ST. CLOUD - The Stearns History Museum teamed up with St. Cloud State University Graduate Students and Archaeologists Charlie Peliska and Corey Yates for a day camp for kids. They assisted the campers in an archaeological dig. It might have just looked like kids digging in the dirt, but Yates says it's more than that.

"We're having them excavate excavation units that we've set up. We've place some artifacts from different time periods at different levels, so that way they can get an understanding of how through time things at the bottom of these excavation units are going to be older than the stuff they find on top."

Some of the items found during the Archaeology Day Camp dig.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

During the dig the children searched for artifacts including coins and pottery. Once the items were found they were taken back to the lab for analysis. Campers also mapped artifacts, surveyed the oldest building in St. Cloud, went on a nature hike, sifted through soil, and learned about archaeology.

Peliska says, "Children have been working on learning stratigraphy, learning about soils, learning about mapping, and how to handle artifacts, finding things in a careful manner, not just digging random holes, but actually excavating carefully."

"We're trying to train them to do things as archaeologists would," says Yates.

Peliska spoke on the importance for kids to learn about archaeology and anthropology because it teaches us about the past.

"Archaeology and history and the idea of cultural resources is important because it allows us to appreciate not only other cultures, which is part of anthropology, but also answer questions about people that aren't there anymore."

Yates agrees, and hopes the kids learn that Archaeology can be fun.

"I'm hoping they learn that archaeology is not just about playing in the dirt, that there is some science to it, but it's fun."

Campers dig for coins and pottery during the Archaeology Day Camp.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)