Quantcast

Teachers Gather at Montpelier to Extract Artifacts, Pass on Findings to Students

Posted: Updated:
Teachers from across the country gathered at Montpelier on July 11 Teachers from across the country gathered at Montpelier on July 11
Teachers are looking for patterns in order to learn about history Teachers are looking for patterns in order to learn about history
Montpelier is inviting anyone to come out and participate in a dig Montpelier is inviting anyone to come out and participate in a dig
The experience also offers these teachers a chance to bond The experience also offers these teachers a chance to bond
ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Teachers from across the country are getting dirty for a good reason at James Madison’s Montpelier.

They’re digging through the dirt at this historic site in the hopes of extracting ancient artifacts that’ll teach them more about American history.

Montpelier's archaeological program is helping teachers learn more about history so that they can pass the knowledge along to their students.

“Ceramics, glass, bones..,” says Matthew Reeves, who is the director of archaeological and landscape restoration at Montpelier.

These teachers are working alongside an archaeological team.

“What we're finding is in this particular area where the trees were, are all kinds of 18th and 19th century artifacts,” says Reeves.

Three years ago, Montpelier started partnering with Archaeology in the Community Foundation to allow teachers to join the dig.

“During our study of Native Americans, where I might create a dig - actually a site for students - and prepare artifacts that they can uncover and learn during the time period,” says Meg Connors, who teaches second grade.

By finding artifacts and noticing patterns, people are able to learn about history and the time period from which it came.

"It's always exciting to find ceramics with an identifiable pattern, not only because it's exciting to be able to see that picture and what the the slaves would have used in their home, but then we can also date that pattern with working with some of the ceramic experts,” says Reeves.

Although this program lasts only a week, teachers gain a wealth of knowledge from the experience and can then pass along their findings to their students.

"We learn about history typically in schools, but we don't really always understand how we know all of this about history and I think also archaeology is not a well-understood science and that it is not just digging in the dirt,” says Connors.

And there’s also a good team bonding experience in all of this.

“What I think people enjoy is being part of a team and feeling they've made a contribution to our understanding of James Madison's Montpelier,” says Reeves.

Montpelier has hosted these archaeology programs since 2006, and nearly 1,000 people have come to take part in a dig.

Employees encourage anyone to come and be a part of this learning process.