Archaeologist from the University of Georgia in Athens visits the University of Liverpool

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Harold Mytum with Jennifer Birch from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Georgia in Athens

Earlier this month the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology hosted a visit from Jennifer Birch, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia in Athens, as part of a University of Liverpool/University of Georgia faculty research exchange scheme.

Jennifer’s research interests focus on the organizational complexity in the late prehistoric and contact periods in Eastern North America, reconstructing socio-cultural processes associated with the occupational histories of communities and regions.

Professor Harold Mytum said: “This exchange programme provides a vehicle for academic colleagues in both institutions to frame a robust and reflexive study of current field training to further enhance student learning. We particularly want to emphasise the links between professional practice, student experiences, and the development of skills suited for a variety of careers including but not exclusively those within archaeology and heritage.”

Jennifer comments that: “We are arguing that the process of authentic assessment and its impacts on perceptions of teaching and learning are central to our approach. We view the outputs of this project as encouraging reflexivity on the part of both students and instructors regarding student learning outcomes.”

Trial evaluation will be taking place this summer at Norton Priory with ACE students, and in Georgia with North American students from Athens and elsewhere. After this, a more wide-ranging data-collecting project will consider the varied objectives and outcomes across a larger sample of field schools, including other ACE projects.

Jennifer visited Norton Priory with Harold and co-director Rob Philpott to appreciate the heritage context of the ACE field training. She also presented one of her projects within the first-year Practice of Archaeology module to the students who will be taking part in the field training evaluation this summer.

Harold will meet the team involved with the Georgia field school training when he visits Athens as the details of the trial evaluation methodology and content are refined ready for implementation later this year. He will also offer some teaching whilst he is in Athens, including some cemetery memorial recording with students at a historic site adjacent to the campus and deliver a lecture in the Department of Anthropology’s Speaker’s Series.