Emily LeHegarat, first-year Archaeology BA student
"Give archaeology a go and don’t be put off if you don’t know anything. It’s kind of like seeing how history was made!"
Why did you choose to study archaeology?
"Originally I was going to do French and journalism, I think it was. Then I came to the Nottingham open day and was like, 'Liberal Arts sounds interesting, because there’s a lot of variety and I can do a lot of things'. I thought 'Ok, I’ll just look around all of the different departments'.
I went to archaeology and I really liked it. I liked the vibe. And because the class sizes are small, I thought I'd quite like that.
I wanted to do the most 'out there' subjects I could, so thought archaeology, why not? (Although when I was about 8 I was like 'I want to be an archaeologist!', so maybe something just triggered it in my mind!).
I really liked going around the labs as well, as I’ve always been interested in science, but really bad at science at GCSE. I thought archaeology is really interesting, as you get to see how history is made and the science is accessible, and I could learn how to do it. It was hands-on, but also humanities, which I like."
Did you find it easy to pick up, having never studied archaeology before?
"So far I’m finding it alright. I’ve done alright in my assessments and I’m quite happy with that. At the beginning there were really complex new things, like the OxCal archaeology dating software we have to use. But the lecturers do explain it in a way that’s understandable for beginners."
What are the main skills that you’ve taken from your course so far?
"Definitely the computer software stuff, I know a bit more about that, and just writing essays as well. I didn’t know how to write an essay before. The history stuff, too – so pre-history is really interesting to me. I did learn quite a bit about it last term, which is really cool."
What’s been your favourite module so far, and why?
"Probably Understanding the Past I. We were given a sheet of data and finds on the site and asked to map it out and give our interpretations of what it was and calibrate the dates."
We started off with the bare minimum and you’ve just got to build up this database and I found it really interesting. Problem-solving – it was really fun.
How did you choose your optional modules? Did you pick any from other departments?
"I chose a French module last semester – I just wanted to try it out. I did it at A level so thought I wanted to continue with it. Then I did Studying the Greek World, as when I was younger I loved the Greek myths. And then I did Studying Roman and Greek Mythology which was interesting.
I think it actually showed me that the Romans and Greeks aren’t for me, but that’s important to know. It’s still interesting, but not something I’d want to specialise in down the line."
Have you joined any societies?
"Back in September I joined three societies. One is the Archaeology Society, and then I did archery; that was really fun. I would recommend it, even if you just want to meet new people."
The other society that I’m in, which I would really recommend, is University Radio Nottingham – that’s so good. From September to December I was actually broadcasting with a friend, who I met through radio.
Any staff shout-outs?
"Hannah O’Regan is really cool. We had that one in-person lecture and we walked around the campus, a small group of us, and she asked 'What would you eat as a hunter gatherer?'. She was telling us a bit about her bears project, too, and I was just really inspired by her passion for the subject.
In the online lectures, Will Bowden is really helpful. He teaches things in a way that's easy to grasp, but you're able to expand on your knowledge later on if it's something you're interested in."
With online learning, due to Covid-19, have you found that support is still there?
"Yeah, I’d say so. My tutor this year is Holly Miller and she’s been really good with organising tutee meetings and just being there if we need to email someone about any issues."
Do you know what kind of career you’d like to go into?
"At the moment, I think I’d like to continue doing archaeology and do a masters, or I was thinking of maybe going into teaching. At the moment they’re my kind of basic ideas."
What does success mean to you?
"I’d have enough money to be comfortable, but I’d also be happy with what I was doing and passionate about it. I’d also be good at what I was doing. I think that, to me, would be successful."
Read more about Archaeology BA