Mental Health and the Field Research Team

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Mental Health and the Field Research Team

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Advances in Archaeological Practice


Eifling, Kurt

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Cambridge University Press




Due to the intellectual, physical, and emotional demands of field research, those doing this work need to strategies to monitor and maintain their own mental health before, during, and after a field season. Moreover, they should have a framework for supporting their colleagues. This review article will present a framework for assessing the mental health hazards and the reactions, both positive and negative, to fieldwork. First, it will use U.S. epidemiology to show that most field teams are at risk. Second, it will frame the field season both as a workplace and wilderness exposure event and discuss the elements of the field research environment that can be therapeutic for some but toxic for others. Third, it will discuss the psychological impacts of travel and reintegration as they are pertinent to the practice of archaeology. Research will be presented in order to guide evidence-informed policies for the field research team to improve the mental-health readiness and resiliency of the research team. Last, it will provide guidance on how to manage the anxiety caused by separating from social media platforms.


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