To continue our volunteer spotlight blog segment, we’d like to introduce you to Pattie Sobieski. Pattie brings energy, enthusiasm, and laughter to everything she participates in. We especially treasure her skills in talking about archaeology to the public – whether during excavations at Gloucester’s Daffodil Festivals, teaching newcomers at lab nights, or chatting up archaeology and the Fairfield Foundation during our car wash fundraiser (where she was also the all-star car-washer!).
How and when did you first become involved with the Fairfield Foundation?
I heard about the foundation from a lecture Forrest Morgan gave in Middlesex on the finds being made in ordinary places. It was fascinating to learn we had so much “undiscovered” history in our area. I had always been a bit of a history buff, but love “hands on” activities and the outside, so I thought, this could be fun. It has been a wonderful experience. My first lab night there were so many young students, I didn’t think I would fit in. Quickly I discovered it doesn’t matter what your age, the stuff you are cleaning and handling is a lot older than you are! Plus, the group was so warm and welcoming, I forget I am no longer that college student I was 30 years ago.
Pattie represents The Fairfield Foundation with her t-shirt while washing cars for a good cause!
Describe a memorable experience you’ve had with the Fairfield Foundation.
Wow, this is hard..I think it would have to be the first dig I participated in (Middle Peninsula State Park survey). It started out slowly with a few test holes and not much to show – but then we started to hit brick, pipe stems, window glass, and wine bottle fragments. I was blown away to hold something in my hand that had not been touched by another person for 200 years!
During the Gloucester Courthouse dig during the Daffodil festival, I found half of a child’s marble. I could almost imagine the little boy playing marbles, while his father participated in a rowdy dialogue on independence.
Pattie and Rebecca Guest screen for artifacts during an STP survey at the proposed Middle Peninsula State Park
How do you spend your time when you’re not helping out the Fairfield Foundation?
I am a Senior Government Mortgage Underwriter for a Texas Bank which allows me to work from home. I have three beautiful granddaughters, volunteer with my church, and drive for Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad. Did I mention, I have a wonderful understanding husband???
Your time is valuable – why do you support the Fairfield Foundation through volunteering?
We are a diverse group with retirees, working folks and students but we are united by our love of the past and our desire to preserve it and learn from it. I volunteer for purely selfish reasons, there is so much energy from the folks in the group, I feel like a college student again. Every dig and every evening at lab night is a new adventure.
Pattie and fellow ASV certification student Walt learn about Virginia prehistory and prehistoric ceramics at lab night.
If you could visit any archaeological site in the world, what would it be and why?
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to uncover why three of the world’s largest religions have claimed this scared ground.
Thanks to Pattie for sharing some of her favorite things with us! Stay tuned via e-mail (email@example.com), Facebook (Facebook.com/TheFairfieldFoundation), and now Twitter (@FairfieldFound) to read about more of our great volunteers, as well as to keep up to date about all of our activities and upcoming events!