Lost in the Jungle….of Life? The untold story of an archeological intern

THPO-Internship Opportunities

Are you a student or just interested in archaeology? Here at the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, would-be archaeologists can come along on our digs and see just what it means to be an archaeologist. One of our interns, Amanda Rodriguez, shares her experience:

Having had the opportunity to work as an intern for the Tribal Historic Preservation Office this summer has been a memorable experience. The Tribal Archaeology Section and its members allowed me the chance to combine the material I had been taught in previous courses and apply it in the field. As I approach my senior year at Florida Gulf Coast University this fall, I feel more confident in my future career plans. At the THPO, I got to witness the path that many degree holding anthropologists take at the professional level. Conducting archaeological surveys for the Seminole Tribe of Florida requires the use of advanced equipment and computer software, as well as strenuous manual work.

One of the best experiences that I had while working with the Tribal Archaeology Section occurred towards the end of my internship. After weeks of working in the field, excavating shovel tests and test units, I had the opportunity to work for a day in the laboratory under the Collections Section.  That experience allowed me to understand how the TAS, as well as the other sections, makeup parts of a whole that is the Tribal Historic Preservation Office.  Together, each section creates a functioning and well organized unit. The artifacts collected during excavations are carefully bagged and the information pertaining to them written on several forms as well as on the bag itself.  In the Collections Section, this information is reviewed, the artifacts analyzed, identified and stored. Working in the lab showed me how both sections operate simultaneously for the same cause, which is the preservation of Seminole history.

 The time that I spent working as an intern for the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been an unforgettable experience. I find myself truly impressed with the way in which the THPO functions and believe that it can serve as a model for other tribal offices across the country. The professionalism and integrity by which it is run certainly supports its mission statement:

“Our office seeks to foster the understanding and appreciation of the Seminole people and their place in humanity’s shared heritage through investigation, interpretation, preservation and management of the Tribe’s cultural resources.”

If you are interested in the internship program, please contact Dr. Paul Backhouse at:

34725 West Boundary Road,
Clewiston, FL 33440
tel. (863) 983-6549 (ext. 12244)
tel. (863) 228-3793 (mob)
fax  (863) 902-1117

Author: julielabate

My name is Julie Richko Labate and I am the Tribal Archaeologist here at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki. The Tribal Archaeology Section, or TAS as we like to call ourselves, works with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, or THPO, to protect and preserve artifacts and important archaeological sites. We are responsible for the pre-emptive cultural survey of areas undergoing development on all Seminole Tribe of Florida Reservations.

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