October 15, 2016

Dear Diary,

Whew! I barely escaped Hurricane Matthew. I was still down on Georgia’s beautiful coast the week following the annual CoastFest celebration in Brunswick when the hurricane headed that way. Fortunately, my friends and handlers got me out of harm’s way just in the nick of time! (Thanks Jen, Scott, Real Dan, and Veronica!) But enough about my harrowing escape from the jaws of danger…

What I really wanted to tell you about was my fun time at CoastFest. This is my, oh, maybe sixth or seventh year attending the fantastic outdoor festival that the Georgia Department of Resources has been sponsoring since 1995! It started like, when I was two years old and still a bookmobile! Of course, I couldn’t attend until I got older and became the ArchaeoBus, when I could share all my exciting hands-on activities about Georgia archaeology with everyone. Back in 1995, 200 people attended the first festival. This year in 2016, there were 8,012 visitors! I think they all came to see me. Well, OK, maybe 12 of them got too busy on the rock climbing wall or handling the snakes, but I am SURE the other 8,000 tried out all my interactives on the bus and played the archaeology games under my tent. I know because I was almost as tired as my handlers and volunteers.

Check out these photos that my handler, Veronica took of my helpers and visitors at CoastFest 2016. I think the visitors had as much fun as me!

Figure 1

Figure 1. A few of my battle-hardened handlers and volunteers ready for the onslaught of 8,000 visitors. (Left to right: Tammy Herron, Dan “Real Dan” Elliott, Mary Jo Davis,and behind the pole, Joseph Roberts.)

Figure 2

Figure 2. Let the games begin! Tammy and Mary Jo help with Native American archaeology activities.

Figure 3.

Figure 3. Two visitors discover Historic Archaeology, Underwater Archaeology, and all kinds of archaeology!

Figure 4

Figure 4. Joey encourages visitors to touch various animal pelts and other items that don’t survive under the ground in archaeological sites.

Figure 5

Figure 5. Wow, they are acing the electronic quiz! I haven’t heard the buzzer once!

Figure 6

Figure 6. Two future scientists not only study the deer bones, but actually READ the label about them!

Figure 7

Figure 7. Harrison Ashlock demos a wooden pottery paddle while manning the Native American pottery station. Behind him, P.T. Ashlock helps visitors explore stone tools. To his left, Toby Ashlock and Dan Elliott assist visitors with matching games about seeds and plants.

Figure 8

Figure 8. Toby and Dan help a visitor mend artifacts to learn about diet, economic status, and trade.

Figure 9

Figure 9. Caroline Rock stands ready to assist delighted bus visitors.

And speaking of fun, I can hardly wait for my appearance at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Athens, Georgia. At the risk of sounding immodest, I will be the star of the Georgia Archaeology Faire, which will have lots of other archaeology activities too. The fair is free and open to the public on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. I will be set up for visitors of all kinds. I, Abby the ArchaeoBus, am personally inviting all the adults, college students, and children in the Athens and surrounding areas to come out and try out all my educational games. And I am equally excited to strut my stuff with the archaeologists of SEAC–always a cool crowd! So come visit me. Tell ’em my diary sent you. See you in Athens!