U.S. Forest Service Hosts Archaeology Dig

A team of students is digging up the pre historic past in the woods of Perry County.

The U.S. Forest service is supervising an archaeology project in the Desoto National Forest. They're finding clues about life in South Mississippi more than 5,000 years ago.

"It was a modern quarry, but we found evidence for a pre historic quarry that Indians were actually mining the rocks around here," explained Robert Reams, who is supervising the dig.

Student archaeologists unearth clues from the past by carefully digging and sifting.

"Well, I hope to learn something about Native American archaeology, which is very different than what it's like back home," Matthew Collins said.

Home for Collins is England. He's among several visiting archaeologists taking part in the U.S. Forest Service Heritage Program. Finding arrowheads and pottery is quite different from his projects back home.

"Well, mainly Roman and pre historic archaeology back in the UK. And the big difference is we find a lot of coins. And a lot bigger artifacts back in the UK. Like buildings and things like that," he explained.

Digging up small squares of dirt is a slow but precise process.

"The deeper you go, the later in time you go. So we can date artifacts and if they're near something we can tell where they lived, what kind of activities they had at the time," Reams said.

Brooke Jamieson fell in love with archaeology as a child in New Zealand.

"I liked finding things as a kid. Digging up the garden and stuff. So it just progressed from there," Jamieson said.

She advanced from digging up the garden to searching for pre historic settlements. Jamieson is excited about this American adventure.

"I can't imagine doing anything else. Not many people can say they actually followed their dream right from the start. So it's great fun," she exclaimed.

Great fun, even though it's not exactly like the adventures of Indiana Jones.

"There's no rats or Nazis, but we've got ticks and biting flies," joked Robert Reams.

Students from the University of Southern Mississippi also assisted in Friday's dig.

So far, the findings have been limited to a few pieces of pottery and arrowheads.