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Youth get chance to dig history

Move over Indiana Jones and make room for Erica Bettross.

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Newt Powell sifts dirt and rocks while looking for items at the old Jeffersonian printing plant.

Erica, 14, spent last week with other local children discovering archeology at Hickory Hill's "Dig History" camp.

"I like the digging part the best," Erica said. "I found something that looks like a circular object with a hollow hole in it, then I found another one with what looks like a screw in itthey said we'll investigate it later today."

Other objects the children unearthed were bits of broken glass, brick, leather, china, and a print plate. The print plate pieces interested the campers, as they attempted to figure out what words were printed when the press was used.

"We (sift) the dirt through the screen, and usually it's just bricks. We don't keep bricks because we already have a million pieces of brick, and it doesn't make sense to keep them all," Newt said.

The site, located on the grounds of Hickory Hill, was the location of a 9,000 square foot publishing plant, owned by Tom Watson. Amy Nelson, archeology intern and director of the camp, said the publishing plant burned down in 1910. The building remains were later bulldozed and then the grounds were used as a cow pasture.

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Fifth Newton, 10, (right) and Museum Studies Intern Catherine Shuman focus on a spot.

The campers were helping to discover exactly how the building was oriented on the site and the types of machinery used there. Miss Nelson said once these details were learned, it would be possible to figure out "what happened in day to day life at the plant."

The first day of camp is in the classroom learning archeological concepts, identifying artifacts, and stratigraphy. On the second day, campers learn applied archeology by learning Native American techniques with teacher Wayne Roberts. The third and fourth days of camp are spent learning global positioning system concepts, excavating, and analyzing artifacts. Parents are invited to a program and party the last day of camp.

Sisters Hannah and Emylee Carlock said their favorite camp activity was making coil pottery. The boys, Newt Powell and Fifth Newton, enjoyed the flint-napping class where they learned how to make their own arrowheads.

The next Dig History camp at Hickory Hill will be from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday July 11 through Friday July 15. Cost is $75. Call 595-7777 for more information.



Web posted on Thursday, July 7, 2005











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