[NPS Arrowhead] U.S. Dept. of Interior National Park Service Archeology Program
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(photo) Kids excavate a site.

The co-directors expect, and receive, the same level of commitment and ability from the campers as they do from adult volunteers, despite the age difference.

"Kids learn actual skills [at the Virginia archeology camp], getting a good idea of what to look for as they dig," says Steven Shephard, assistant city archeologist and one of the camp's co-directors. As for the campers' enthusiasm, "You can see for yourself that they're excited to be here and to be playing an active role."

Indeed, as the rain returns and increases in intensity, several campers stand by their pits in case they have to pull up the tarps and call it a day. After only a couple days in camp, many are already gaining a solid grasp of the fundamentals.

"Before we started to dig, it was important that we knew a lot of things that will help in our identification of the artifacts," says 13-year-old Greg Picasso on the third day of the session." We need to know the history of the area to be able to see what we're looking for. We also need to judge soil colors to know if we're going to a new level. We're not just scraping around

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with a trowel."

The co-directors expect, and receive, the same level of commitment and ability from the campers as they do from adult volunteers. "The kids are out here following our directions, doing the same things that our other volunteers, and even our field-schoolers, do," says Shephard. "We do the record-keeping but we explain all our recording methods and why we do it. By the end of their session, they will have a very good idea how an archeological excavation, in all respects, is run."

The learning process begins with a day-long orientation, which includes an introduction to archeology, a history of the area, and a hands-on lesson in mapping the site's potential. The rest of the week covers artifact identification and of course, digging.  Read more.

 

(photo)  Kid examines artifact.

Learning to ExcavateUnearthing a Civil War Site

 

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