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29 April 2004
Archaeology on High School doorstep

Students from Sacred Heart Catholic High School at McClennan, Calhoun County (USA) have discovered the remains of what may be an ancient Native American hunting camp within a stone’s throw of their school. Anthropology teacher Chris Hill took his archaeology class outdoors to demonstrate the technique called a ‘shovel test’ – striking the surface of the ground to see if anything interesting lies under the topsoil. 17-year-old Allie Keys soon demonstrated the effectiveness of the technique by finding ‘debutage’, the waste fragments that result from chipping away stone implements. Classmate Kirsten Kline, 15, then found the base of a broken quartzite spear or arrow point. Other students then helped search the rest of the small site.
     Chris Hill was not surprised at the finds, on a wooded hillside just outside the school. “I know this area is rich in prehistoric and historic sites,” says Hill, who was an archaeological teacher and fieldworker at Jacksonville State University for 14 years before teaching social sciences at Sacred Heart. Hill speculates that the finds date back 2,000 to 3,000 years and, in the absence of a good local water supply, are evidence of a temporary hunting camp rather than a permanent village. Although the finds are not of major archaeological significance the exercise provided a valuable lesson for students and tangible evidence of the people who lived in Calhoun County for thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Source: The Anniston Star (17 April 2004)

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