Students learn about archaeology with professionals at 2018 Sappington Dig

Teacher Abigail Dairaghi and student Angelo Saccente excavate a plot of land outside Sappington House last week. Photo by Jessica Belle Kramer.

By Jessica Belle Kramer

For the Call

Local high-school students are working side-by-side with professional archaeologists and college graduates  on an archaeological dig through this weekend at the Sappington House in Crestwood. The students are excavating the grounds to, hopefully, make new discoveries this summer and uncover more history about the 210-year-old house.

Students and graduates of Lindbergh High School and other area schools are working on the third annual dig, which is open to be viewed by visitors from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day through June 16. Members of the public can talk to the diggers and ask them questions.

Robin Jorcke has been involved with the dig since it started in 2016. He works for the Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis and supervises all of the excavation work done at the dig. 

Over the course of their expedition, the researchers have found the house’s summer kitchen and are currently in the process of verifying whether or not they found the cistern.

“You have historic records, but they don’t tell you about everyday life, so we can find things and associated artifacts and features,” Jorcke said. 

The artifacts that the students find help researchers understand how people lived hundreds of years ago.

Along with the archaeological successes of the dig, Jorcke also appreciates the students learning throughout the process. The students receive on-the-job training from their teachers as they work, she said. 

Incoming 11th-grader Caleb Colton is grateful for the opportunity to explore his interest in archaeology.

“I’ve learned how archaeologists work,” Caleb said. 

The students have also learned how to map dig sites, clean artifacts and use the artifacts to examine how people back then lived.

Along with learning, the students also enjoy the time they spend with their teachers.

“I think I’ve liked cleaning the artifacts the most so far, but it was also pretty exciting when Mr. Bostic found a big piece of teacup in the unit we were digging,” Caleb said.

The students’ head teacher, Steven Bostic, started working on the dig last year while completing his master’s degree at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Bostic is proud of what the students get out of the program. 

“Experience, first of all, for the students, as well as validation of their careers and just giving them something to look forward to,” Bostic said.

Along with Bostic, the other researchers are happy to be working alongside such enthusiastic students.

“A lot of the success is that they get into the work, and they’re good workers,” Jorcke said.

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