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Victoria digs its history at De Leon Plaza (video)

By Bianca Montes
June 14, 2013 at 1:14 a.m.
Updated June 15, 2013 at 1:15 a.m.

A small item is revealed after  several hours of slow digging with a trowel.  Moments later, when it was dug free, it turned out to be a plastic item.  The Dig Our History Days will run from Friday-Monday, with archaeology digs, lectures and guided walking tours.

Metal chafing against the rough earth filled the silence as six people sat tightly around an excavation site.

Scrape. Scrape.

It was a hot Friday morning, more than 90 degrees, and it was humid.

Sweat dripped down the side of a young woman's face as she intently stared at the ground. "I think I found something," she yelled out, breaking the lull.

"Oh," she cried seconds later, "it's a twig."

The group erupted in laughter.

Dig Our History Days began its four-day celebration of Victoria's rich history with a public archaeology dig in DeLeon Plaza.

"Archaeology is one of those things people think happens somewhere else," Eric Ray, curator for the Museum of the Coastal Bend, said. "We want to change that."

Ray said the past is all over the place, and central hubs such as DeLeon Plaza are a great place to date Victoria history.

Christine Reiser Robbins, anthropology lecturer at Texas A&M Kingsville, said it's likely that most of the community has left its trace in the town square.

"Victoria is such an interesting place because it's at the crossroads of so many other communities," she said.

Omedi Arismendez, of Corpus Christi, came down with a group of classmates from Texas A&M Kingsville.

The group is currently taking an introduction to archaeology class for the summer.

In class, the students are learning about archaeology through slide shows, and this is the first hands-on experience for many of them.

"This is fascinating," Arismendez said. "I'm just amazed at the things we could find."

Arismendez said digging has taught her a lot about patience as well.

"You have to be sensitive to the ground," she said. "Make sure you don't destroy the ground."

The groups dug in two 1-by-1-meter excavation units, stopping every 10 centimeters to bag and date materials found.

The area was selected because old Sanborn maps show that a bandstand was located near the dig site.

Ray said all that is found will go to the Coastal Bend Museum to be cleaned and put together with a contextual story.

The findings from the dig will be available for the public to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the museum.



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