AIA News

April 23, 2014

Past Waldbaum Recipient Spotlight: Ethan Aines

Archaeology is a subject that attracts individuals from all different backgrounds. Ethan Aines is currently a senior at Stanford University, looking forward to attending either Cambridge or Oxford next year. Before Stanford, however, he was a student at Las Positas College, a community college in Livermore, CA, returning to the States after spending six years studying Arabic and freelancing in Egypt.

Attending high school against the background of the Iraq War inspired Ethan to learn Arabic and pursue a non-traditional post-secondary career in Cairo. When not writing or editing, he would visit the numerous archaeological sites for fun. Fortuitously, Ethan decided to go back to his home state of California before the Egyptian Revolution occurred.

Taking “random” classes at Las Positas introduced Ethan to archaeology and anthropology as academic subjects. He was able to complete five honors projects and present at several conferences; this strong academic record earned him both a full scholarship as a transfer student at Stanford, and a Waldbaum Scholarship for the preceding summer.

With the support of the Waldbaum Scholarship and a second scholarship from Las Positas, Ethan traveled to Fjäle, a Viking farmstead on the island of Gotland in Sweden. He and his teammates excavated several buildings and uncovered unique artifacts. This six-week field school experience allowed Ethan to connect with his Scandinavian roots and helped to prepare him for the rigors of Stanford’s technical instruction in archaeology.

There are many great professors at Stanford, and Ethan credits Michael Shanks in particular for teaching the “theory and history” of archaeology, and instilling skills that can be used across disciplines and around the world. The AIA’s Stanford Society has many talks that appeal to Ethan’s broad interests, and he is frequently in attendance.

Currently, Ethan is focusing on antiquarianism in Northern Europe, and explains his research interests more fully on his website. Although present instability limits fieldworks opportunities in many areas of the Middle East and Egypt, who knows where this multi-lingual, multi-talented former Waldbaum winner will end up?

Further information about the Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship can be found here, or by contacting Deanna Baker at 617-353-8705 or The next deadline is March 1, 2015.

If you would like to support students like Ethan through a gift to the Archaeological Institute of America, click here now, or call the AIA at 857-305-9350. 

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