Lincoln College is providing an opportunity for children, with their parents, to visit Creekside, the College’s Outdoor Center for Environmental Education, and to participate in a free simulated archaeological dig from 9 a.m. until noon on August 8-12.

Creekside Director Dr. Dennis Campbell said, “Digging into the ground with a small spade or big wooden toothpick might not be your idea of a good time, but your school-aged child will think it would be fun and unbeknownst to them, educational.”

Dr. Campbell would like for students in the Lincoln area to have one last chance to get outdoors before school starts. During the archaeological participants will be taught professional archaeological techniques and invited to use those skills to uncover artifacts to help define the life ways of people of the past in Central Illinois.

The artifacts were placed and buried a year ago in the simulated archaeological pit at Creekside. A multitude of weather events over four seasons have converted the area into a realistic situation that requires archaeological methods to uncover them. These buried objects will hopefully stimulate thought as to their value in past cultural settings.

Dr. Campbell stated this archaeological simulation is a trial run for possible week-long archaeological summer day camps in the future.

The dig site at Creekside is along Sugar Creek; a hot-bed of outdoor educational development showcasing the varied landscapes of the present (both natural and agricultural) and providing a possibility to speculate on landscapes of the past.

Humans have been an important component of making the transition between past and present land use. Already Creekside has seen the translocation of a log cabin, built by Lincoln resident Pete Fredericks, out to the Pioneer Area of the property about 4 miles due north of the Lincoln College campus. This log cabin will serve as a backdrop to the archaeological excavation.

When Lincoln College students return in a few weeks, a re-dedication ceremony will highlight this new contribution to Creekside. The local Rotary Club has been working on a boardwalk—called the “Peoples of the Past Boardwalk”—that leads from the activity lawn of Creekside out to the Pioneer Area. And as with the case of most farmlands near Lincoln, the corn and soybean fields that surround the property adjacent to Sugar Creek are continuously revealing pioneer and Native American artifacts and features.

The simulated excavation sessions will reveal the proper means of digging, recording, and interpreting the physical remains of the people who lived in the area. All equipment will be provided by Lincoln College to accomplish these tasks. All ages may participate in the free excavation.

The excavation pit will be covered with a canopy and ice water will be available at no cost for participants and onlookers. If it is raining and you and your child are committed to working in such conditions, be sure to bring your own rain gear.

The community is invited to come and observe for one or more of the mornings during this simulated archaeological excavation. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants can bring a packed lunch and beverage to extend their time at Creekside after the excavation each day of the week.

There is a lot to see and explore at Creekside besides the archaeological dig. Enjoy a teaching pavilion, a fire pit and council ring, a parking lot retention pond, a greenhouse, an Insectarium (screened-in area with a wide variety of insects and their kin feasting on native plants), and numerous trails that wander through a forest and to and along a creek.

Creekside is approximately 4 miles due north of Lincoln, Illinois, off of County Rd 2000N, halfway between 1225th St (Nicholson Road) and County Road 1100E (the offshoot off of old Rt 121 at the Bell Station curve). Off of Co. Rd 2000N take the gravel road (large Creekside sign and Small-Edwards Trace road sign) to the parking lot of Creekside. At the parking lot look to the west for the forest and follow the sidewalk/boardwalk/grass trail to the log cabin area and the excavation site.

For more information contact Dr. Dennis Campbell, at 217-735-7260 or dcampbell@lincolncollege.edu.