My Story

My Story: Summer at the QAR Lab

State of NC Intern Kendall writes about her unique experiences interning this summer

Author: Kendall Burger, Lab Intern

Intern Kendall
Intern Kendall

My name is Kendall Burger and this summer, I have had the pleasure of being an intern at the Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab through the State of NC Internship program. I first became interested in archaeology after visiting the National Archaeology Museum in Madrid when I was sixteen. As a kid, I had always loved visiting museums and historic buildings, and growing up outside of Washington DC, this was a typical weekend activity. But this museum in particular was so fascinating to me as it housed numerous artifacts that humans used thousands of years ago. When it came time to think about what to major in, I remembered this moment and after taking a cultural anthropology class, I officially declared an anthropology major.

Kendall and the cannon
Assisting with cannon photography

Now a rising senior at North Carolina State University, I plan to attend graduate school soon and need to discover what specialty to pursue. I am very excited to have been selected for this opportunity as it has allowed me to explore the subfield of archaeology further and to learn where in the discipline I fit best. The QAR Lab has been a great place to get hands-on experience with various objects and conservation processes. Each week brings a variety of different tasks meaning one week I may be photographing 26,000 pieces of lead shot while the next I am assisting in moving a 400-pound cannon.

Kendall and Berry block
Kendall excavating a Berry block

One of my favorite tasks I have been assigned has been performing a mini-excavation on a block of soil from the Berry Site excavation in Western North Carolina. Blocks of soil are removed from a site when there is suspected to be a very fragile artifact within them that need further exploration and more careful handling in a lab environment. The Berry site is a 16th-century Native American town called Joara, which was visited by Hernan de Soto and later established as Fort San Juan by Juan Pardo. Affectionately named the Berry block, I have officially made it to the bottom of the soil block after working on it for over 25 hours. On the way, I found many pieces of lithics, ceramics, fibers, and unidentified objects, including the fragile remains of a metal vessel.

Over these past six weeks, discovering my likes and dislikes and being able to ask my supervisors about how they selected their specialty has made me feel more confident in narrowing down my career options. I am excited to see which specialty in archaeology I will choose, and I look forward to continuing to learn more about myself and the field during the rest of my time at the QAR Lab.

Lab intern Kendall. Image by Kendall Burger. Used with permission.
Kendall assisting with photographing a cannon. Image by NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Kendall working on one of the soil blocks from the Berry site. Image by NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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