Archaeology Personal Statement

Visiting historic sites, such as Ephesus in Turkey, has been a pastime in my family for generations but the hands-on approach of archaeology and the research into material culture appeals to me. I find that archaeology gives a more accurate portrayal of how our ancestors lived and their societies. To me, the allure of archaeology is the ability to physically touch and interact with the history that I study.

The combined study of history and biology led me to independently research biological anthropology. Stringer's 'Homo Britannicus' highlighted the importance of human evolution and the geological happenings that affected early human life. This emphasised the impact of how one find can alter human understanding of our origins, such as with the Swanscombe skull. A documentary entitled 'Britain's Viking Graveyard' enlightened me to the Marine Reservoir Effect; through additional reading I have begun to understand its impact on bone chemical readings, as well as radiocarbon dating.

Studying history has aided my analytical skills. Reading into the events of the mythological Trojan War, in Barker's 'The Silence of the Girls', my understanding of ancient funeral practices and rituals has increased. This led me to evaluate today's customs and their similarities and differences to that of the past. In addition, it also enhanced my views of feminism and the treatment of women, which led me to question the historical nature of the oppression and the impact of the author of the accounts, which at this time was male.

An interest in evolutionary relationships has formed from biology, supported by reading Harari's 'Sapiens', which gave me an insight into how our hominid ancestors and heritage affect our lifestyles, such as the gorging gene theory. His brief reference to the origins of bipedalism led me to read Alice Roberts' 'The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being', highlighting what makes us human and why we are designed as we are. In addition, biology has improved my attention to detail and has helped me to understand the scientific approaches in archaeology such as amino acid racemization.

Through English literature I can compare the modern world to that of the historical world, contrasting the different ways of life at different times. This enhances my ability to envision the lives of early humans and hunter-gatherer populations. It has allowed me to look beyond the obvious at the details and question the origin and purpose of a text and subsequently material culture. I used this skill when visiting Portchester Castle and analysing the displays, by observing the structure of a prehistoric handaxe.

The six years I spent in the Scouts aided me on a test-pitting weekend that I joined with Surrey Archaeological Society in September 2019, by providing me with skills such as map reading and teamwork. It also prepared me for unexpected events; like finding a wall where there should not have been one. During the project I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to excavate, sieve, wash and process finds. This experience was enlightening to both how a site is chosen and surveyed and how the dig runs. Whilst doing work experience in the SEN department of a secondary school I supported a trip to a local forest. During this activity I seized the opportunity to view and categorise animal bones that were being sent for further analysis.

I plan to continue studying to postgraduate level and ideally further develop my understanding of the past as a whole and why humans have become what they are today. I also look forward to the practical opportunities that this course presents. My aim is to cultivate my knowledge in order to understand our heritage and to share this with others as my family did for me by nurturing this interest.

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Author's Comments

Overall I am happy with it but reading back I do see glaring errors, however, it get me into university so I suppose that is all that matters.

Southampton (MSci Archaeology) - Accepted, ABB
Exeter (BA Archaeology) - Accepted, AAB
Nottingham (BSc Archaeology) - Accepted, ABB
Leicester (BSc Archaeology) - Accepted, Unconditional
Bournemouth (BSc Archaeology) - Accepted, Unconditional


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