Maymester class gives students in-depth look at archeology

Many Rollins students will continue their studies after finals in early May by taking one- to two-month-long Maymester courses. Central Florida Archaeological Field School is one of the Maymester classes being offered. It is taught by Dr. Zachary Gilmore, assistant professor of anthropology.

Dr. Gilmore’s course is a four-week field study where, “students will work with archaeologists from Rollins, the University of Central Florida (UCF), and the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research to investigate a series of 5,000 year-old Native American shell mounds,” found  just 15 miles east of Winter Park in the Charles H. Bronson State Forest, Gilmore explained.

“I try to emphasize that archaeology [can] illuminate cultural histories that have been ignored or forgotten in traditional written accounts. In this class, we get [to investigate] multiple Native American sites that have never been studied before, in a region that has been largely neglected by professional archaeologists,” said Gilmore.

Students will learn archaeological fieldwork skills such as excavating sites, using ground-penetrating radar survey, and the use of topographic mapping. All of these tools will help them answer lingering questions about a mysterious part of Florida’s history.

Another unique aspect is the inclusion of UCF students and faculty. The chance to communicate with colleagues and faculty who do not come from the intimate Rollins campus will broaden students’ networking and communication skills.

Despite the name, some Maymester courses go well into the month of June, or go on trips during other summer months. Classes are usually every day, from Monday to Friday. Some courses are off-campus.

General reasons to take a Maymester course include obtaining credits for graduation without students overloading their fall or spring semester schedules.

Maymester courses can also help students study a discipline that may not fit with their other fall and spring semester classes or major and minor maps.

Although students can only enroll in one Maymester class each summer, the daily class meeting of only one class allows for “unique opportunities for hands-on experiential learning that are generally not possible during the regular academic year,” said Dr. Gilmore.

The time and dates of the course are to be announced. Any student interested in Central Florida Archaeological Field School should contact Zachary Gilmore at zgilmore@rollins.edu.

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