Archaeology rocks the park

Published 9:06 pm Friday, July 6, 2018

More than 100 kids came to Bennett’s Creek Park Friday morning to clean, fix and analyze real artifacts from the Fairfield Foundation.

“We live in Virginia and we have all this history under our nose, and it is neat that these kids get a hands-on experience with this,” said Suffolk Public Library staffer Deborah Ward.

Fairfield Foundation, headquartered in Gloucester, helps promote education and preservation of Virginia’s history.

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The foundation provided three different activities for the kids to do at the park. There were stations set up for the kids to wash artifacts. Kids of all ages were using toothbrushes and water to get the dirt off of clam shells and potsherds.

Most of the kids were enjoying putting plates and bowls back together at another station. The broken plates and bowls weren’t real artifacts, but it gave the kids a chance to see what archeologists do in real life.

The last station gave kids a chance to draw artifacts that they could look at in a glass case.

While many kids came as parts of groups and summer camps, a lot of parents made their way to the park to spend the morning with their kids.

“I just want them to get them a new experience. I am trying to explore and widen their horizons,” Melissa Calvin said. “My favorite part is seeing their excitement with all the hands-on activities.”

Calvin and her kids are spending their first summer in Suffolk, and they have been going to plenty of the summer library activities to get outside the house.

The activity was a good educational outlet for summer camp groups. Darren Myers, the owner of Virginia Martial Arts Center, brought his summer camp kids to the event.

“This is a good time for them, and it is also educational,” Myers said.

Family Fridays have been a big success for Suffolk Public Library, and the archaeology event was proof.

“I like how excited they are. Normally we do a program and it will only keep their attention for a few minutes, but they have been excited for the whole hour,” library staffer Mary Rossiter said.

The event not only provided some education about Virginia history and the preservation of artifacts, but it was a great time for children to work together, Rossiter said.

“It’s important to be in a completely different space and still provide quality programs,” Ward said.