Hesperia students participate in archeological dig.

September 3, 2015

FullSizeRender (13)_optHESPERIA — A group of local students spent a week working with US Forest Service archaeologists and Newaygo County Museum staff at a dig site near Hesperia.

The 10-12 year-olds began their week-long experience on August 3 to discuss tools and techniques with the forest service staff.  The dig site was a farmstead owned by the Booher family on Jefferson Road. The site was originally built in 1880 by John Maynard and later purchased in 1947 by Gerald and Crystal Booher.  By 1979 the buildings were razed leaving only the foundations visible. 

Participants began by surveying the site and identifying five units or areas to dig.  Students learned how to open the unit guided by the archaeologists.  The next three mornings they continued to dig.

Afternoons were spent at the Hesperia Community Library researching items found, listening to a presentation by Mariah Walzer, and interviewing Booher family members.  Walzer is currently an archaeology student and recently returned from a dig in western Canada.  One of the observers noted that the week-long experience was a “great opportunity to work with an actual archaeologist.”

FullSizeRender (12)_optBy Thursday each of the units had been excavated.  The students then had the opportunity to open two additional units.  By noon on Thursday all of the units were closed and soil and grass were replaced.  The afternoon was spent identifying items and planning exhibits.

On Friday students completed their exhibits and were able to share them with friends and family.  The students shared their experiences of the hard work of digging and in the research of each of the items. They investigated how each item was used, whether or not it exists today and what life during the 1800s and early 1900s was like.  Kay Brennan, Hesperia Community Library director, noted that it was a great opportunity for the library to utilize the local history collection and work with the Newaygo County Museum. 

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