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1. How can I participate in a dig?
It is essential that you be a member of FOSA to participate in archaeological excavations. Once you express an interest in participating in an excavation, you will be placed on the emailing list for field-work participants for future notification.
2. When, and how long, are digs scheduled for?
FOSA members participate in digs that are usually needed at relatively small sites where there is no money available to pay a contract archaeologist. The urgency of the excavation and the site characteristics determine the amount of time needed at the site to salvage all pertinent information. This could be 1 or more days a week. Hours are generally 9:00AM to 3:00PM.
3. What should I bring with me? What should I wear?
For starters, figure that you're going to get dirty and sweaty ... since you'll be working outside, probably in the hot sun. Wear stout shoes, and whatever else is appropriate for the time of year and the projected weather. In the fall, you should dress in layers.
As for equipment, bring a 5-inch triangular "Marshalltown" or similar masonry trowel, a shovel of a spade type, a 1- inch paint brush, a metal or plastic dustpan, an English-metric tape measure, a clipboard and pencil, and if possible a line level (one that can be clipped to a string). A brown fedora is optional; however, a bullwhip is probably unnecessary (this is, after all, Connecticut). Having tick spray and insect repellent available is strongly suggested.
You might also want to consider bringing a folding chair, lunch, and plenty of water!
4. OK, what about going potty?
Good question. The location of any given excavation site will vary; meaning that you could find yourself in the middle of a construction site, an abandoned field, on a hill/mountain, or in the woods. Nevertheless, if sanitary facilities are not available on-site, there will be some close by.
5. What about souvenirs?
No souvenirs. No exceptions.
6. Will our site excavation results be available on this FOSA web site?
No. FOSA exists to assist the Office of State Archaeology in its excavation and related activities. However, all information resulting from excavations is filed in the archives of the OSA and the Connecticut Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut. Artifacts found on private property belong to the owner of the site; and are distributed at their discretion.
Information on collections available on the web can be accessed starting at: CAC web site .
7. How many sites are there in Connecticut? Why can't we more easily get information about them?
Perhaps surprisingly, over 5,000 archaeological sites are listed in the Connecticut site files These sites date from over 11,000 years ago and the first peopling of the state, up to 50 years ago. However, many of them no longer exist: they're now buried under highways or other constructions, excavated away, lost to natural activities (e.g., erosion), and so forth. Others are on private property and are not publicly available.
The OSA does maintain an database of sites in Connecticut; however, while site information is available, sites' locations will often be restricted. Further, depending on the site, some restrictions may be placed on who gets to see various parts of the documentation.
A primary reason for these restrictions is to prevent information getting out to potential site looters. Also, many of these sites are on private property whose owners do not want information to be made available.
That said, there are a number of archaeological sites in Conncticut which have been designated State Archaeological Preserves. Informational booklets on many of these are available. For a listing of these sites, please click CT Archaeological Preserves.
If you have specific questions about archaeological sites in your area, it would be best to contact the Connecticut Archaeological Center to begin your inquiries.
What Is Archaeology?
Archaeology is the scientific study of peoples of the past: their culture and their relationship with the environment. The purpose of archaeology is to understand how humans in the past interacted with their environment, their material culture (artifacts), and each other; and to preserve this history for the present and the future.
A Summary of What Archaeologists Do
A Summary of What Archaeologists DON'T Do
Where Can I Learn More About Archaeology?
There are a number of reference materials available and suggested in this web site, which you can access by clicking
the Resources link. And, of course, attendance at the
Adult Field School and Student Field School sessions, which are noted in the
Digs: Site Activities page.
Note: As part of the Adult Field School, Dr. Bellantoni will generally present a series of slides which provide the attendees with an introduction to the basics of Archaeology. In February, 2013, these slides were incorporated into the Special Features section of this web site, which you can access directly by clicking Introduction to Archaeology.
It should be noted, however, that while this web site will provide a (very) high-level overview of Archaeological activities and resources, it should not be looked upon as an introductory "Archaeology 101" source. Rather, if you are interested in gaining a more in-depth understanding of archaeology (outside of a degree program, of course), we encourage you to investigate local community colleges and online course listings for archaeology-related courses and materials. For example, by clicking this link ANT*121: Introduction to Archaeology you'll find an overview of an introductory archaeology course, offered by Manchester Community College in Manchester, Connecticut, from its 2011-2012 course catalog. This can be considered a typical introduction to archaeology. A search on "archaeology" within its web site will also present a summer version of the course, as well as courses in related subjects, a typical characteristic of most college web sites.