Notes from the Super

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I started with this project in 2001 as an undergrad student with prior archaeological field experience.  One of the first things that I noticed is that the field work done in Belgium is VERY different from what I was used to in the States, but, excavation methods aside, I instantly fell in love with the site and have been here for every field season since (this year is my tenth and the fourteenth excavation season overall).

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Amongst all of the things I’ve done in my career, this is the project that I am the most proud of to date. (I’m sure that will change over the years, especially now that I am the director of a museum that has the potential to really grow over the next few years.) But, I always come back to Walhain. It’s where I feel the most grounded, and I know that my work here will hopefully inspire the next generation of historians and archaeologists. Actually, this program is so unique in that it caters to all types of scholars—not just those interested in medieval history or archaeology.  My hope is that when they leave, they have a better appreciation for historic monuments, buildings, and objects.

People ask me all of the time what my favorite artifact is. I can’t really choose, but here are some of my favorites:

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Intact plaster (2011) in a passageway between the 16th century residence and one of the towers. We actually found the record of it in the primary documents!

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Pieces of a Germanic tankard from the 16th or early 17th century with a religious motif. (2006)

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The “ugly plate” from the 16th century. We’ve seen similar pieces in Bouvignes-sur-Meuse and Montaigle—which gives us an idea of trade and economics of the region. (2008)

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The “deer tile”. This was found partially in the field and partially in the lab—as we were processing the LAST bag of artifacts of the season! (2010)

I hope that you enjoy reading about our work here; we still have a lot to do, but it’s an exciting time for the project!

Dana Best-Mizsak

Field & Lab Supervisor

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2 thoughts on “Notes from the Super

  1. Great to hear that your research at Walhain has gone well this summer. I read all of the updates and reading more about the castle.

    • It’s been a great summer so far. Excavations reveal new features almost daily, students are gaining confidence and understanding, and we’re continually discussing ways to expand the project to increase our knowledge about life in the middle ages and offer students experience in different perspectives and methodologies. Thanks so much for your interest; I hope you’ll continue to follow us as the project develops!

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