2. The National
Park Service and High School Archeology By
I became a social studies teacher for three
reasons. One, I believed in the importance of
understanding and appreciating history and prehistory.
Two, I believed in the idea that "hands on" and
innovative ways of teaching were critical to
the future of our young people. Three, I wanted
to show more people the value of archaeological
research in the world today. This article describes
a program I have developed to satisfy my need
to improve public understanding and support for
archeological study and preservation.
In 1994 I developed a ten student, two week,
archeology adventure in the Ozark National Scenic
Riverways of Missouri. The incredible success
and the positive response from everyone involved
motivated me to attempt another project. I believe
strongly in extending the classroom beyond the
four traditional walls, and have strong support
from a number of colleagues. Mr. Jim Cudworth,
and Ms. Sharon Henry, agreed to accompany me
and 12 students on a one week archeological adventure
in Hopewell National Historic Park, Chillicothe,
Ohio during the summer of 1995. Both projects
have been in cooperation with the National Park
Service's Midwest Archeological Center. Dr. Mark
Lynott has coordinated efforts to provide our
students with exceptional field and life experience,
and Mr. Forest Frost has provided professional
crew leadership and guidance. I could never adequately
express my appreciation for the efforts, cooperation
Milton Hershey School is a small, private,
K-12, residential, school for underprivileged
children located in Hershey, PA. We have developed
a Summer of Opportunities Program to provide
our students with a variety of educational and
recreational activities as an alternative to "hanging
out" all summer at home. An archeological field
school provides the perfect opportunity to blend,
education, job and life skills, with adventure.
A typical trip involves travel, living together
(either tents or park housing arrangements),
a few days of team building, site seeing, recreation,
and then a week to ten days of actual work on
the archeological site. Work involves training
which begins with reading and discussions before
arrival, debriefing, discussions, and lectures,
in camp and during meals, and hands- on, "part
of the crew" teaching. The students are divided
up with professional crew members for one on
one direction and supervision during on-site
time. The students participate in all aspects
of the excavation, including mapping, screening,
digging, sampling, filling out forms, and recording
notes. Basically anything the regular crew does,
our students are also involved. It is simply
an incredible experience for our students to
see the utility of things they have learned in
the classroom and the dynamics of working with
The specific educational goals we attempt to
My adventures with students are organized on the
basis of total student involvement. I tell students
at our first meeting: "I am not your mother, your
policeman, your guide, or your traditional teacher.
We will approach this trip as friends on an adventure.
We will utilize each others talents, skills, and
knowledge. We will work together, share the load,
and make decisions as a group." When they ask me, "What's
for dinner?" I answer, "I don't know, what are
- An appreciation and understand of the value
of archeological research. The value of knowledge
gained, and respect for, and preservation,
of cultural resources.
- An understanding of the connection between
classroom skills and the requirements in the
working world. Examples: English classes and
note writing/record keeping, Geometry and mapping,
History and Geography for site knowledge, Science
and Chemistry for geology and soils, the list
goes on and on.
- An understanding of the life skills required
to organize and operate a trip of this magnitude.
Travel planning, meal preparation, group organization,
- A development of life skills required by
group living, group dynamics, and the impacts
of sometimes stressful living and working conditions.
- A development of problems solving and resolution
skills. The ability to analyze situations and
surmise the possible solutions, socially, academically,
The success of our adventures cannot be measured by simple assessment
tools. I have had endless conversations about how the archeology field
school changed their understanding of the true working world. I have
also heard repeatedly, how nervous students were to get involved, but
after the first couple days they truly understand the importance of what
they are doing, and (more importantly) how capable and responsible they
can be with important tasks. I have had 100% return by students who are
All of this could not be possible without the cooperation of wonderful
people, giving of their time and their hearts. All of the archeologists
and educators who have supported and encouraged the students. The administrative
support of Milton Hershey School and the National Park Service. I cannot
thank these people enough for providing the students with a truly life
changing experience. Young people truly are our future, and maybe by
providing a window on the past we can also prepare them for the future.
Annabel Rosario Pottery
My name is Annabel Rosario and I'm a
student at Milton Hershey School. I have recently went on an archeological
for a week along with
college students and friends. I did three different station there.
At first I screened and shoveled (this is what you don't do unless you
Then I floated and helped to mark the bags, or measure the dirt. I
also dug on the flood plain, which many years ago was flooded, so they
there in order to find pieces of information that floated down. I thought
was a pretty neat experience. I really enjoyed this because you were
well rewarded when you found anything that the Indians made. Especially
you think you found a white talc rock but then when you stuck it on
your tongue, it stuck like crazy. Later on, you teacher tells you that
bone on your tongue!
Many people, when they think of an archeological excavation, they usually
think they'll find some nice pebbles, some dirt, and more dirt. Or for
you movie go'ers, you'd see Indiana Jones' doing his death defying acts
in order to get the rich artifacts. But there are many different things
you can fine, like bone or tools, I'm particularly interested in the
Each pottery piece is placed in a category so an archeologist can have
references. In order to have references, you need information. There
are three different series of pottery Scioto, Hopewellian, and Southern.
Once you get the pottery in a series there is a type you place it under.
Example from a book: Miami Series, type stamped denate. You also record
the information about how it was made, width, texture, hardness, color,
decorations, rim shape, lip, body, bottom, thickness, rim shreds (range
and mean), geographical range, chronological location, and probable relationships
(where it might have originated). Jarred Buck, who was a teacher's assistant,
told me that pottery has similar designs which helped the Indians to
communicate. Like Illinois and Ohio had similar pottery designs which
was most likely caused by trading. So Indians did not just communicate
with signals, they used the designs in the pottery also. I went on two
archeological digs in the past two years and I learned a whole lot of
interesting information. Maybe next time I go digging I'll see you there!
Victoria L. Bond "Grandma, I'm Home."
" Victoria, what did you find," my
grandmother asked. When she spoke those words something happened to me.
I wished I could tell her about
the big dinosaur bone or the ancient hunk calendar with a prehistoric Brad Pitt
etched in stone, but I couldn't. Nobody found anything like that. I, however,
explained to her what fire cracked rock was while I fostered the spirit of adventure
and excitement. I was trying to be Indiana Jones. My grandmother, however, had
a great knowledge of archeology, greater than my own, before I had been on my
first dig. She asked me rather hesitatingly, "Vick, didn't you sift dirt through
wire screens... didn't you do basic things."../index.html"Did I do basic things
... I did the most basic and important of things," I thought. I replied to my
grandmother, however, a solemn and respectful, "Yes." Once my grandmother cracked
the surface I was genuinely excited to recap my experience for her.
I told her how hot it was. Her eyes opened with amazement when she
examined my clean, but brown stained clothes. Her nose opened a great
deal when she smelled the sneakers I worked in. Her mind was at my disposal
as I explained the Hopewell people and their enchanting burial mounds.
She asked question after question about the site of Chillicothe, Ohio,
and the college students that were on their first field school. It seemed
that she found a certain satisfaction in knowing that her granddaughter,
a junior in high school, had not had the same academic experience as
the college students, but was able to do the same work. I was able to
apply basic skills that I have been learning all my life.
Among those skills was teamwork. While at the site I made an absolute
effort to be of any help. I tried to help others and do all that I could.
As I sifted, I acted as though there was no job more important. I realized
that for one week it was my duty to take history out of the ground. If
I made a mistake or acted foolish a piece of history was gone forever.
It possibly could never be regained. That was something that I could
not bare to have on my conscience.
I appreciate the history in the ground. I now see that every time a
new road or mini-mall is built some of that history is lost. While taking
a break on the site, my advisor on the dig, Randy Farmer, asked me to
turn around. It was beautiful. I could see forever. There was tall green
grass being moved by the gentle wind, followed by hill after hill covered
with trees. It seemed as though the trees could reach the sky. As I stood
in awe, Mr. Farmer said, "This is the cool part of the world."
My grandmother seemed to be moved by his words. She approached the
center window in the living room as we completed the question - answer
session and said, "You don't know just how right he is."
Vernon Edwards Jurassic Park
and Search for the Body of King Tut, This Was Not!
summer of '95 had new meaning for Vernon Edwards. While most of
my friends were
enjoying air-conditioning back at home in Harrisburg, PA, I was somewhere
called Chillicothe, Ohio in the sweltering heat digging dirt. "Digging
dirt? For what?" some might ask. It I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention,
or in a very wisenheimer mood, I might reply something to the effect of "I
was digging my own early grave as I was sure I'd die from that heat." What
I was actually doing was participating in the excavation of an archaeological
site that had been worked on by some college students for a "month and
some" prior to my party's arrival. This field school was a required course
for the college students, but I was privileged to be there because, for
me and most of those that had come with me, this was "something new".
The site was believed to be one where some prehistoric American Indians
sometimes called the Mound Builders had possibly been. Many mysteries
still surround these peoples, but it is known that they built large burial
mounds and enclosures, and they also were skilled artists and weapon
makers. A theory surrounding them is that they may have been at least
semi-nomadic over a relatively small area. That is why we were checking
out the particular area we were in. Directly next to a river and partially
in the river's old flood plain (a dam upstream now keeps the area from
flooding), these prehistoric peoples could have spent some time there
on a seasonal basis based upon flood cycles.
This is where I became interested. I wanted to know how the climate
and topography of the area affected these Mound Builders' activities.
Taking into consideration all the changes that have occurred to the area
over many years, I was able to come up with some thoughts of my own using
some of the information we found in the dig, and some of our own reactions
to the weather. For one, I was quickly able to establish why this may
have been a prime spot for people to live: water. Being right near a
river, these people needed and took advantage of water, especially during
the weather like we were having. Even we tried to take advantage of the
water. This was noticed as everyone wanted to go down by the river where
we were "floating" dirt in river water to find any hidden charcoal or
seeds that would have given us information about these people. (As one
may assume, mud is the by-product of dirt and water. The reason people
were so cool was, well, mud wars on a massive scale occurred daily. Flotation
was the "coolest" job, but not necessarily the cleanest).
Another way this area could have been important was again based upon
the river being near. We kept finding these snail shells in the dirt
samples we took up. Now on the flood plain area, this may have been normal,
but on the area that would have been dry (usually) there was a high concentration
of these shells. It was figured that these snails were a food source,
and when they were eaten, large masses would be piled up in the same
place, like a garbage area. As far as the weather is concerned, it is
possible that the semi-nomadic nature of the Mound Builders was an actual
fact. With the flood plain having a cycle of dryness then submersion,
the Mound Builders may have only been on this area during times of dryness
for whatever reasons, then, of course, moved on to somewhere else. A
final thing about the Mound Builders that I am sure of is that they worked
hard, even in hot, humid weather. Even though those in field school didn't
actually "have to" work through the heat, we did. Since it was a matter
of life and death for these prehistoric Indians, they "had to". So while
we had the comforts of bug repellent for those unrelenting "sweat bees" and "biting
flies", the Mound Builders just endured all of the negatives of their
environment to survive. (All of that without any bug repellent. That's
amazing because I know I wanted to go home the first time I found my
water bottle empty and a "sweat bee" bit me).
That experience gave me a lot to go home (where there was air-conditioning)
with. For one, I got to "play" in dirt for a week, and wasn't looked
upon like some loony who never grew up. Another thing is I came back
with a renewed appreciation for the history and peoples that preceded
me and my time. I'm sure that some presumptions based upon previous knowledge
(television and movies like "Raiders of the Lost Ark") had some of us
newcomers to archaeology believing we'd find some skeletons of people
and valuable treasures that would have tempted one of these "pot-humters" to
smuggle it away in order to make a profit. That wasn't the case, however,
as the only bone we found was of some animal's shoulder, and the only
treasures we found were more information towards understanding an ancient
people (not saying that is a bad thing, but it just doesn't make for
as good a movie.)