My Adventures as an Archaeology Intern

My Adventures as an Archaeology Intern

I am Lauren Nowakowski, and I have been an intern at the Ohio History Connection since Fall 2018. Currently, I am a senior at The Ohio State University. It is exciting, but also nerve racking, when you are not quite sure what the future holds.

I am double-majoring in Anthropology and Psychology with a focus on Archaeology. As of yet, I have not applied to Graduate School, but that is in the books for the future.

Over the past two summers, I participated in two different field schools: one in Trim, Ireland, and the next in Blue Creek, Belize. In Ireland, I worked with classmates from Ohio State to help excavate a medieval monastery known as the Blackfriary. You can learn more about the Blackfriary Archaeological Field School here.


In Belize, I spent the first two weeks learning scientific illustration of plants, animals, and artifacts. The next two weeks I spent excavating a Mayan site in the jungle. There we lived in small cabins with no electricity or running water! You can learn more about the Blue Creek Archaeological Project here


Working at these sites cemented my love for archaeology and I hope to turn my passion into a career. My academic interests are Mayan archaeology, pottery and lithic illustration, North American archaeology, counseling therapy, and wilderness therapy. In my free time, I enjoy painting jeans, making jewelry, and embroidering jean jackets.

Now to give a bit more background on my connection to the museum; the Ohio History Connection focuses on the history of Ohio, the people who have called this land home, and how they have shaped the present. I am the Ethnographic Collections Intern and I work in the Archaeology Collections Facility. Ethnography is defined as, “the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures”. This is exactly what the collections encompass, items from all over the world with connections to many different cultures!

So, what does all this have to do with Ohio History?


Many of these objects were donated in groups (a collection) by one person or a family. These often were prominent citizens of Ohio who had enough money to travel when transportation and photography were much more exclusive than they are today. Either as a hobby or simply to show their wealth, folks would bring home objects to reflect their adventures abroad and donate them to the museum.

But not all collections fall into this category. Other collections are the result of colonial military campaigns. Others are the result of graduate students traveling to do research.

I am working my way through drawers and boxes of objects and photographing them. This is a multi-year project to catalog and deaccession a portion of these amazing items to another home where they can be put on display and/or used by researchers. There are a ton of incredible finds in storage and I will highlight some of them in blog posts in the future!



Posted February 19, 2020

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