[Ed.: This is a guest post by Alexandrea Kord, an undergraduate at the University of Colorado Boulder and member of WARP Team 5]
As a field walker, my job is to collect data contributing to a overall understanding of the survey area. I suppose anyone reading the WARP website would understand the purpose of the project and the job of a field walker. The problem is that I mistakenly saw my job as finding things, and became focused more on trying to find interesting artifacts than to collect data. This ultimately leads to disappointment as we walk empty unit after empty unit. By the end of the day, I’m left feeling disappointed and jealous of the other teams’ success: neither feeling is one I particularly like.
The only way I have found to combat these feelings is to think about my worker in relation to the bigger picture of WARP, discovering the nature of human activity in the Western Argolid (yes, I did steal that phrase right of the WARP website). Doing this forces me to ask questions about every unit and see them all in relation to each other. So on a day when my team has found nothing, but the team working in units right next to ours has high density units, I start thinking about why that might be. Is it because we worked higher up on the hill and everything eroded down, or was this area used for other purposes then settlement? Focusing on finding answers instead of artifacts has made these last few weeks of the project much more enlightening then the first week.
I suppose to someone wiser than I, the difference between collecting data and finding things would be obvious. Collecting data is all about asking questions and looking for answers, finding things is just that: finding something. But that in itself doesn’t tell you much about anything. So despite all the sarcasm the team leaders say it with, walking fields really does build character: it forces you to look at the bigger picture than just your unit and just your team… A lesson that every 20 year old probably needs to learn.