Dusting through the desert in a VW van from the early 1970s at the foot of the Andes Mountains, Michael Lockman was enjoying another day of studying abroad in Peru. Michael is studying archaeology at Purdue in the Honors College, and did fieldwork excavating an ancient pilgrimage site at Cerro Tortolita in Peru.
Michael says that he became interested in the Andes after taking an archaeology class in the Honors College. “I’ve been interested in how governments and social structures arose outside of Western narratives,” says Michael, “and the Andes represent an interesting geographic and political microcosm because it’s isolated from the rest of the country.”
Michael wasn’t always wearing mud-caked jeans and a sweatshirt in Peru. He also worked for the curation department in a Peruvian museum. “A lot of the work I did was translating documents and documenting artifacts,” says Michael. He also realized how the Honors College had prepared him for the job. “I received a lot less direction at the museum than I was expecting. But thanks to the honors program, I knew what questions to ask, was comfortable asking for clarification, and was comfortable not having all the details all the time.”