It’s not what you find, but what you find out

Submitted by Kelly Woodard (kelly@thesga.org)

Linda Lane, member of SGA’s local chapter Golden Isles Archaeological Society (GIAS) wrote an article for Dig magazine titled “It’s Not What You Find-But What You Find Out.” Dig magazine is published for children ages nine and older in partnership with Archaeology magazine. Its main focus is making archaeology, paleontology, and earth sciences interesting to children. The colorful cover targets children going to camp with the phrase All You Want to Know About Field Camps, which educates children ages seven and up how to get involved with field schools and other volunteer opportunities around the country.

In the current issue of Dig, Lane’s article details to young readers how fourth grade students in Glynn County, Georgia, learn to use the scientific method, mapping, observation, and concluding from archaeological data and research. Glynn County students use their classroom exercises to excavate with their peers as an experienced archaeologist would through the use of trowels, brushes, dust pans, gloves, kneed pads, goggles, grid maps and their very own field journal. After field excavation, the students are introduced to the lab to wash, catalog, weigh and measure artifacts.

The Parks as Classroom Archaeology Education Program, established in 1994, prides itself for the hands on teaching of archaeology to over 1100 fourth grade students in Glynn County. The local teachers are trained to instruct students in history of the town and Fort Frederica. As a result, archaeology has been adopted into the fourth grade curriculum. Students and teachers take part in a week long workshop on site at Fort Frederica and in the archaeology Lab at Oglethorpe Elementary.

The students in the Fort Frederica program have the unique opportunity to excavate authentic artifacts. When the site was originally excavated, storage was an issue, so the lead archaeologist decided to rebury artifacts that he deemed less important in the initial investigation. The artifacts the students recover are taken to the Oglethorpe Lab where students identify and classify them through a curation process. At Fort Frederica, much information was lost in the initial investigation, but the children in Glynn County have the opportunity to participate and learn about archaeology and its importance at a young age. Lane put it best when she said that “while Fort Frederica may have lost in one way, the students have certainly gained.”

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