Armed with trowels and dustpans, students from Rogue-Elk Elementary School, north of Trail, got their hands dirty in the name of science.
The students dug artifacts at a simulated site provided by Oregon Department of Transportation archaeologists.
“This is like a treasure hunt!” said student Ashley Meyers.
ODOT provides the self-contained digging stations, which are delivered to the school before each session complete with sand and artifacts. The stations include rocks, bits plates, shards of glass and other items. The students are provided with gloves, dustpans and brushes.
“We take this program around the state and it’s a great opportunity for us to share history and our program with young people,” said ODOT Archaeology Program Manager Carolyn McAleer.
The students, live in an area rich in history, a fact not lost on their teachers.
“Some students who live close to the Rogue River and its tributaries know what its like to go out onto their property and find items of historical significance,” said Susan Triller, a teacher at Rogue-Elk Elementary School. “This exercise brings things to life.”
Archaeological sites are not a rare or infrequent occurrence. Over 30,000 sites have been recorded in Oregon to date with about 6% of the state actually surveyed.
According to ODOT Archaeologist Kurt Roedel, seven federal laws and three Oregon State Laws regulate the protection of archaeological resources.
“Oregon’s human history spans at least 13,000 years and archaeology provides a vital link to help understand the State’s cultural history. Archaeologists review environmental data and historical records and coordinate with Tribal partners to tell a story about each site” Roedel said.