Digging in the dirt - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging in the dirt

April 16, 2004

Americus-- When the DOT builds roads, they're not just digging into the dirt, they're unearthing valuable artifacts.

On Friday, their work served as a priceless lesson for others.

It takes lots of patience and lots of man power to unearth just one arrowhead. 7th Grader Raven Harris says, "I'm clearing dirt from this wall because we are going to take a picture of it."

Staley Middle School students are helping in an important archaeological dig of U.S. 19 just north of Americus. But, it is not easy work, "Well, it is hard work and your back hurts from doing all this bending down and you get tired very quick, but I like working in the dirt. It's kind of fun being out here on a nice, sunny, cool day."

The students are working with archaeologists hired by the Department of Transportation. Before the DOT widens this section of U.S. Highway 19, they want to remove ancient artifacts buried deep in the dirt.

Archaeologist Jim Mauldin says, "They figured out from what they found the time period was from the middle to late Archaic up to the Woodland time period so that is 2,000 to 3,000 years ago up to 1,000 A.D."

This dig serves two purposes--collecting valuable pieces of South Georgia history, while teaching these kids how to find it. Raven says, "Playing in the dirt! It's the best part!"

The DOT and the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site invited the students to the dig.

Much of what is found will be stored at the Carter Museum in Plains and used as a teaching tool for students.

Posted at 5:43 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com