DIG DAY: Kids learn about archaeology at program (PHOTOS)

Published 9:52 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

Judd Albrets helps son, Eli, process his fossil at Pioneer Museum's "Dig It" event Saturday.

Judd Albrets helps son, Eli, process his fossil at Pioneer Museum’s “Dig It” event Saturday.

A handful of children excavated a handful of artifacts and learned a bit about archaeology in the process.

Pioneer Museum held its annual children’s program Saturday and archaeology was the theme.

“We have a children’s program every summer. There’s a different focus every year,” said Kari Barley, executive director of the museum.

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Montgomery resident Jennifer Barker brought her daughters, 12-year-old Zoe and 9-year-old Rylie.

“She has been looking forward to this all week,” Barker said of Rylie. “She really liked it. I think the digging was her favorite part.”

A little rain couldn’t keep the budding archaeologist from digging into history. She and the group simply excavated artifacts indoors. The museum spread out the plastic, piled up the dirt and hid arrowheads and shards of pottery for the children to find and keep.

The children learned how household products could be used for the excavation. They dug with ice cream scoops and cleaned up their finds with a toothbrush and toothpick.

“I’m just digging with my hands,” said 9-year-old Gavin Wade. “It covers more surface area.”

During the excavation, children learned how archaeologists rope off quadrants to keep track of where the artifacts were found.

Seven-year-old James Thompson said the excavation was his favorite part.

“This is my second time having really ancient things in my hands,” he said.

Lola Drinkwater was surprised to see how the items were processed and cleaned. “This is probably the weirdest thing, using a toothbrush to clean stuff,” said the 6-year-old.

Barley taught Thompson how to preserve his ancient thing. She took the children through the four stages of a good dig: research, excavation, processing and preservation and the children tried their hands at each.

Each of the children had their favorite part of the two-hour lesson. “Mine was cleaning them because had little holes and I had to use a pick to clean them out,” said Wade.

Barley said she and her staff try to plan programs that encourage participation and brings history to life.

“It’s always fun to see the kids light up when they learn that history can be fun,” she said.