Since almost two decades, my research and teaching complement one another. Probably influenced by my own education in Vienna – at a department with traditional connections to a museum collection and a strong record in the archaeological fieldwork in Egypt, thus resulting in a very practically oriented academic curriculum – I believe that subjects like Archaeology and Egyptology need a practical approach as well as a good basic understanding of its methodologies and theories. There are things students will never learn from textbooks but can only experience on site and face-to-face with the object. Furthermore, for me the general goal is not only to submit the tools, methods and knowledge but also to pass on our own enthusiasm for the subject to the future generation. The latter makes the hard work, all the accuracy and patience needed to become an academic scholar endurable – and magnificent.
It goes without saying that in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are many challenges for academic teaching (and learning), in particular for practical classes. The block seminar “Introduction to field archaeology” I was offering this winter term together with DiverseNile team members had to be completely revised as an online format because of the lockdown in Munich.
This online seminar run via zoom, we used several breakout rooms and offered plenty of material to the participants via a moodle class, in particular short videos on subjects like photogrammetry and drawing and photographing objects/pottery sherds.
Although this was a kind of ‘test’ and we were a bit unsure about the success the seminar will have, the results were amazing. The participants, arranged in three teams, submitted very strong results on the task “remote sensing” (for which we used satellite/drone pictures of the MUAFS concession) and were all really active in the individual sessions of the seminar.
In order to emphasise the strong links between teaching and research and to highlight the importance of outreach, one of the tasks for the participants was to write a short blog post about their experiences in the seminar. Therefore, I am more than happy that I can introduce three guest blogs by our teams of students – they are written in German but they offer an insight and personal view of experiences of LMU students in challenging times. All of the students of our seminar showed an impressive motivation for archaeology – this is all a teacher can ask for and thus many thanks again from my side and on behalf of my team! Enjoy these guest blog posts and any feedback is of course very much appreciated.