Today (October 17, 2020) is International Archaeology Day!
It’s a day to celebrate archaeology and its contributions to society, and Ohio History Connection is honored to be part of the event this year with our Archaeology Month event!
To me, archaeology is important as it provides another avenue to study humanity- this time through the lens of the things people leave behind. This is especially important with regards to cultures and parts of society that leave behind no written records or for parts of life that no one typically writes about. For example, written records don’t tell us about the trash accumulated by George Washington’s family at Mount Vernon, life in the Civil War prison on Johnston’s Island, the lives of the slaves at James Madison’s home, Montpelier, or (a little closer to home) how people lived in pre-contact Ohio. Archaeology, however, can tell us about these things. Additionally, archaeology can also confirm things written in history, such as the existence of the ancient city of Troy and how the Battle of Wabash was fought. Therefore, archaeology is a way to learn and confirm things about history through material remains; it helps tell us who we are and where we came from.
Artifacts in situ in a privy found on the Christian property at the Warren G. Harding Home and Museum.
A way to celebrate all things archaeology is through International Archaeology Day (IAD). The event was first started as National Archaeology Day in 2011 by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). According to the IAD webpage, the original 2011 event was celebrated in four countries with over 115 programs and 15,000 participants. Since then, the event has grown to include over 900 events in over two dozen countries by 2017. For the past several years, Archaeology Day at the Ohio History Center has been one of those events.
This year, we (the planners of Ohio History Connection’s Archaeology Month) are extremely grateful to the AIA (to Meredith and Ben specifically) as they put together a series of sessions dedicated to planning IAD events. These sessions brought together archaeologists from all over the world to discuss their plans for this year, how to handle in-person events during the pandemic, what works and doesn’t work virtually, how to put together archaeology kits, and more. It was through these sessions that the ideas and activities for our event materialized, giving us a diverse online event that hopefully you all have enjoyed.
We also learned about a lot of cool technology and events that we currently can’t do at Ohio History Connection. These include 3D models, online scavenger hunts, self-guided virtual exhibit tours, and more. For other cool archaeology activities not seen in our event, check out IAD’s events page. Many of the events are virtual this year, which means you can enjoy all different types of archaeology from the comforts of your own home!
Thanks again to the AIA and all those who participated in the IAD sessions!