Hudson -- A Hudson High School senior and nine University of Akron archaeology students spent three weeks digging up the past in a new Metro Park in the city.
Archaeologist Linda Whitman teaches at the University of Akron and brought her students to Wood Hollow, a new 177-acre Metro Park, Serving Summit County park on Barlow Road.
"We're doing an archaeological investigation for Metro Parks," Whitman said. "Metro Parks doesn't have to do it, but they want to know what cultural resources are on their property."
Whitman said she began with shovel testing and found evidence of chert flakes and shatter, by-products of manufacturing stone tools. She set up a grid to bring students to investigate for further signs of early inhabitants.
There are five excavation units at the site to give students experience in archaeological fieldwork.
Because the site was once a farm, there is a plow zone, or area near the surface that was disturbed by farming. The students had to dig down about 10 centimeters below the plow zone to see archaeological features. Each site is two meters by two meters.
"The features gives us more information on how people lived," Whitman said.
Hudson High School senior Alayna Gould said she is interested in anthropology and archaeology and attends lectures, which are open to the public, at the University of Akron. Gould said she had never been to a dig before but lives on Barlow Road.
"This is my backyard," Gould said. "This is a cool experience."
University of Akron senior Emily Cavalier said if they find a feature, it will be in the interface section of soil below the plow zone.
"I like history and you have to learn from the past," Cavalier said. "The more we learn about the past, the better we make decisions for the future. There are so many lost civilizations out there yet to be found. Each new discovery helps us to know a lot more about where we came from."
Information also is obtained from looking at the environment of the site, Whitman said. The small rise of the site shows that the silt loam soil drains well. The surrounding wetlands and kettle lakes provided resources for food and the raw materials for making reed mats, for housing and baskets.
Gould sifts through the soil collected from the dig sites and collects anything of interest.
"I'm looking for chards or charcoal to show to the others," Gould said.
University of Akron seniors Eric Olson troweled, which scrapes off thin layer of soils to show changes in color and features in the soil.
"Students learn to trowel correctly and measure each level," Whitman added.
University of Akron senior Ian Rediske troweled by hand the topsoil to the subsoil interface at a new site.
"I've always had a passion for history, and it's vital we pay homage and respect and catalog our history," Rediske said.
Whitman photographed each level when completed, and students drew a plan view of the floor of the site. Artifacts are placed in separate paper bags for each level and labeled.
"Students have found by-products or flakes of making stone tools called 'debitage,'" Whitman said.
Although no spearheads have been found, they have found ash and charcoal, which could be used to date the sites, Whitman said.
University of Akron senior Jared Ropp has work as a landscaper but said this work is a different type of excavation because everything is methodical and well-documented.
"You can go back and recreate what you took out of what level," Ropp said. "If we hit a feature earlier, the shape could have changed as we excavated down. We want to see that in a drawing as well as in a photograph."
The dig was set to finish Aug. 16, but work will continue in the laboratory as they wash the artifacts and look at them.
"I'll look at notes, soil samples and carbon dating," Whitman said.
Whitman also will look at the soil disturbed when workers begin to create the drive and parking area in the park.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing