Meet Matthew Hines: Five Year AFAR Veteran
We sat down with Matthew Hines, Davidson Day School Class of 2018, and asked him to reflect on his time working with AFAR over the last five years. Matthew was a founding member of the Zorita de los Canes project in Spain and has worked every summer since.
What are your reflections on AFAR Field Experience? I was lucky enough to open the Spain project in 2014 and worked every summer for five years until I graduated. Overall, I have a better appreciation for the nature of history and the process of archaeology and how pivotal to understanding of cultures and the past this field of study is. Archeologists get to construct the story behind uncovering structures and fallen monuments.
Specifically though, I liked digging in the 3 Sisters. It was tons of labor but climbing inside rooms for the first time in 100s of years was an exhilarating experience. Felt like Indiana Jones! With the hat and all…
What was the toughest thing you faced during your experience? Trying to stay consistent with work ethic (notebook more than physical labor). Knew journalling was important but got caught up with physical aspects that neglected notebook. Wanted to always keep digging.
If you could thank one person other than me that you worked with onsite, who would it be? Dio and Catalina - Thank you for dealing with all of the quirkiness and interesting nature of us Americans on the dig site. Thanks for teaching me a deeper appreciation of history that went beyond books in school. Thanks for being two of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. Thanks for being gracious and welcoming.
Tell us about your experiences with Archeology Conferences and Non-Fieldwork Activities? Which I was fortunate to present at Chacmool Conference Fall of 2016. Getting the opportunity to interact with professional archeologists at the conference opened my eyes to the extreme academia of archaeology. Appreciated touring the labs at the university and other archaeology. Professors asked if he was college student, which made me proud.
Describe your research portfolio? Some schools asked for optional piece (research or paper) and some asked for research projects, so I was glad I had the experiences to include and felt it gave me a edge. I put together the overviews onsite with Catalina during the four summers of work along with conference details from Chacmool, and journal samples, including the site overview with continuing plans. I ended up submitting to MIT, Yale, Harvard and Harvey Mudd.
How did you utilize your experience with AFAR in the college search? I highlighted my research through my experience experience in Spain but also the work on conference presentation. I believe that the full circle of science made a big impact and set me apart. I’m currently majoring in Economics and Engineering 3 years at Claremont McKinna to get a BA and 2 years at Harvey Mudd get BS.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the first field season? Pay attention to small details when you first go your excited about the whole experience. When onsite blow past details elevations notebook. Process can be tedious but the same time makes it exciting. If you don’t detail, it won’t be done. Have a better appreciation for smaller details. It’s cool to discover underground room but without proper recordings nothing will be learned.
If you had to pick one non-essential item to pack for a project, what would it be? Sense of humor! You will be onsite 7 hours-a-day sweating in the sun -- so jokes are essential.
Q/A Speed Round with Mat Saunders
MS: If you had to pick a favorite movie of all time, what would it be?
MH: Arsenic and Old Lace
MS: List three groups that would land on your deserted island playlist.
MH: One Republic, Imagine Dragons, and Alessia Cara
MS: We know that you have been in 13 plays at Davidson Day. What was your favorite one and what character did you play?
MH: That’s a tough one. My favorite play was probably Thebes. I loved the character development and the unique story it tells. I played Oedipus.
MS: I know you very well as will many of the people who read this. Can you share something few people know about you?
MH: I really love globetrotting. I’ve been traveling since 6 months when I visited Alaska with my parents and and I haven’t stopped.
MS: What sort of job do you see in your future?
MH: I want to be a STEM entrepreneur.
MS: What is a STEM entrepreneur?
MH: I want to be someone who works at the intersection of business, biotech and applied physics. I essentially want to work to develop new technologies that help people.
MS: In the five years working in Spain, what is your fondest memory?
MH: It would have to be when we slept under the stars on top of the castle in 2017.
MS: We all know that working on an AFAR project can be challenging. What would you consider the toughest thing you had to face during your experience?
MH: It would have to be trying to stay consistent with note taking while working onsite. I always knew that journalling was extremely important but I got caught up with physical aspects of the project and I always found myself wanting to keep excavating.
MS: If you could thank one person that you worked with other than me, who would it be?
MH: Dio and Catalina for sure. Thank you for dealing with all of the quirkiness and interesting nature of us Americans on the dig site. Thanks for teaching me a deeper appreciation of history that went beyond books in school. Thanks for being two of the most genuine people I’ve ever met and thanks for being so gracious and welcoming.
MS: Tell me about your experiences with AFAR outside of the field seasons in Spain.
MH: I was able to attend the 49th Annual University of Calgary Chacmool Conference in 2016.
It was an amazing opportunity that allowed me the opportunity to interact with professional archaeologists and it opened up my eyes to the extreme academia side of archaeology. It was really great to be confused for a college student.
MS: What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the first field season?
MH: Pay attention to the small details when you first participate in a project. You will be excited about the whole experience. When onsite, don’t blow past details such as elevations in your notebook. The process can be tedious but at the same time it makes it exciting. If you don’t document the details, it will never be done. Have a better appreciation for the smaller details. It’s cool to discover an underground room but without proper recordings nothing will be learned.