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Allyson Butler believes that studying archaeology is a journey that opens new doors.
‘I love the idea that we can reconstruct and learn about the way past societies have lived,’ she says.
Allyson is studying a Master of Archaeological Science in the College of Asia & the Pacific. She remembers first hearing about the degree from another student, who spoke highly of the opportunities available at ANU.
‘It sounded exactly the type of degree I wanted to get involved in, and it’s been everything I wanted it to be.’
Allyson has embraced the opportunity to explore different areas of archaeology and has discovered a passion for building archaeology and historical archaeology. She plans to specialise in these areas in the future.
In 2017 she attended a field school on the island of Aniwa in Vanuatu as part of the Advanced Field Training in Archaeological Science course (ARCH8002). The course gives students hands-on experience working on remote archaeological sites and engaging with local communities. Allyson says the field school gave her the chance to practice different approaches to archaeology and learn from leading international scholars.
‘We did a variety of different types of field work: site recording, surveying, excavating areas with the aim to help establish the history of the Polynesian colonisation of the island.’
In the final week of the field school the students took charge of their own project.
‘My main focus was the 19th century missionary site on the island. I wrote a report for the class on this structure, and then took it further and did my own independent research project in the following semester on the cellar remains of the mission house that was on the island.’
Allyson appreciates the access she has had to the world-class teaching staff at ANU. ‘They are experts in their fields and love what they do. They are happy to offer advice and have a chat.’
After she finishes her Master’s degree Allyson hopes to continue her archaeological journey by completing a PhD.
Allyson’s advice to potential students is to ‘just go for it and get involved. Even if you’re not 100% sure where your interest lies, ANU offers such a variety of course and experiences through their different field schools that you’re able to try a range of things.’