The CAA was very grateful to receive scholarship support from the Lincoln Orbit Earth Science Society (LOESS) for two high school students to participate in the CAA’s High School Field School in 2014. Our two LOESS scholars, Knate Bartosch and Zasha Wojtech, wrote about their experiences at the CAA. Below is Knate’s account of what he learned and experienced over the summer.
“With every deft stroke of the sharp edged trowel, I unearthed dirt that hasn’t seen sunlight for a very long time. To know that I was finding artifacts that humans touched around 2,000 years ago during the Middle Woodland Period was an amazing experience. To sum up my experiences in one sentence is very difficult, but I learned to bring things long gone and almost forgotten, back to life.
Since I’ve always loved history and digging, the CAA’s High School Field School appealed to me in a few different ways. When I arrived, after being slightly distraught that my cell phone had no service, I met the fantastic and knowledgeable staff and my fellow campers. On our first day at The Buried Gardens of Kampsville, identified by the cool acronym TBGOK, we sat down with Dr. Carol and she talked to us about the history of TBGOK, the eras of the surrounding areas, and the people who lived there long ago. She continued on about the archeological process and how things are done at TBGOK. Lo and behold, by the afternoon I was digging in SQ1064. As far as technical skills in the first week, I learned how to trowel, how to piece plot (Basically mapping large and diagnostic artifacts we find), all about measuring and elevations, as well as taking care of the site and our tools. I learned how to correctly label artifacts and bag them, as well as later clean them. My highlight of that week was I found a chip of obsidian, which is awesome because it indicates spheres of connection. It was so exciting knowing I found something very rare at the site. On Wednesday, we attended a lecture by the CAA’s Director of Research, Mr. Jason King. His lecture was extremely interesting. I was able to piece together what he was saying and take a little bit out of it.
The second week I spent with the CAA, we learned more advanced skills in the field, as well as in the lab. The most efficient thing I learned was shovel scraping. It is a lot quicker than using a trowel, but it requires a little more attention to detail. We also learned how to map or profile the wall of a completed unit to show the stratigraphy, which are the layers of soil along the whole of the unit. All of that was carefully plotted and mapped onto a graph, just like the piece plots taken off the floor of the unit. In the lab, we learned what the staff called tabbing, which is identifying and separating artifacts into groups to make everything nice and organized. The coolest thing I found the second week was a rather large worked piece that could have possibly been a spear point or a knife.
The CAA’s High School Field School rekindled my passion to study history, as well as ensured that I really do love archeology and would not mind doing it for the rest of my life. I appreciated this opportunity and all the people who made this camp a reality. The people I met and worked with were amazing and I’m keeping in contact with them still. Two weeks spent at TBGOK didn’t seem to be near enough time to fully understand the site and the history of the Middle Woodland First Americans.”
Thanks to the LOESS scholarship for supporting Knate’s participation in the CAA’s High School Field School. And many thanks to Knate for reporting what he learned at the CAA. Registration is now open for our 2015 High School Field School program.