Field notes

Females in the Field Q&A with Alex

Q&A with Alex

Alexandra, or Alex for short, has nearly a decade of experience working as an archaeologist at various locations throughout western Canada. In 2016, Alex became an approved permit holder in Alberta, and after a couple of stints as a Regulatory Approvals Coordinator and Indigenous Consultation and Engagement Administrator, Alex decided to return to the field doing archaeological assessments and joined the Circle team. She signed on in 2019 and we haven’t looked back! Now Alex manages our largest forestry programs and this month, will be leading a crew of ten in the Yukon! We’re looking forward to seeing what else Alex can do as she continuously grows. Let’s settle into this session of Females in the Field! 👇🏼

What made you first pursue archaeology as a career path?

I really enjoy learning about history and staying active outdoors. Archaeology conveniently combines both of those and the University of Lethbridge where I attended for my undergraduate degree has a program specific to archaeology with more of a focus on field methods. My first field school at 18 was in 2008, where I attended a four week excavation at Tel Beth Shemesh, Israel and I absolutely fell in love with archaeology after that. There is a thrill of potential discovery on almost every project and even the areas where you know you might not find anything, you’re still getting a great work out shovel testing. 

Where is your favourite place that you’ve worked? 

My favorite place to work is in the foothills of Alberta. The forests are typically pine and more open so they’re easier to traverse and there is a higher archaeological site return than elsewhere in, say, northwestern Alberta. I also find the area interesting because it would have been one of the earlier locations to deglaciate and provided a corridor for the first inhabitants to travel. The higher potential for in-situ early precontact archaeological sites, a time period we know very little about, is very exciting as there is lots to learn.

Tell us one thing about yourself that 90% of us do not know?

I recently purchased a house on my own and am super proud of myself. My secret joys involve yard maintenance and picking fruits and vegetables from the garden. It is an older home so I’m looking forward to how good it will look after some renovations. 

I enjoy off-roading, driving trucks, and quadding more than the archaeology part of my job sometimes. The more technical the quad access, the more fun it is, and the more successful you feel once you get where you need to be to assess a project area. 

If you could travel to a country specifically to do archaeology, where would it be?

Greece! My ideal work temperature is 25 to 30 degrees and I enjoy the heat. Also Mediterranean food is the best. 

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in the field?

The funniest thing that’s happened to me in the field would probably be when a dog followed me around all day while I was shovel testing and then towards the end of the day brought me a pair of antler sheds which I still have today. 

How would you spend your evening if you were in a cabin with no cell service and no internet?

It depends on a lot of variables. Is there a lake nearby? What season is it? Try to either fish, swim, canoe, run, or ski and if the weather is bad then build a puzzle inside or read a historical fiction book. 

And finally, now that you have been doing this for a few years, what would you tell your [relatively] younger self?

Keep learning and taking courses to expand knowledge and adopt some non-archaeology related indoor hobbies like sewing, or knitting. Also, wear sunscreen. 

Thanks, Alex! 🙌🏼

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