The Archaeologist who Hates Dirt
Hidden in the Wemyss caves on the eastern side of Scotland, an archaeologist and guide study the Ancient Pictish carvings made in the walls of the Court Cave. Now she teaches Latin to students here at CHS.
Ms. Ryan Stone teaches Latin I, II, and III, and plans to add archaeology, another study of hers, to help teach Latin in class.
“A lot of Latin is literally underground right now, whether it’s in catacombs or just on graffiti, or on tombs and any of that, so I brought archaeology into the classroom to show my kids how archaeology is one of the best ways to use Latin in the modern day.” she explains.
Ms. Stone’s experience in Latin as an assistant does not compare to the newfound responsibility as the “New Latin Teacher”.
She says, “There’s a lot of comparisons between how I teach and how she (Mrs. Patrick) teaches, which is totally fine, it’s just a matter of I’m not Mrs. Patrick, and getting kids to realize that in the beginning was a struggle.”
Teaching in college can also be a hindrance, as the lack of minors allows for more discussion and leinence in source material.
“There’s more freedom, teaching in colleges, and if a student decides to sleep through your class you can just say “Get out.” which was always nice because it was less of a distraction when they snored. The type of topics you could talk about, you were much more free with, there’s minors in High School, obviously, so it limits what you can discuss and in the ancient world, so much of what you talked about relates to inappropriate things for minors. At the collegiate level I could express more of the Roman lifestyle.”
However, she doesn’t let these problems affect her, and teaches at this new school with happiness. “I thought it (Churchland) was nice, I also really like orange and black so I was very happy, one of the first things I noticed was that it was Halloween colors, and I love that. But it’s very nice for how old it’s supposed to be.”
Archaeology might relate to Latin, but it’s still a whole different ballpark.
“It requires being dirty a lot of the time, which is ironic because I hate dirt.”
In her studies in archaeology, she’s been many places. “I went to the Antonine wall in Britain, and I also did cave hopping, which was really cool, but was more related to a culture called the Picts, which overlapped with the Romans but they were a celtic tribe, for lack of a better term.” This overlap of cultures, and her experience in field, is one of the reasons why they were the subject of the Latin III’s archaeology powerpoint.
“The word “Pict” comes from “Picti” which its the latin word for “painted” essentially, and there’s all these stories that go around about how the Picts were painted blue and they weren’t actually painted blue, as far as we know. They probably had tattoos of some sort, but the Romans and the Picts hated each other so there was a lot of battles between the two of them and we only call them the Picts because the Romans wrote that down. We don’t know what they called themselves.”
The Picts lived in seaside caves in Scotland, one place Ms. Stone has studied and gone to in her cave hopping adventure. “So a lot of them (The caves) were on the coast, so a lot of them have been subjected over the years to either flooding or further carving out-ness. A lot of them now are super dangerous to get to so there was always the question of “Did the Picts actually go down there when they were dangerous or were they not dangerous back then?” So a lot of my work was kind of a combination of the environmental , a little bit of the underwater, but I’m afraid of the water so I kinda had someone else do that, and I did a lot of the Art Historical side of things too.
Ms. Stone plans to use all of this knowledge to teach her students well, and also plans to convince the administration to let her teach other languages. “I love teaching Latin, I’m trying to convince them to let me teach Greek too, but I think we need more people for that. So spread the word, Ancient Greek, room 121B!”
Ms. Ryan Stone its, in total, a well rounded teacher. Her knowledge is invaluable to her students, and she has many stories to tell.
Photo by: Jadyn Anderson