I spent half a day on Saturday volunteering at the excavation of a canal lock in Newark sponsored by The Works and directed by Allison Galbari. So far, excavators are removing layers of fill dumped into the lock over the years since its abandonment. I was surprised at the abundance of historic artifacts in the fill. I worked on sifting buckets of excavated dirt through the screens. We found nails, broken glass bottles, pieces of ceramics, and other fragments of Newark’s past. One of the best things about this project is that The Works recognized the opportunity to introduce kids to the science of archaeology in a setting of historical significance where everybody in every excavation unit is finding bits and pieces of their heritage. Being able to make this kind of direct, physical connection with your communitys past and, at the same time, contribute to telling a part of Newark’s story for future generations can be a profoundly moving experience for kids of any age.
Opportunities to help out with the dig continue for the next two Saturdays (see the July 14 Blog for details), but even if you don’t feel like getting dirty, stop by the excavation and say ‘Hi’ to the present and future archaeologists. One of the highlights is the marvelous wall mural that makes it easy to visualize the historical context of the site and the importance of the canal for the City of Newark and the history of transportation in Ohio. For information about how you can help, contact The Works at http://www.attheworks.org/