Students participate in archaeology dig

May 7, 2008 5:38:55 PM PDT
Five San Jacinto College students and their instructor recently participated in an archaeology dig at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park in La Porte.The dig was held at the site of the battleground where the Mexican army was reported to have been encamped. As part of an ongoing dig that Texas A & M graduate student Dana Pertermann started last Spring as research for her dissertation, San Jacinto College anthropology professor Pamela Maack felt that participation in the dig was important for her students. The students who participated hope to continue the dig throughout the summer. Any excavation on public lands or using public funds must be registered and approved by the office of the State Archaeologist. Pertermann received permission, and a grant, from Texas Parks and Wildlife for the project.

"I was very proud of the commitment our students made to come out and volunteer their free time," said Maack, who accompanied the students from her Introduction to Archaeology class. "Excavation, particularly in the early stages, can be difficult and tedious work and the students in my class worked eagerly throughout the weekend, waiting out the thunderstorm and returning to their muddy pits to finish out the day."

The students were able to implement in the field many of the procedures and processes they had been taught in class. Maack says that many of her students plan to continue with the project for as long as the dig progresses. Several students even plan to pursue a career in the field, and because of their participation, some may be able to secure additional jobs as "shovel bums" ? archaeologists who work on ongoing digs - in Texas and throughout the United States.

"Participating in this dig was a unique and exciting opportunity for our students," noted Maack. "Because the process is so involved and regulated, introductory archaeology courses do not often get the opportunity to participate in a true archaeological dig."

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