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Savannah Sewell

Out of the classroom and into the friary

Second year Anthropology student Savannah Sewell has spent part of her summer getting her hands dirty.

Jul 30, 2015

With the help of Social Sciences' Student Experience Grant, Sewell spent the month of June at the Blackfriary archaeological dig in Trim, Ireland, where she spent her days marking dig coordinates, excavating sites and cleaning remains.

The site dates back to the 13th century and is so named for the colour of the robes worn by the friars who lived there.

During a time when the government was shutting down friaries, the Blackfriary was reduced to ruins and its stone used to build structures around Trim. The Friary was involved in much of the town’s history and residents hope to restore the site while recognizing its historical influence.

Sewell says the recognition skills she developed in class at McMaster helped her in tasks such as identifying the bones of animals and humans.

“It’s interesting to first have that classroom knowledge, then to put your hands in the dirt and put it to work,” says Sewell.

Sewell will be taking what she learned from her summer research experience back to McMaster where she will present her findings and participate in an independent study course.

“Field schools are an encouraging environment. Everyone embraces you. Everyone can discover things. It’s a passion that we all share and it has inspired me to focus and further my learning.”


For more information about the Faculty of Social Sciences' Student Experience Grant, click here.