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Public invited to archeological excavation in Pottawatomie County

Volunteers will have an opportunity to participate in the Kansas Archeology Training Program field school June 4-19.

The Kansas State Historical Society and Kansas Anthropological Association will join forces with the University of Kansas and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to investigate the Coffey site (14PO1), located along the Big Blue River in the Flint Hills region north of Manhattan.

This site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will help researchers document the life ways of hunter-gatherers on the Plains during the Archaic period, around 7,000 years ago.

Volunteers Anita Frank, Topeka, and Jerry Finke, Madison, S.D.

Volunteers Anita Frank, Topeka, and Jerry Finke, Madison, S.D., at work on a dig along the Big Blue River north of Manhattan. Researchers want to document the life of hunter-gatherers on the Plains 7,000 years ago. Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

This time of harsh climatic conditions forced drastic changes in adaptation, technology, and social organization among prehistoric groups. In recent years parts of the site have been lost due to erosion by the river. KATP field school participants will salvage archeological information from this site.

The public is welcome to participate in the field school lab and excavation. No experience is necessary. Participation can be for all or part of the project. May 2 is the deadline for the lowest registration fee.

For full details and registration information, log on to kshs.org/p/kansas-archeology-training-program-field-school-2011/14622.

Project headquarters will be at USD 323 Rock Creek Junior-Senior High School at Flush, beginning June 4. Registration, the artifact-processing lab, and some classes will take place at the school. Visitors can stop by the field school lab, see artifacts being processed and get directions to visit the excavation site. Another opportunity to learn about the project is at orientation, 8 to 9 a.m. daily from June 4 to June 18 at the school.

Free evening programs are open to the public at the Westmoreland Community Center starting at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. They include Bob Workman’s presentation of Introduction to the Flint Hills Discovery Center June 5. At Collectors Night, June 8, the public is invited to bring artifacts for identification by archeologists.

Chemical Process of Clay into Pottery by Steve Wilke is June 11 and June 13 Dr. Donna Roper will present Stillman Cemetery in Manhattan. June 17 at 6:30 is the project summary, a review of the research to date on the Coffey Site. Pre-registration and a nominal fee for the meal are required at RCJSHS. The summary will begin after the meal; no fee is required. Monitor the web site for further program announcements.

The field school offers formal classes that can be taken to earn college credit through Emporia State University or simply to learn more about a particular topic.

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