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Victoria College digs up interest for archaeology (video)

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 13, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:14 p.m.

Jud Austin, a volunteer with the Museum of the Coastal Bend, leads museum curator Eric Ray through a series of sites near Nursery where the museum is sponsoring an archaeology academy.

TO REGISTER

• WHAT: Archaeology 101

• WHEN: 5-9 p.m. March 1; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 2; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 3 (field day), deadline to register is Friday

• WHERE: Student Center, Victoria College, 2200 E. Red River Street

•  COST: $95 for members, $155 for non-members (includes Individual Membership), $165 for non-members (includes Family Membership) - $135

•  HOW: Register online at www.txarch.org/forms/academy/index.php

Whether it's reading about King Tut's tomb or watching Indiana Jones, archaeology has joined the ranks of romanticized, venturous professions.

And for those who have yet to satiate their dreams of digging for historic artifacts, there's a chance for those faded aspirations to come true.

Over the course of three days, the Museum of the Coastal Bend, Victoria College and the Texas Archeology Academy will offer a semester's worth of instruction.

"It's a couple day class that's designed to take people who have always wanted to know about archaeology but have maybe never had a chance to do it," said museum curator Eric Ray. "They actually get a chance to go out and dig and see what they can find on a real site."

Victoria and Kerrville were chosen as the Texas Archeology Academy's two sites for its 2013 workshop series. Each academy features PowerPoint presentations, a manual and hands-on activities to reinforce concepts presented.

"The idea is to show people what archaeology is and how it works," said Harry Shafer, archaeology professor and course lecturer. "Archaeology is a science; we want to show people how they can contribute."

Shafer and a team of volunteer archaeologists will be at the site where students enrolled in the weekend class will learn how to preserve and report findings to the professionals.

CoBALT, an area archaeological group made up of about 10 volunteers, takes in artifacts that are found by the public and puts them through an intensive research and preservation process.

"Pinching pretty little points is not the only thing this is about," said CoBALT volunteer Bill Birmingham. "When people find an artifact, that's just the beginning of the story."

The academy's aim is to promote study, preservation and awareness of Texas archaeology.

"Every site is a little bit different. It depends on whether you're working on a 19th-century homestead, some of the early settlers of Victoria County, or whether you're working on a shipwreck or whether you're working on a Native American site that goes back 10,000 years," Ray said. "Every different site has different artifacts that give us a different view of the people who lived there and gives us a different window into the people who have lived wherever you're working."

The deadline for registration is Friday.

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