Piecing Together the Past; Archaeology Museum Gives Hands-On Work

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 18, 2004 | Go to article overview

Piecing Together the Past; Archaeology Museum Gives Hands-On Work


Byline: Gabriella Boston, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

At this time of year, the ground often is frozen, making digging virtually impossible, but the Alexandria Archaeology Museum still makes sure students of archaeology, whether children or adults, can learn about the art and science of historic digging.

On Fridays, for example, the museum, located in Alexandria's Torpedo Factory Art Center, features archaeologists and volunteers cleaning and cataloging some of the museum's more than 2 million artifacts. Visitors not only get a chance to see archaeology at work, but also can ask questions about preservation and history while the work is going on.

"We want to show archaeology in action," says Francine Bromberg, an archaeologist at the museum.

The "action" includes the process by which archaeologists identify what period an artifact is from (by looking at such things as material and shape as well as in what context the artifact was found) and how shards fit together to make up a whole, whether it's a plate or a cup.

In fact, the museum invites children to try their hands at putting together pieces of earthenware. On a table close to the entrance of the tiny museum, five place mats each contain dozens of pieces of broken pottery.

A sign next to the place mats says: "You be the archaeologist. Can you put these plates together?"

Some of the shards make up plates, others cups. The children use tape to hold together the cup or bowl they piece together.

"I think archaeology gives kids a chance to touch the past because it's so tangible," Ms. Bromberg says. "It's exciting to see and hold things that were made hundreds of years ago ... in the case of Native American artifacts, thousands of years ago."

The museum's artifacts, some of which are displayed in glass cases, include American Indian points that are up to 10,000 years old and teacups and beer bottles that are a few hundred years old.

Staff archaeologists, such as Ms. Bromberg, don't only have museum duties. They also help the city review building permits to make sure valuable clues to the country's past are not destroyed when additions or new buildings are constructed in Alexandria.

It was during one such review that Alexandria's first pottery studio was found in the soil of an Old Town resident's back yard, Ms. Bromberg says.

The first local potter was Henry Piercy, who moved to Alexandria from Philadelphia in the 1790s. When Piercy set up shop in Alexandria, it meant tavern owners were able to buy local kitchenware for the first time. In the past, everything had been imported, particularly from England.

Usually in summer and early fall, the museum conducts family digs, in which parents and children can work at an actual archaeological site for a day.

"Everybody has fun and learns something," Ms. Bromberg says. "Even the toddlers find something to do, even if it's just banging with the trowels. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Piecing Together the Past; Archaeology Museum Gives Hands-On Work
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.