Students experience archaeology first hand - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Students experience archaeology first hand

COON VALLEY, Wis. (WXOW) – Middle and high school students from around the region spent Wednesday shoveling holes and sifting through dirt. It's part of a summer program offered by the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center that gives kids a glimpse into the life of an archaeologist.

“A lot of kids start off as young kids they want to be archaeologists,” said Connie Arzigian, Senior Research Associate with the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center. “But they don't really have an opportunity to know what that means. They see Indiana Jones, they see other things that aren't really archaeology. That's not what archaeologists really do. And so what we want to do is give all kids an opportunity to find out what archeology really is.”

The program gets kids out in the field at a real archaeology site.

“I could barely sleep last night,” said Mason Lown, 6th grade student. “I was like 'I got to get out here! This is going to be so much fun!'”

“If you're digging for a while and you're getting nowhere,” said Danielle Beisecker, 10th grade student, “and suddenly there's something it makes it all worth it.”

They work alongside professional archaeologists and use real excavating tools and techniques.

“This is real archaeology,” said Arzigian. “And we're holding them to all the standards that we would hold a professional archaeologist. So they're getting the real experience for that. So we have the kids doing everything.”

“It makes you feel kind of special,” said Lown, “that you actually get to be with the real people that actually get to find the cool stuff.”

Later this summer and into the fall, the artifacts found during the dig will be analyzed, and the kids will go back to school. But their experiences will stay with them.

“This really brought out my interest,” said Beisecker, “that I really, really want to do this.”

“You learn more at archaeology camp,” said Lown, “than you would spending thirty hours playing video games a day.”

The excavation is taking place on part of the Norskedalen Heritage Site west of Coon Valley. The excavation started on Monday and ends on Friday.

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