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Howard Community College Anthropology Class Unearths Civil War Artifact While Prepping Site for Public Archaeological Dig

October 2, 2012

Service-Learning Class Project to Provide Real “Digging” Experiences in Archaeology To Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Adults, & Children 

Columbia, Maryland - Nineteen students in Howard Community College’s ANTH 110, Global Archeology class, just had a really good “digging day.”  The students excavated a “Union button” straight from the Civil War as they prepped an archeological site for an upcoming dig that they will lead with the public this weekend.  The community college class is excavating on a parcel of land at the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, MD that is associated with a mid-18th century to early 20th century mill. While excavating what appears to be a domestic dwelling, the students in the class have also unearthed an authentic period glass jar, pottery, nails, clay marble, and more. Howard Community College (HCC) students will continue prepping the archaeological site on Friday, October 5, at:

  • 8:45 – 10:00 a.m. (6 or more HCC students will be on site)
  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. (1 or more HCC students will be on site)
  • 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. (1 or more HCC students will be on site)

There’s hope to spread the love of digging. As part of their class service –learning assignment, ANTH 110 students will lead Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, adults and children in the community through the formal process of an archeological dig on Saturday, October 6, at the Nature Robinson Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia.  The class will divide the community members into three groups at three different start-times:

  • Group 1 will begin their dig at 9:30 a.m.
  • Group 2 will begin their dig at 10:30 a.m.
  • Group 3 will begin their dig at 11:30 a.m.

The service-learning project that ANTH 110 is participating in is designed to have HCC students in the class educate members of the community about archaeology and provide an opportunity for them to experience archaeology first-hand. The students in the class are also helping to discover and preserve the history of Howard County. All finds related to the site will be part of formal excavation reports, which will be submitted to State Archeologist Dr. Charlie Hall.

The unique service-learning assignment is a collaborative archaeological research project formed between the Robinson Nature Center and Howard Community College. The project has been designed in part to create a valuable training opportunity for Howard Community College students interested in pursuing the field of anthropology.  Led by Dr. Laura Cripps, noted archaeologist and HCC assistant professor of anthropology, the project will now be a regular component of ANTH 110. The service-learning project is equally made possible by Howard Community College’s Center for Service Learning and the work of the college’s Director of Service Learning Brittany Budden with Robinson Nature Center Program Manager Meagan Leatherbury.

About HCC
Howard Community College (HCC) is a publicly funded two-year community college serving the educational needs of the citizens and employers in Howard County, Maryland since 1970. With its slogan, “You Can Get There from Here,” the college has forged a variety of partnerships to offer career and transfer programs to over 30,000 students annually at its main campus in Columbia, the Ecker Business Training Center, Laurel College Center, and Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education. Located midway between two major metropolitan areas, Washington DC and Baltimore, MD, Howard Community College is an affordable, community-based institution that has long been recognized for its ability to inspire learning, and the lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. Among its many awards is the prestigious U.S. Senate Productivity Award for organizational performance excellence.