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History surfaces in Perry County, scoop by scoop - abc27 WHTM

History surfaces in Perry County, scoop by scoop

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For a group of Perry and Cumberland county youngsters, it was a chance to dig into history. Literally.

"Each one of you are going to have a square. Okay?," asked Victor Hart, director of the Historical Society of Perry County's archaeological team. "You're going to have a unit."

Hart was addressing a group of home schooled youngsters about to participate in a supervised archaeological dig on the grounds of the centuries-old Clark's Ferry Tavern building in Duncannon, all looking for direct links to the property's past.

The three hour dig was part of an on-going dig on the borough-owned property that has been underway for a year. The weekly excavation sessions are conducted by history buffs, students and scouts, under the supervision of volunteers from the archaeological team.

Volunteer Tom Prescott says getting young people involved is crucial to the project's future. "Nine years ago when we started this project in western Perry County, the whole premise was to get kids hands-on experience with archaeology. We wanted to get them out in the field to see what it's really like. And that's still our main purpose."

As the junior archaeologists sifted the soil through a screened tray, Hart, a retired West Perry school teacher, encouraged them not to miss even the smallest of items. "Give it a good shake," Hart said to the kids. "It's not going to hurt anything."

Throughout most digging sessions, most items found are not historically significant. But, they're still exciting.

"I have a pocket knife that I found," declared one young digger. "It's pretty rusty, but it was a cool find."

Another digger loved her find, too. "A perfume bottle," she said, holding it up to her nose. "It has a broken cap so you can still smell it."

But, sometimes, the newly uncovered treasures do open eyes.

"The biggest surprise, probably were the projectile points that we found just two weeks ago that date back to about one-thousand B.C.," said Prescott, pointing to carefully labeled clear plastic bags holding ancient artifacts.

Of course, it's exciting finds like these that keep diggers digging.

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