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Digging In!

Camp participants search through sieved earth for items of cultural value.

Pieces of pottery, tiles and chicken bones were amongst items retrieved during a recent archaeological dig by participants in a Cayman Islands National Museum archaeology camp.

Thirteen excited youngsters eagerly worked trowels, buckets, sifters and zip locks, hoping to find something of cultural significance in Miss Lassie's South Sound yard.

While organisers kept their fingers crossed for the kids, they believe that the experience itself comprised the biggest treasure the kids took with them.

Cayman archaeologist Andrea Balderamos, who recently returned from college where she majored in anthropology, said she hoped the camp would help kids understand how significant archaeology is to culture.

National Museum Education Coordinator Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette explained, "You can learn a lot about a society, just from the garbage you find. The campers learned how to find and set up a site, to do a proper dig, and to catalogue the items they found."

Thirteen-year-old camp participant Tariah Lemay said she chose the camp because she liked the thrill of not knowing what she'd find.

Camp participants search through sieved earth for items of cultural value.

"It's a surprise when you find certain things," she said. "You think it's one thing, but when you go into the history you find out that it's much more than that.

"We felt really excited about the site because there were a lot of different things we could look forward to finding that would allow us to examine aspects of Miss Lassie's life. The camp taught us to think and be specific about items, as well as about their history."

Another camper, ten-year-old Zoe Conolly-Basdeo, said it was her interest in science and archaeology that drew her to the camp.

"I thought this would be a great opportunity to explore what archaeology is all about. The whole camp was exciting and an awesome opportunity for me. It was really fun and I'd encourage anyone who's interested in archaeology to do it too."

Participants work the dig site under the watchful eye of formally-trained archaeologist Andrea Balderamos (left).

As the two-week camp drew to an end, Mrs. Suckoo-Chollette noted that there were plans for several others.

"Some parents were very interested and wanted to come to camp too," she mused, "So we'll be organising something for them soon."

She also said that permission had already been secured to set up dig sites at the Harquail Theatre and that permission was being sought for one at Pedro St. James.

Any items of cultural significance recovered during the museum's archaeology camp will be catalogued and sent first to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, then on to the museum for selection. Unselected items will be returned to the dig site.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Kenisha Morgan