Away Thoughts

I will miss all the ladies who have helped me to understand more about their culture. I now know all about skin and how family here is not limited to genetic relatives.

It has been an interesting week. I have learnt so many different things. I have made new friends and we have bonded over some of the experiences we have shared. I will miss all the ladies who have helped me to understand more about their culture. I now know all about skin and how family here is not limited to genetic relatives. I have really tried to listen and understand about the struggles in the community. Some of which make me sad. I have loved the challenge of combing learning about culture, completing a project that will benefit the community, serving food, doing dishes, and looking after the community members and myself. At stages it was overwhelming but overall I have really enjoyed how hectic this field school has been. The pace of community archaeology is much slower and all about putting the needs of the community first which is something I really like. I know and am thankful that this field school would not be possible without the relationship Claire and Jacko have developed with the Barunga Community over 29 years. It has been a pleasure camping in Barunga even with all the challenges I have had to face.