HHS Community Studies

Student Destiny Gregg sketches a piece of pottery that was found.

Handley High School's Community Studies and plant biotech classes recently wrapped up their five-day archeological dig with Tuskegee professor Dana Chandler.

Last year the group discovered some pretty interesting artifacts at their dig site right outside of Roanoke. This year the new crew used the information that last year's group had gathered from the dig site to decide the precise location in the same area to start digging.

The dig began on Monday and lasted through Friday with an additional day on Saturday for the community to join in as a fundraiser for Randolph County Historical Museum. On Tuesday Camdon Sledge found a chunky stone, and its discovery set the tone for the rest of the dig. At the end of the day, HHS history teacher Merredith Sears summed up the day explaining that the crew had found multiple Copena points, knives, a huge chunk of pottery, a tripodal bowl, a tool used to "stun" animals and a fire pit inside of what they presumed was a home.

"You could say we got the most accomplished in any Day 2 of any of the digs in the past 10 years," Sears said. "We even found an arrowhead!" Sears also explained an arrowhead is about the length of a dime/nickel, and contrary to popular beliefs, very few arrowheads are ever found.

Over the length of the dig, the group found several other significant artifacts, including a gorget, which is a specially carved type of pendant that was worn around one's neck, and ochre, which is a soft-pigmented stone that would be ground up and used as war paint.

Jennifer Kirby and her biotech class performed water and soil tests while on the dig. They took note of the changes in the creek and the land to get a better understanding of Native lifestyle. Kirby's class created a topographic map. Sophomore in Kirby's class, Jykarii Horton, described his experience throughout the week and said, "It's been an interesting learning week." Horton talked about the fact that he learned about Native trading through the artifacts they had found. All artifacts found during the dig were returned to the property owner.

On Friday the group did find several cool artifacts, but the real discovery confirmed the presumption of the house. "No major artifacts today," says Chandler, "But a lot of major stuff." Chandler explains he was not just speaking about the educational aspect of the dig but also the social aspect. During the dig many students of different ethnicities, all from different backgrounds, came together to get the job done, but with or without realizing it, made special friendships in the process.

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