Over the summer, Emma Luechtefeld spent six weeks in western Ireland digging trenches in order to find history, not just read about it.
“We excavated two trenches at Isert Kelly Castle just outside of Galway,” Luechtefeld said. “The excavation process was pretty intense, it was a lot more physical than I expected. We basically had to strip off all of the grass from both of our trenches. We found most of the really interesting artifacts in trench four, which was the latrine pit of the castle.”
Luechtefeld said a few of the artifacts found were a medieval dice from the early 1600s, clay pipes and pottery.
“I love tiny details and objects that I can actually hold in my hands,” she said.
Luechtefeld is a junior with a major in anthropology and history. She said she read history textbooks for fun in middle school because she was homeschooled and has always loved history.
“I didn’t have to read them, I just enjoyed them,” Luechtefeld said. She was homeschooled until she came to college.
Luechtefeld said she discovered Galway Archaeology Field School by Googling it. She said she has always loved and wanted to go to Ireland. Part of her own family background came from Scotland.
“I read a book in high school about one of the famine ships that came over from Ireland, and that really sparked my interest,” Luechtefeld said, “One of the ships was called the Genie Dodger, and it was the only ship that no one died on.”
Luechtefeld also studied abroad in London two summers ago with a study tour led by Jeff Yelton, associate professor of anthropology.
“Dr. Yelton has really encouraged all of my crazy endeavors,” She said. “I think taking the London study tour with him influenced me the most out of any class I’ve taken. It sparked my love for traveling and I learned a lot about archaeology while I was there.”
Yelton said Luechtefeld is a very good student who also works as a supplementary instructor for an anthropology course in the Learning Commons. She has taken several anthropology classes during the past two years with Yelton.
“I think Emma is a great example of one of our students, she’s got a lot of enthusiasm,” Yelton said. “She is very well organized and we expect a lot out of her.”
Luechtefeld enjoys digging for history, whether it is in the ground, or through a book.
“I really like history, I really like anthropology and I really like mixing them,” she said. “I like seeing new ways to see the past, it’s just amazing to me. There are all these things that we don’t know about our past. It is like discovering a whole new path of knowledge.”