Kids are Scientists and Engineers Too – Archaeology Fieldschool for Kids, University of Connecticut

UConn Kaset blackboard

The Day of Archaeology 2014 coincides with the final day of archaeology fieldschool for the University of Connecticut’s Kids are Scientists and Engineers Too (KASET) program, which is sponsored by the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center. The 2014 KASET archaeology fieldschool focused on training 5th-10th grade students in archaeological field techniques, which they employed to document the remains of the 18th century Farwell House.

A typical day of KASET archaeology consists of excavating to recover slag, bricks, metal, bone, ceramics, glass, and other material culture associated with the Farwell house and its previous residents. The goal of the KASET students is to document the “leftovers” from the Farwell house property to inform present day students and the public about the daily lives of 18th century farmers in rural Connecticut.

Farwell house unit excavation

Students use trowels to carefully locate artifacts while excavating one-meter units. Once the students complete a 5-centimer level, they map the soil and rocks in the planview of their unit.

Farwell house screening

After mapping, the students screen soil through quarter-inch mesh to collect smaller artifacts, like ceramic and glass sherds.

Farwell house metal detecting

In addition to traditional meter excavations, the 2014 KASET archaeologists employ metal detecting to pinpoint and retrieve metal objects located near the Farwell house. Interesting metal detecting finds include a line of barbed wire, machine parts, and a 1917 penny, all of which illuminate the long-term use of the Farwell house property as part of the University of Connecticut’s agricultural complex.

Farwell house washing artifacts

Once the provenience of the artifacts is recorded, the students wash and inventory the artifacts. In the coming weeks, the artifacts will be analyzed and a report will be created so that future KASET archaeologists can continue “collecting pieces of the puzzle” used to reconstruct the history of the Farwell house with the goal of considering past, present, and future land management strategies for preserving historic archaeological sites.


I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of many volunteers in the archaeological community who assisted the KASET students in the fieldschool. Special thanks are due to the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology (FOSA) who provided additional tents to shade our screening area from the hot July sun! Thank you all very much for your help. The success of the fieldschool is due in large part to your participation!