Watson spent two weeks last summer digging in the dirt, looking
for her past.
an Oneida Indian, was part of an archaeological dig run jointly
by the Oneida Indian Nation and Colgate University.
anthropology professor Jordan Kerber, about a dozen Colgate students
and several Oneida youths dug and sifted for artifacts from an Oneida
village, just north of present-day Munnsville, was occupied from
about 1590 to 1620, Kerber said.
found clay, an old nail, a bead, and a quartz arrow point. But there's
one thing she remembers most: "It was hot."
a much cooler day Thursday, Kerber and the Colgate students presented
their findings at the nation's Shako:wi Cultural Center in Oneida.
found 2,000 objects, Kerber said.
of the objects are returned to the nation after they're analyzed
found stone tools to pottery to European objects to trade beads
to metal objects to metal projectiles to food remains," Kerber
said, pointing to the sealed plastic bags on the table in front
of him. "We found maize, beans and squash - all three sisters."
Thursday detailed the exacting process of archaeology, from marking
grids to digging test holes to sifting the dirt through 1/8-inch
screens to cleaning it all up with a toothbrush. They're still working
on the report.
students, it's a chance to get their hands dirty in the field instead
of reading books in a classroom.
would have to say it's the best class I ever had at Colgate,"
said senior Kaitlyn Mitchell, a sociology and anthropology major.
"Once you get out there and you're actually finding these things,
you realize it's somebody's heritage. We realize how important it
is to the Oneidas."
digs help the nation uncover its past, said nation historian Anthony
Oneida children are learning more than the techniques of archaeology,
helps them better understand their heritage," he said. "One
of the obvious benefits of having kids work with professionals is
it gives them an idea of what we're dealing with."
said the Oneida Nation may be the only tribe in the United States
that has reacquired its own archaeological sites.
program with Colgate began nine years ago, said Randy Phillips,
the nation's Youth-Work-Learn Program coordinator. About 70 Oneida
children have participated in the program, he said.
kids have an opportunity to actually do archaeology, where in schools
they read about it and see pictures in a book," Phillips said.
"They're working with professionals and college-level teachers
and college-level kids, they're really held to a higher standard."
Watson said she learned a valuable lesson from her hours digging
and sifting in the hot sun.
takes a lot of hard work," she said, "to find something