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Piette

Snapshot

Students will travel back in time for 17 days from Paris to the D-Day beaches in Normandy to caves of the Paleolithic in the Dordogne

Date: June, 3 weeks
Number of Students: 10
Program Director: Claire Gallou
Faculty Leader: Ryan Wheeler and Debra Pickering
Themes: Language, Culture, Archaeology, History

Overview

The Piette program was designed by French and history teachers in collaboration with the Peabody Museum of Archeology and is made possible in part by a grant from the Abbot Academy Association. A selected team of ten students will travel back in time for 17 days from the D-Day beaches in Normandy to genuine caves of the Paleolithic in the Dordogne. The trip will include hands-on archeological excavation on a private site, behind-the-scenes tours of museums, linguistic activities as well as visits to well-known places and hidden villages. Students will touch human history while learning about the French language and culture. Students will attend spring seminars prior to the trip and present their individual research projects in the fall term at a campus-wide event hosted by the Peabody Museum.

Requirements: There is no specific French level requirement, but students must be willing to learn some language and have a strong interest in at least one of the featured disciplines, French, history, art history, prehistory and archeology.

The Piette team is grateful for the generous support of the Abbot Academy Association.

Origins of the Program

The Piette program was developed as a direct result of the need to translate documents in French that concerned items in the Peabody Museum’s collection received during the 1920s and 30s. During the 2009-2010 academic year all the documents were translated by Claire Gallou’s students and at the end of each term the classes came to the Peabody for a presentation about the artifacts and their cultural context. The translated documents informed the Peabody of its obligation to repatriate specific objects to the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale. They belonged to a unique collection gathered by Edouard Piette. Arrangements were made for Claire and Malinda Blustain, Director of the Peabody Museum at the time, to return them and start a connection with the French museum. Coincidently, through the Peabody’s symposium at the Society for American Archaeology meeting in spring 2010, Claire and Malinda met Dr. Margaret Conkey, who was working out of UC Berkeley on a Magdalenian site in southern France. She extended a standing invitation to visit her at the site during her summer fieldwork, which Claire and Malinda did. The return of the objects, coupled with a desire to make something good result from it that would benefit our students, and the connection with an ongoing excavation, was the inspiration for the Piette program.

This interdisciplinary program (French, History, Archaeology) will include academic seminars, student research, and a 17-day trip “back in time” around France, followed by a presentation of the students’ research and visual productions in the fall term, most likely at the Peabody Museum. The Piette program will make 30,000 years of human history tangible to its 10 student participants and to the campus community who will benefit from the program’s research and connections. It will create long-term cognitive anchors in the students by linking textbook learning to the real world. It will prepare them for global citizenship by immersing them in the lessons of the past and demonstrating the connection between language and culture.

Content of the Program

Spring Seminars
In April and May, students participate in three half-day seminars, one per discipline, to prepare for what they will see on the trip. These seminars will also allow each student to define his or her research topic. Seminars will be led by the faculty who will be traveling with the group, as well as by the archaeology professor who manages the excavation site we will visit.

Presentation of Research

In the fall term, students present their findings at a public event hosted by the Peabody Museum. Examples of items to present include a powerpoint presentation, a portfolio, or a manuscript, and can be as creative as the student wishes.

For more information on the Piette program, please contact Claire Gallou (cgallou@andover.edu).