On the ESAF Conference: Jess Hendrix

During this year’s annual Eastern States Archaeological Federation (ESAF) conference, five members of the field school team from this past summer gave presentations. Shortly after this fall semester began we students from the field school learned that our beloved professor Dr. Dillian was a board member of ESAF. Not only did we learn that she was a board member on ESAF, but, much to our surprise, Dr. Dillian wanted some of the members from the field school to prepare and present presentations for the conference. So, five of us students agreed to this and we began to plan and prepare for the conference.

We left school on Thursday October 28th, at 6 o’clock in the morning!!! The five of us students and Dr. Dillian piled into the rented minivan and began our six-hour drive to Williamsburg Virginia, where the conference was being held this year. It was a fun drive, except for Meghan who is prone to getting sick on long car rides, poor Meghan. But, for the rest of us the drive was enjoyable and filled with good conversation from Dr. Dillian telling us of her many experiences in the field.

Once we arrived in Williamsburg we checked into our hotel where the conference was being held. That afternoon our group and other members of ESAF went to the historic site of Jamestown Virginia. We got a personal tour of the active excavations currently going on and we spoke with several of the head archaeologists working on the site, including Bill Kelso, who is the lead archeologist at the Jamestown site.

On Friday, we listened to many presentations on various topics revolving around archaeology that has been taking place in the eastern United States. That evening we practiced our presentations with Dr. Dillian and we attended the annual American Canadian Friendship Party. We were introduces to many working and retired archeologists, anthropologists, museum coordinators, professors, and many other people at this social event. We had a great time and it was the perfect opportunity for us, as students, to begin to network with important people in our various fields of interest.

Saturday morning we attended more presentations. Around noon, we began to set up for our presentations. I think most of us were nervous, but we were also excited at the same time, for this was the first time any us students had presented any kind of presentation at an academic level. Finally, it was time for us to present our presentations. First, Julia and Lindsey gave their presentation on the work our field school did at The Oaks in Brookgreen Gardens. Next was Meghan’s and Chris’ turn. Their presentation was on the old shipyard site that our field school worked at during the beginning of our field school. I was the last student to present. My presentation was on the work our team did at Yauhannah Bluff. Dr. Dillian ended our session with her presentation on the overall field school. Our presentations went great. I think everyone did an amazing job and I am very proud of our group. We attended the formal dinner that night for all of the ESAF members, which was delicious.

On Sunday morning we packed our things and listened to a few more presentations. Around 10:00 A.M. we piled back into the minivan for the journey home. Meghan had no problems on the way home because she slept for most of the trip. In fact, most of us slept on the way back, we were all extremely tired. The trip was a great opportunity. We students learned a lot and gained a lot of experience from this trip. We met new people and hopefully formed some lasting relationships. I would like to thank Dr. Dillian for all that she did including pushing us to go on this trip and present, getting us funding, and driving us “safely” there and back.

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