There is no place that I dream of more than Walhain. As a child I always watched the Indiana Jones movies that my father loved. We always watched them on Christmas Eve with the family, and I would always leave and go to a room that was quiet and only focus on the movies. As far as they are from any truth regarding archaeology, they instilled in me a love of history and a deep interest in archaeology. Growing up I excelled in history and chose to pursue it during college. Due to my interest in archaeology, I ended up finding my way to the Walhain Field School. Now four years have gone by and I’m on my third session at Walhain. As a student I was in love with the history of the site and enamored with the new world around me. I had never traveled overseas before and was amazed by all that I saw. I remember looking up at Walhain for the first time and just getting this sense of wonder. I couldn’t stop looking at it. It was unreal. Flying back home that first year I knew I had to come back. And through the rough times I would face immediately after returning home that first year, I held onto my memories of Walhain as though if I thought of them hard enough it could take me back there. The friends I made there are some of the greatest friends I have now, but it is the site that I always think of first when I’m down. I just have to think of the excitement of finding a cool artifact or the jokes that would be made while digging. Cobbles may still be the bane of my existence, but I wouldn’t give them up if I had a continuing chance to return. The one thing that always grounds me when I’m struggling is the thought of my “lunch spot.” Throughout my time spent at Walhain, whenever I was feeling down or just needed to get away there is a seat in the tower that just looks out into the fields. I am immediately calmed when I think of it. All I have to do is think of the wind gently blowing and the quiet of the tower.
I may have made a lot of friends here and always have a good time outside of the site, but the continuing work at Walhain will always draw me back to Belgium. I truly can’t think of a better place to be. I’m working as hard as I can to learn more onsite and offsite. I’ve learned so much here, and there still is so much more for me to learn. And I know that one day I’ll be in a career of my own, and even if I can’t return to Walhain, I will always have the memories to help me by.
Ashley Jones (’11), Assistant Field and Lab Supervisor