In Class News

January 6, 2022 at 3:35 pm

OHIO students get taste of archaeology at ancient Virginia site

Dr. Joseph Gingerich and students at a Virginia dig.

Dr. Joseph Gingerich and students at a Virginia dig.

From Ohio University News

Dr. Joseph Gingerich, an associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University, and his students recently had the chance to take part in a rare experience for undergraduate students. A select group of professors, students and alumni traveled to Virginia to take part in an archaeological dig on a 13,000-year-old site from Nov. 4-13.

The site provides some of the oldest evidence of human activity in the Eastern United States, but due to erosion and fluctuating water levels in the area, some of that activity can be difficult to document. Gingerich said that the erosion is a mixed blessing.

“Erosion has alerted us to their presence, but it’s a difficult situation as these sites are being lost so fast,” Gingerich said. “Our goal is to locate areas that are still preserved, so we can understand more about past lifeways.” Gingerich started working on these sites five years ago with funding from National Geographic and additional research grants that he received provide opportunities for students.

Working on this site provides a rare and valuable opportunity for undergraduate students still honing their skills. “Many of the students are using advanced mapping techniques and advanced collection techniques. So, it provides unique training and skill sets for students moving forward,” Gingerich said.

In 2017, the College of Arts and Sciences renovated a new state-of-the-art lab space for the anthropology and archaeology program. Gingerich noted that students are not only gaining field experience but important lab skills that will aid them in careers in archaeology and museum studies.

Read the rest of the story at Ohio University News.

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