By Brandon Brown (Cabrillo Alum, SJSU)
The Society of California Archaeology holds a yearly conference that should not be missed by students interested in learning more about Archaeology. The conference takes place at 4 star hotels that are always not too far from one of the states many colleges. Providing students, professors, professionals of the state the chance to network, share their work and socialize. Always expanding the knowledge of the small, but growing community, the Annual SCA Conference provides many opportunities for students.
Students are able to share drinks with the top Professional Archaeologists in government, state, corporate, academia and fellow students. The conference is centered on lecturers that speak on anything that can be described as Archaeology. One lecture could focus on Bio Archaeology, another could be on Historical Archaeology and the next could be a Graduate or PHD Students Thesis. A student can even hear his or her favorite professors lecture. This is incredibly inspiring. The entire convention makes a students mind soar with thoughts of their own future, learning about the past of this beautiful state, while contemplating how far their academic or employment career could lead.
The convention offers many volunteer opportunities. While helping out the SCA, a student can befriend fellow students and meet professionals of the field. This can be beneficial in giving advice on anything from academia, to work or simply on what is going on later that evening. Archaeology is a small community compared to other fields of study within academia. Due to this, volunteering is a fantastic way to meet people and looks great on a resume for future employment.
The best event of the weekend is the annual silent auction. Tickets to the event go very fast and buying one is a must. Wine and beer are free for ticket purchasers. This year’s event took place at the highest peak of Berkeley College, within the Children’s Science Museum. Giving adult Archaeologists the chance to play with hands on scientific discovery experiments meant for children while sipping tasty dessert chocolate mocha red wine and home brewed ale. An archaeologist playing with scientific experiments meant for children isn’t any different from a week out in the field or organizing findings into data in the lab. Archaeology is the field of walking through poison oak in while walking transects, licking bones to ensure that they are indeed bones and digging perfect rectangular holes with a “yamba” in the name of good science after all. This extremely fun event provides students a chance to enjoy conversing with the community at an increasingly laid back and even wild night that is always worth remembering. That is, if the following morning you happen too.
The last event of the fun and educational three-day weekend is the dinner. This event tends to be filled with the older generation of archaeologists. But students may always pay for a ticket and go. They let people that did not pay for tickets in later in the evening, so that they may hear the speaker and see who won the prestigious academic awards. This is always a must see.
I highly advise students to go and enjoy socializing with the friendly Archaeology community. Become a member of the SCA and buy your ticket the first chance you have. Immerse yourself with Archaeologists more knowledgeable then you. Listen, learn and take notes. Talk to as many people as you can. Come with many questions and ears ready for new exciting knowledge. Archaeological knowledge will confuse, inspire, intrigue and make a student passionate about becoming something that was once only a dream. Even make you believe you can accomplish more then you thought possible. This conference will make a student want to pick up a Marshalltown and work. Prepared for the sweat, trekking, data collecting and article writing that is Archaeology.