by Daphne Ahalt – Assistant Lab Director
As we continue to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we find that we miss our volunteers more each passing week. Knowing that we currently cannot accept the help they so willingly offer – and that it is likely to be a long while before we can – we have decided to continue sharing the stories of the wonderfully talented volunteers that lend their time and efforts to the Archaeology and Collections Branch (ACB). Our volunteer in the spotlight this month is Aidan Morse.
Aidan is an Archaeological Volunteer Assistant. He has been assisting the County Archaeological Research Team (CART) since June of 2015. He has assisted staff both in the field and in the lab and has donated more than 1,180 hours of his time in just the past two years. Aidan has often volunteered two to three days a week. His work recovering and processing thousands of archaeological artifacts will aid CART in the interpretation and preservation of Fairfax County’s history.
We asked Aidan what sparked his interest in archaeology. He stated that “reading novels about archaeology in high school” fueled his curiosity. “I like that I get to be outside and search for clues to the past.” When volunteering in the field, Aidan assisted the crew with excavation and screening for artifacts.
Aidan describes the tasks in the lab that he was most often asked to do as “washing, weighing, and rebagging artifacts.” He was also tasked with adding artifact weights to the catalog. We asked what his favorite part of volunteering was, and he replied that he “most enjoyed talking to the others in the lab.” We appreciate and miss these intellectual – and often entertaining – conversations, too! We found that we often learned as much from our knowledgeable volunteers as they did from us. He noted that he has “learned that, where I volunteer, most of the artifacts are nails.” He never fails to make us smile. (Thanks for weighing the nails, Aidan!)
We asked Aidan what makes volunteering with FCPA rewarding for him. He replied, “It gives me a sense of purpose greater than myself.” This is the selflessness we see in all our volunteers. We greatly appreciate their time, energy, and talents and admire their dedication to CART’s mission. Thank you, Aidan.
Aidan says he does not volunteer anywhere else, which makes us even more grateful that he chooses to spend his time with us. Since that cannot happen right now – and most likely not until next year – we were curious as to what he has done to keep himself busy. Like many of us stuck in our homes, he feels that he has “struggled and failed to do so.” We are sorry to hear this but want him to know that when it is finally time to return to the lab, we will have plenty of nails (and other artifacts) for him to weigh!
Although it may be quite some time before we see our volunteers and even longer until we have a volunteer slot available, if you are interested in being added to a wait list to apply to our volunteer program please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to send you an invitation when orientations resume.