The children learned through involvement with hands-on activities in a Dig the Past event, which included sifting through dirt to find real artifacts loaned by MSU’s teaching education collection.
The event was sponsored by the archaeology program, which is part of MSU’s Department of Anthropology.
Participants dug up arrowheads and other artifacts that were hundreds of years old, then examined the material under microscopes.
The event was meant to provide a real-life simulation of an archeologist’s job, ?teaching people that archaeology isn’t simply about digging up dinosaur bones.
“The purpose of Dig the Past is to educate and engage visitors to the museum, primarily children, about what archeologists really do and what archeology is really about,” said Adrianne Daggett, a ?doctoral candidate in the anthropology department.
Anthropology and history junior Allison Apland said she became more passionate about teaching others what it feels like to discover something after conducting a field school study in Belize during the summer.
“I think that archeology is something that’s really good to learn hands-on as opposed to just sitting in a class, ?and especially for kids, I think it’s a really cool hands-on experience,” Apland said. “It’s good practice to just be able to explain how it works and teach people why it’s important.”
The event attracted visitors from all over the state and ?even from outside Michigan.
MSU alumnus Rick Halker of Sylvania, Ohio, was passing through the area for his ?son’s hockey game this weekend ?and found the event online.
“When I told them that this was going on today on the way up, this is what they were most excited about,” Halker ?said.
“They were both asking a lot of questions, and (it) looks like the people helping and running it were teaching them pretty well.”
Next semester, the MSU Museum will host four more sessions similar to Dig the Past, with one session each month.
“If they walk away from it with a sense of what archeology is versus what paleontology is, that archeologists don’t dig up fossils, then I mean that’s something,” Daggett said.