Thursday, May 19, 2016

Patapsco Female Institute, Maryland--Part II

Continuing from yesterpost about the history of the Patapsco Female Institute...

We switched roles with the other half of the class and my son tried some hands-on archeology. The archeologists explained that they typically set off squares to dig in and had a coordinate system to show where they found items. He warned the children to be careful stepping over the strings that mark off the square, because falling down the hill is not a pleasant experience!

A sample dig

A working dig

The children got their trowels and began scraping away dirt in hopes of finding interesting items buried underneath. They did find some pieces of broken pottery and some charcoal.

Demonstrating the technique

Working together

Some of the finds

One of the children asked about all the stuff they found and it came out that the archeologists had put some items back in the ground for the kids to find. A bit of a trick, but then the archeologist could talk about the various items and what they tell us about the site.

We then went over and looked at other objects that have been found and preserved during this past thirty years of exploring the site.

Showing some of the earlier finds

Examining artifacts

Some objects are found whole, such as buttons or bits of jewelry. Some are partial items, like an old toothbrush that was missing its bristles and most of its handle. Studying these items let the archeologists learn more about the people who lived here and what they did. Sometimes the objects are broken bits, often from dishes or cookware. Pottery is often reconstructed, which was our next activity. The children tried to piece back together some shattered items (the items were from Target, not from local digging).

Putting plates back together

Working hard

After this final activity, the class had a chance to sit together on the steps for a photo before heading back down the hill.

Class without the teacher

Class with the teacher

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