Washtenaw Community College hosts first archaeology fieldwork experience

June 13, 2022 Fran LeFort


archaeology field experience
An archaeology field experience will be conducted on the WCC campus this summer. Students can earn two credits over a six-day excavation schedule and community volunteers are welcome on two Saturdays. (Photo courtesy of Julia Jablonski)


A first-of-its-kind archaeological survey and dig on the Washtenaw Community College campus this summer hopes to reveal clues about previous activity in the area and serve as a teaching opportunity for enrolled students and community volunteers.

The Archaeology Field Experience will provide hands-on instruction in archaeological survey, excavation and artifact analysis provided by professional archaeologists.

The two-week Summer semester experience will be conducted Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays July 21-23 and July 28-30. Each day will begin with a classroom component followed by the site dig and clean-up. A second experience is planned in late September for the Fall semester.

WCC students seeking to earn two credit hours for the course may register for ANT164: Archaeology Fieldwork Experience at wccnet.edu/learn/register/.

Community volunteers may attend free of charge on the two Saturdays only, July 23 and July 30, and may register at tinyurl.com/ArchaeologyField22.

The 295-acre WCC campus sits between East Huron River Drive and Clark Road, just south of the Huron River. Students will work on an unforested section near East Huron River Drive.

Phase I of the archeological survey includes shovel digging small holes in a grid pattern to determine the distribution of artifacts and potential next steps in further excavation.

Field experience is an essential prerequisite for working in the area of cultural resource management, and the new course creates an opportunity to learn fieldwork skills on the college campus.

Findings will be processed and analyzed in WCC’s science laboratories.

In 1965, the college purchased the land from the Franzblau family, which had been farming on and operating the land as Huron Farms since 1946.

The Archaeology Field Experience is being organized by WCC’s Department of Social Sciences and will be led by department chair Dr. Christopher Barrett and professional archeologists Andy Stachowiak and Julia Joblinski.

“Our goal is to impart some of the skills needed to be able to perform work in the field. And while learning those skills, there's a chance to discover and experience archaeology in our own backyard,” says Stachowiak, a WCC alumnus and professional archeologist who works primarily to preserve and document historic and prehistoric sites. “We will all have a chance to forge a connection between ourselves and those that came before us as we investigate the cultural heritage that is (hopefully) right under our feet and all around us.”

For additional questions about the course, registration or volunteering, please contact Dr. Christopher Barrett at [email protected].


Tags: Archaeology Field Experience, Campus, Community enrichment, June 2022, On The Record, STEM

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