Volunteers Join Archaeological Dig

Dozens of volunteers will spend this week digging up dirt in Desoto National Forest. They're part of an archaeology team that's searching for pre historic Indian artifacts.

The U-S Forest Service oversees the project, which is part of a program called "Passport in Time".

They set up their outdoor history lab in Desoto National Forest off a dirt road near Brooklyn. Volunteers are busy digging up the dirt. And shaking the dirt.

Pre historic Indians roamed these woods from 6000 BC to 900 AD. The team is looking for certain signs from those ancient times.

"Anything from projectile points to pottery to flakes and hopefully other things like house remains, fire hearths, that kind of thing," said project director, Robert Reams.

It's quite the adventure for nine year old Cody Powell. He's on excused absence from school. His assignment is to bring back a report on what the dig discovers.

"Probably hatchets and arrowheads. It's better than school 'cause in the classroom you have to listen to your teacher all day," said the Ellisville second grader.

The project also attracted a former history teacher from Pearl River Central. She's finding fun in amateur archaeology.

"This is our first day. So, we're really just beginning. Just starting. This is great fun. I've enjoyed it. You have to love dirt. And get into the dirt," said Clara Howard.

The dig itself is a delicate, time consuming project. But participants say the real thrill is in finding an artifact. These dirt detectives say once you find something, you're hooked.

"It's amazing how excited you can get when you find something like that too. It's good stuff. It doesn't interest everyone, but those that do really get a charge out of it," said Dale Portmann of Arkansas.

The big dig continues through next wek.