archaeology student Anastasia Temkina who working on her masters degree
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A Passion for Archaeology – Interview with Anastasia Temkina

The Drive for Adventure

As career choices go, the decision to major in Archaeology is a unique path to go down. While it is a scientific field, it is also a curious one. There are many facets to archaeology and studying the ancient world, dealing with mummies and understanding mythology. 

To dive deeper into the mind of an archaeology student, we spoke with Anastasia Temkina, who has received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Anthropology and Archaeology. She is currently working towards her master’s degree from the University of South Florida in Anthropology.

When did you decide to get into the field of Archaeology and Anthropology?

When I was applying for undergraduate programs in the United States, I wanted to do something I never thought was possible. Archaeology felt very adventurous and daring, and I decided to choose it as an academic path. I had researched different archaeology programs, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro had an interesting Archaeology one. I got accepted and began my studies. It was very exciting. I took Anthropology as a second major, as I realized that I am more interested in studying the past through human remains. It was the perfect choice for me. I really found myself in this field. 

When did you first become interested in these subjects? 

I think most children want to be archaeologists when they are young, or paleontologists, the study of dinosaurs. I was always interested in the ancient world. I traveled to Greece with my family and seeing the temples and statues of the gods definitely inspired me. I actually came into my Archaeology program thinking I would focus on Greek archeology. My interests took a turn when I took a Roman archaeology class in my undergraduate program, and I have been passionate about the Romans ever since.

Anastasia Temkina receiving the Student Excellence Award at UNCG.

How did you decide which specific area to major in?

I am currently focusing on biological anthropology and bioarchaeology in the Roman world. In the second year of my undergraduate program, I wrote a paper on the diet of Roman gladiators. I learned so much about diet reconstruction and how it can tell us about someone’s health and way of living. This made me want to learn more about how the human body functions. I took biology, chemistry, anatomy, and osteology courses to prepare for my master’s program, and now I apply this knowledge to my current research project.

Who are your role models?

Most of my role models are my professors. In both my undergraduate studies and graduate studies, I have been taught by some of the best professionals, passionate about the field and their research. Most of them teach during the academic year and then go into the field in the summer to excavate or analyze archaeological material. It seems like the best of both worlds, discovering the past and sharing knowledge with students. That is exactly what I want to do in the future.

Anastasia Temkina on a Viking throne at the National Museum of Denmark.

Did you ever consider working in another career? If so, why and what?

I wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to dedicate my life to before Anthropology. I was good with languages, and my parents thought that I might want to become an interpreter or find a job in international communications. However, studying abroad fulfills that, and because I love anthropology and archaeology so much and want to teach it, I can hardly imagine doing anything else. 

To learn more about Anastasia and her adventures, visit her website.

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