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A Great Way to Learn About the Thousands of Years of History in Your Backyard
The Archaeology of Your Town program is a unique archaeological odyssey that allows both children and adults a fun and exciting opportunity to learn their town's history in a special way. Our program usually last from 1-2 hours but we are also able to make it an all day affair. During the course of the program, adults and children learn where Native Americans lived in their town before Columbus landed. We present maps showing the Native trails that in many cases later became our roads and highways, and we show where archaeologists and your own friends and neighbors have found evidence of your town's unique Native past. You will be surprised that the ballfield you play on has an 8000 year old site on it or that the town square was the center of a thriving, living Native community for thousands of years. We have researched the Native names of each town in southeastern Massachusetts and can tell you what various Native words are still used today (such as Acushnet, Massachusetts, or Mattapoisett) mean. We then go on to discuss where the first European settlers built their homes in your town and what evidence of them has been found. It's great fun to discover that those same roads that you travel today, were trod upon by horses, cattle and people who may very well have spoken with the Pilgrims themselves!
We will spend the largest part of our program in an interactive discussion and activity session that focuses on archaeology and how archaeology is used to discover the past of your town. After an initial introduction to archaeology and discussion of the main principles that every archaeologist, whether they are digging in Egypt, South America or southeastern Massachusetts, follows (stratigraphy, superposition and conservation), we bring out our very own archaeology field pack and discuss the tools and steps of an archaeological dig.
Participants then get the unique opportunity to excavate the Code Rose site, a simulated archaeological site complete with mysteries and features. The Code Rose site excavation has been developed so that people can apply what they just learned in the previous discussion to a pseudo-real world situation. The Code Rose site is a threatened site in your town and unfortuantely, there is not much money to excavate it. It is now up to all those working on it help to decide where to dig and help interpret what is found. Children and adults get to dig a square, recover artifacts, identify and date them and discuss how they contribute to the story of what happened at the site. The Code Rose site excavation is flexible enough that it can be multi-component (spanning thousands of years of Native and Colonial occupation) or single-component with either a Native or colonial occupation.
After the discussion of what was found at the site, the program concludes with a talk about the importance of being mindful when walking around or digging in your yard. Archaeology is everywhere and one never knows when evidence of your towns past will be uncovered. Unfortuantely, due to construction and erosion, the past is lost everyday. What we try to do in this part of the program is stress to people the need to record what they find. We teach them that knowing where something is found is very important and that by contacting us in the future, we can help them date and identify their finds and record them with the Massachusetts Historical Commission (they even get to name the site whatever they want).
Participants leave with activity pages and sheets discussing the Native names of their town, the archaeology of their town and where they can get more information.