Gwynne Dulaney ’20: Cosa Excavation Field School

Name: Gwynne Dulaney
Class Year: 2020
Major: Classical Culture and Society
Hometown: Roxbury, Conn.

Internship Organization: Cosa Excavation Field School
Job Title: Undergraduate participant
Location: Ansedonia, Tuscany, Italy

As a classics major, I have obviously always held an extreme fascination with Italy and its ancient history, particularly how that knowledge of practices and monuments made its way from the sites where they were documented to the texts that we read in class. Therefore, when my professor at my study abroad program this past fall encouraged me to apply to the archaeological field school in Tuscany that she would be overseeing this summer, I immediately applied. Furthermore, when I discovered this internship, there was a surprising aspect to it: I had heard that Bryn Mawr was somehow connected to Cosa, but imagine my surprise when I found out that the site was originally excavated by Bryn Mawr’s professor of Classics, Russell Scott. Professor Scott was critical in helping me to vouch for the program and find a way to turn a 4-week excavation into an 8-week internship.

In the three weeks that I have been at Cosa; we have uncovered five different parts of the bath complex. So far, I have loved every aspect of excavating, but I have to say that my favorite part is the thrill that you feel when you brush dirt off of an object and realize that you are touching something that someone painstakingly made thousands of years ago. For me, it was the small and completely whole terra-cotta jar stopper that I uncovered 20 minutes before quitting time. We have also found endless amounts of Roman glass, pottery vessels, and painted plaster along with the occasional bone hairpin, Roman coin, and even an imperial inscription. As we get ready to wrap up the excavation next week, I will begin to prepare for the next phase of my internship, where I will be helping with Cosa’s current project of digitizing its finds in the bath complex as well as helping the team prepare to publish its finds and data over the past few years.

One of my concerns with choosing to go on an excavation the summer before I graduated was whether this would be as productive of a use of my summer as having a traditional internship at a company or organization back in the states. As someone who is not completely sure what she wants to do after graduation, deciding to do something untraditional with her summer like digging in the dirt seemed risky. I can now say with confidence that based on the wide span of skills that I have acquired from this internship, I can use what I have learned here and apply it towards a wide variety of potential careers. I have gained immense skills in team leadership, critical thinking and data analysis. This may not be a traditional internship at a company I could work at after graduation, but I have learned more about the opportunities in my major and about myself than any other traditional internship that I have worked at in my life.