I was lucky enough to spend a whole day at Beverly Triton Beach in October. I explored history with real archaeologists, learned how Native Americans lived there centuries ago, and tried out some important measuring and math that helps these scientists do their work. It was a day filled with sun, fun, and cool discoveries.
I know who Indiana Jones is; but, I’d never met a real archaeologist before. Archaeologists are scientists who study artifacts, fossils, and relics that were from a past culture, like Native Americans in the Maryland area. The scientists we met were really fun and taught us a lot of new things. We got to use some of the tools and screens that they use when they are digging and exploring. They also had samples for us to look at of things that had been found in our local area, some were hundreds of years old and others were thousands. They explained that finding and researching these things helps them understand what kind of people and animals lived in an area, what their life was like, and what kind of art or tools they made and used. That information helps us learn about our history.
After we learned what archaeologists do, and what they learn from their discoveries, we got to learn how they do it. We went to a field and practiced how they actually plan an excavation or dig. They take the area and make a big grid out of it. We used string and stakes and measured out sections before marking them. We even used our phones as compasses. This helps the scientists cover all of the area, not repeat exploring in an area that has already been done, and see how much more there is to do. It keeps them organized and gives them a plan.
In another area, we got to work with an art teacher who helped us learn how the Native Americans, who had lived in this area many centuries, before made pottery. Their pottery was used for everyday needs, such as cooking and eating, but it was also very artistic. We sat out near the beach where they probably sat hundreds of years ago and made our own pottery. We started with a plain lump of clay and ended up with a decorated cup. We used the types of tools that they might have used back then to decorate them, such as feathers, net, and straw. Later at school, we painted them with colors that would have been used during their time.
We had many other stations that day at Beverly Triton Beach. Each one was different but they were all kind of connected in a way. It was like all of these different discoveries and scientists and scientific methods were like a big puzzle. When you put the pieces of the different scientists’ findings all together, it makes a picture of what life was like back then at Beverly Triton Beach in different eras.
Sixth grader Dylan Sjolie, Central Middle School, Anne Arundel County, learned a lot about archaeology during his field trip to Beverly Triton Beach.