The Sandusky Dig

Evy Brunelle ~ News Editor

     As the last few weeks of the spring semester wrap up, the Historic Sandusky House has been welcoming students and excavating artifacts. 

     Ashani Parker, a senior, said, “At Sandusky, I am a lab technician, meaning I access and catalogue artifacts that come in from the field sites. On campus, I am president of the Archaeology Society and a member of the Archaeology Advisory Board. I help make the archaeology major more accessible and profitable for students.” 

     Parker explained what has been happening at the Historic Sandusky House. “We have had a fair amount of students sign up and continue to participate,” she said. “These students have learned a lot in a short time. Furthermore, they are enjoying the process of excavating. Currently, they have been finding a lot of ceramics and a few old coins that have been particularly helpful in dating the site.” 

     However, Parker explained that she is working on other things. “I am not currently participating in the dig as I am processing artifacts in the archaeology lab, but the dig was organized as a joint effort by faculty and staff from Historic Sandusky and the Archaeology Department on campus.” 

     Parker also said, “To join the Archaeology Society, a student merely needs an interest in archaeology. No experience is needed because our goal is to introduce students to what archaeology has to offer. Any interested student can contact me at parker_aa@lynchburg.edu or Dr. Christie Vogler at vogler_cm@lynchburg.edu.” 

     Jessica Gantzert  from  Hurt and Proffitt explained that they were contracted by Sandusky to perform the excavations. “We are a company in town that works doing cultural resource management on a contract basis, so groups like Sandusky or other companies can hire us if they want to know more about the past on properties they own. We had a long standing relationship with Sandusky and the college, so when Sandusky wanted to excavate their kitchen, we arranged a partnership to do the work and give students a chance to try out archaeology to raise awareness for the new minor at the college,” said Gantzert. 

     She reported success, saying that they have had a pretty good turn out so far. “We have it split into two shifts (morning and afternoon) to try to account for everyone’s schedules, and this seems to be working well. We have an upcoming public day scheduled on May 8 that will be open for everyone in town. We are hoping to have a lot of alumni and students come out!” 

     Gantzert said, “The University of Lynchburg students have been so passionate about working on an archaeological dig and have been so much fun to work with. They have been screening the dirt that was dug up already for artifacts, and have found some really interesting pieces. It is a good opportunity to get out of the dorms for a little while and meet new people in a COVID-safe way, and also to do something unique that most people have not done.” 

     Gantzert is the principal investigator for the site, but also works as the Laboratory Director and Conservator for Hurt and Proffitt. “That means I oversee the daily activities, monitor students working in the field and in the lab, and manage the artifacts once they are brought into the lab for processing. I also do a lot of the coordinating with the college to get the word out and get more students interested in the dig. We have a google drive sign-up sheet that I have linked here where students, faculty, staff, and their friends and family members can see the days we are working, and sign up for a shift to come dig with us!” 

     In order to sign up to work at the dig site, you can fill out the google sheet below: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Eog-1J7keNH5svmeCty9bsRSM6q7KO4t7X3f1-X7_0Y/edit?usp=sharing  

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