Scientists, students, and volunteers unearth late 17th– and 18th-century objects behind Sellman House
by Sarah Hansen
Volunteers excavate a new pit at the “Shaw’s Folly” site behind Sellman House.
On a sunny June afternoon at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, students and volunteers are hard at work in a cornfield behind the Sellman House. Some shovel soil out of pits. Others screen it with giant sieves, looking for artifacts. Still others use trowels to smooth the bottom and sides of the pit, hoping to reveal differences in soil coloration and texture. This scene will repeat every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from about 9a.m. to 4 p.m. until June 20. Guided by Laura Cripps, acting Chair of Social and Cultural Sciences at Howard Community College, and Jim Gibb, head of SERC’s Archaeology Lab, the group is excavating a site that contains objects and building materials that provide a window into 17th– and 18th-century life.
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