Yesterday I took Merrick to the open house for the WMU archeology dig at Fort St. Joseph in Niles, MI.
It was not just a tour of the dig, but an interactive experience for children and adults. Musician’s played music from the time as living history demonstrators danced for, and with, members of the audience. Children could collect beads from various stations in exchange for asking them a question about what the person was doing or showing. They also had an area where children could pretend to be the archeologist by sifting sand to search for bones and other artifacts.
There was a lady making thread with a spinning wheel, there was a man dressed as a Jesuit priest, there was a blacksmith, someone explaining military rations for the time, and so much more.
I talked with the lady spinning thread about how everything was carefully made by hand at that time. Including the sails on the ships. Imagine how many hours it took to complete a sail. It is staggering. Today we buy clothes we never wear and throw them into landfills. Scraps from the machine cut cloth that eventually gets shipped elsewhere to be sewn into clothing is also thrown into landfills.
We learned from the Jesuit priest that all the priests had a PHd in at least one branch of science. He also did a thought experiment with Merrick regarding transportation. Having Merrick guess by looking at the map how goods were transported at the time (rivers), then asking him what might have replaced them (railroads), and then what replaced those (highways). He then discussed how drones are being tested to deliver items now and asked Merrick how he thought we might be shipping goods when he reached 40.
One of the most interesting things to me is that Students are digging under a 20th century landfill. The amount of waste in this small area is staggering. And it is so close to the water. I would love to see some of the metal and other recyclables in the area be returned to the industrial system before the these resources are beyond salvage, and for the unusable contents to be moved away from the watershed and into a contemporary, rubber lined landfill.
There were several activities we did not get to, but I plan to return next year.