Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zumwalt South Student Excited about Training in Archaeology

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zumwalt South Student Excited about Training in Archaeology

Article excerpt

Beth Skomal, a junior at Fort Zumwalt South High School, really digs archaeology after spending six weeks this summer on a scholarship at the Center for American Archaeology at Kampsville, Ill.

For the first three weeks, said Beth, "We learned how to actually excavate, once at a late Woodland (archaeological period) site (at Evie near Kampsville) and then at a historic site where a log cabin had stood." The cabin, known as the McCully cabin, goes back to the 1850s.

The next three weeks, Beth says, she and the other students worked on research supervised by a mentor and took field trips to such places as the state museum and an artifact collection center at Springfield, Ill., Cahokia Mounds and the St. Louis Science Center.

At the Evie site, an Indian site from 900 A.D. to 1300 A.D., Beth's group obtained samples of different soil layers from holes dug by a hydraulic core rig. The rig dug down from one meter, about 39 inches, to about five meters.

She said, "We described the samples and then made a map that showed how deep the layers across the site are because of such forces as erosion. Since the layers are not even, it helps the archaeologist to know how deep they could expect (to find) artifacts."

In the evenings, she said, "We had lectures from different professors who would talk about projects they had done or were doing. We got to find out what their careers were like."

Beth was the only scholarship winner from St. Charles County among the 34 high-school students from throughout the country. She is 16 and lives in St. Peters. She is interested in the field and wants to study anthropology in college.

"I want to try it, but it depends on what other programs might be available from other institutions," she said.

"It was kind of neat," Beth said, being with "a whole bunch of students interested in the same thing that I was. We did experimental archaeology. We tried to reduplicate the artifacts that the Indians made during the time period they lived."

She and the others also learned such crafts as pot making, basket weaving and flint knapping (making stone tools), usually in the evening, because their days were full. …

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