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8 November 2006
JSU Field Schools Present
Archaeology Adventure Week to 300

Calhoun County Enrichment Students


Three hundred students from the Calhoun County Gifted Program, dozens of parents, teachers and principals visited DeSoto State Park from October 30 to November 3 to experience Jacksonville State University's Field Schools Adventures in Archaeology Field Trip. An interpreter from the National Park Service explained how native peoples used natural resources to make tools, weapons, music, and even games.  A local artist who has work in galleries and museums all over the nation taught children the “pinch pot” method of pottery using natural materials such as clay, mussel shells, deer bone and wooden paddles. JSU staff and students worked with groups of children as they participated in a mock search for archaeological clues with actual tools used by scientists such as screens and trowels to search through bags of soil filled with reproduction artifacts.  Groups of amazed participants stood beneath a giant rock shelter that was used by native peoples over 2000 years ago which was excavated by JSU Archaeology and preserved as an “open site” by the state park. The students learned about the science of archaeological excavation and legal issues associated with this topic. A member of the JSU Archaeology Club presented a power point on the archaeological treasures and sites of Northeast Alabama.


“The Field Schools have outdone themselves, again! The children have learned so much during this program.” says principal Hector Baeza (Saks Elementary) as he watches over sixty elementary students taking turns to throw short wooden spears at a “rock” rabbit while playing a Native American game that was used to teach young hunters the skills necessary for gathering food.


Melba Phillips, the Gifted Program Coordinator, throws her hands wide and says, “The best part is that everything in this program is HANDS ON! This enhances what we are teaching these students in the classroom.”


When fifth grader Chandler Hardy was asked, “What did you like the most?” He pauses, grins and answers, “It is hard to choose. I loved making stuff out of the clay and the atlatl (spear thrower) was awesome. I think I want to go to JSU and become an archaeologist some day.”

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