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Digging up times gone by

Jason Rawls dumps material on to a tray and will sort this larger material into nails, glass, ceramic, and brick pieces. Selena Hebert, field lab supervisor, said nails may appear curved or straight. She said the curved ones indicate they were pulled out of wood while the straight ones likely fell by the wood around them burning

Arcadia Mill invited the public to join the University of West Florida’s field school Friday, part of UWF’s division of anthropology and archeology and uncover a piece of Santa Rosa County history. The Ezekiel Simpson plantation “big house”, built around the 1830s, burned down in 1935 according to Adrian Sams, archeological site manager. In the lab, guests worked with bagged and tagged samples of soil according to field lab supervisor, Selena Hebert, taken right from the site itself just a short walk away. Participants used two screens of different sizes and a tray to separate the samples into large objects, small objects, and dirt. Then, UWF archeology students helped attendees identify what they were finding and separate natural debris from metal and ceramic objects. Once participants finished “rough sorting” the samples, they were led up a gravel hill to the site of Simpson’s home to see what students have found so far. Sams said, “This summer, we’re trying to find the brick piers and get the house’s dimensions. We’re less focused on deeper questions.” Roy Oberto, Arcadia Mill Museum Education Coordinator said, “The ultimate goal is to gather family information from around the house through archeological and historical research.” The field school runs every Friday in June and July through July 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This article originally appeared on Santa Rosa Press Gazette: Digging up times gone by


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