Ten-year-old Scott Harris wiped sweat from his forehead, then leaned over a dirt pit to measure and map his new treasure dug up on the University of South Alabama campus.
“I found an arrowhead,” exclaimed Harris, one of 16 children from across Mobile who attended the university’s first archeology camp for youngsters ages 10 and 11.
The children took turns digging through levels of dirt that were “pre-seeded” with artifacts dating back to the 19th century. They learned basic archeology techniques, including excavating, mapping, measuring and sifting while building math and note-taking skills to complete the artifact retrieval process.
Camp director, Dr. Philip Carr, an associate professor in the USA sociology and anthropology department, and his staff assisted in minor ways, retrieving equipment and aiding in graphing, but otherwise made the campers responsible for most of the artifact retrievals. The campers learned to scoop only about four inches of dirt with each dig into the site. Mobile’s humid summer weather made the work slow and sweaty, but the campers never missed a beat. “I’ve learned a lot of different things I didn’t know about archeology, like how you have to be careful digging, but it’s fun because you don’t know what’s going to happen next,” said Harris.
Carr said that the archeology camp’s goal is, “to teach kids to save the past for the future and to gain appreciation for what we can learn from peoples that came before us.”