DERRY — Sharing a few History Channel programs with her father gave Samantha Savory a chance to see the world and wonder about its beginnings.
When a high school anthropology class piqued the Derry student's interest even more, it was time to start exploring.
Savory, 21, made her mark on archeological history this summer, helping unearth an ancient Iron Age community in Spain, part of ArchaeoSpain, an educational and archaeological organization based in Connecticut and Madrid.
Savory worked on an archaeological dig to unearth an Iron Age/Celtic necropolis dating to the 5th century BC at the settlement of Pintia in Valladolid in central Spain.
"I am interested in the way that people used to live and work with each other in the past," Savory said. "Through archaeology, we are able to look into their physical presence and learn from the remains they left behind."
Savory, a senior anthropology student at the University of New Hampshire, joined a team of archaeologists and archaeology students from Spain, the United States, Britain and Canada for the month of June.
A total of eight students went on the trip, Savory added. She found the program online offering field schools, projects and employment associated with archaeology.
"I wanted to find a dig that was inexpensive and out of the country," she said. "I figured if I'm going to do it, college is the best time for it."
Savory said once the crew assembled in Spain, the average work day began at 6:30 a.m., then work at the site until a 1 p.m. siesta, then an afternoon full of more work and well into the evening.
She said she became an expert at heavy shovel work, pick axing, and "troweling and sifting" through the dirt at the excavation site.
"We would fill buckets up as we slowly went down into the dark spots," she said. "The dark spots were special because those are where the soil was disturbed and most likely a tomb."
The crew opened four cremation tombs belonging to the Vaccean culture, adding to the nearly 200 burials discovered over the past decade at Pintia. Research in this area of the site is helping investigators understand better the social organization of these pre-Roman peoples.
Savory said she enjoyed being in Spain, in a little village, where people worked hard on finding and preserving history.
"The excavations were amazing," she said. "I have been on two previous digs in New Hampshire and every time I go on a dig I learn more."
And finding her ancient treasures made the trip very rewarding.
"That was the most exciting part of the dig for me," she said, "finding and being able to fulfill the whole excavation from opening the pit to analyzing the finds."
After graduation from UNH next spring, Savory said she hoped to attend graduate school to get her master's degree in archaeology.
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