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Digging On Campus: Archaeological Field School Offers Exciting Experiential Learning Opportunity for Trent Students

May 16, 2017

Summer of archeological investigation begins at Trent’s Ontario Archaeology Field School

2 girls smiling and holding shovels in the dirt in front of Trent University

If you have visited Trent University’s Symons campus recently, you might have noticed some activity at the front entrance. If you’ve been wondering what’s going on, wonder no more. The site is a part of Trent University’s Ontario Archaeology Field School, a full-credit Anthropology course that runs each summer at the Peterborough campus.

According to field director and demonstrator for the Anthropology department at Trent, Kate Dougherty, Trent’s Symons campus was once the location of a nineteenth-century industrial cluster that played a significant role in the development of the Peterborough region. The dig this year aims to better understand the industry and the people that lived in this area at that time.

“These excavations add to other excavations we have done on campus relating to Nassau Mills. We are building up a collection documenting nineteenth century settler life, and the industrial mill complex of Nassau Mills,” Ms. Dougherty explained.

The dig also offers students the opportunity to gain experience conducting hands-on research in the field, and to apply skills in studied class during the academic year.

“There aren’t many other field schools like this in Ontario,” explained fourth-year Anthropology student Shannon Dwyer. “That’s what makes this experience so unique and so great. We’ve got a mix of undergraduates, masters students, and professors working here and we’re all from different disciplines.”

The field school will continue until early June. All artifacts recovered from the site will be used by the department of Anthropology for use in lab courses for student projects, and for researchers across Canada. Ms. Dougherty adds that the department is exploring options for what to do with the site once the dig is complete.

Learn more and view students’ daily artifact discoveries.