Programs in palaeoanthropology (the study of human evolution) do not often provide professional fieldwork training. Palaeoanthropology students are thus at risk of being unaware of the professional practices and responsibilities that come with a career in this subject area. Here I describe palaeoanthropology in the context of aligned field sciences, and make the case for requiring pre-fieldwork preparation through the implementation and evaluation of a seminar focusing on professional practice in palaeoanthropological fieldwork. The seminar was delivered to a small cohort of Masters of Science students at Durham University, UK. I qualitatively evaluate the seminar via semi-structured interviews, exploring how students varied in their awareness of and approaches to the topic, what new awareness developed, and how necessary this is to their overall understanding of the discipline and their potential future roles as professional researchers. Interviews show that students recognized the novelty of the seminar topic but varied in their approaches to the material. However, they all selectively focused on aspects of the material which might have a bearing on their future careers. This demonstrates the usefulness of supporting their professional practice training, regardless of whether students intended to conduct fieldwork, palaeoanthropological or otherwise.
2019 The Realities of Fieldwork: Embedding professional practice - a case study from palaeoanthropology. Journal of Archaeology and Education 3
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/jae/vol3/iss8/1