Autumn Melby is seeking a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. She said she finds history to be incredibly interesting and wanted to learn more about it beyond written documentation, which made Archaeology a perfect fit for her interests.
“Archaeology provides a hands-on approach to learning about people from the past and their cultures,” Melby said. “Appalachian also provides one of the best undergraduate archaeology programs on the East Coast.
“Since (Appalachian) doesn’t have a graduate program, undergrads get to assist professors with a lot of their research that would normally fall to graduate students.”
She said she has thoroughly enjoyed volunteering in Dr. Tom Whyte’s research lab, which she began doing her freshman year. Her most recent project has involved analyzing and documenting patterns found in pottery shards from a Watauga County site.
Melby, who plans to graduate in 2018, describes the field as “so much more than simply digging in the dirt.” Working in the lab with Whyte has taught her so much about the methods, documentation and technological resources that are associated with archaeology.
After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree that will help her follow her dreams of working in a museum setting. She is currently arranging to attend a field school abroad that focuses more on her specific interest in the discipline, which is medieval Scandinavian archaeology and history. Melby said her experiences in Appalachian’s archaeology program with Whyte have helped her prepare for a graduate program in this discipline.