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Hands-on learning for Lindenwood archeology students

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) - If the mud from Mound City (a nickname for the St. Louis region) could talk, what a story it might have for Lindenwood archeology students.

“We’re excavating a French church that used to be here; or what we believe used to be here,” said Gwyneth Vollman. “It was built in 1791. It was the first permanent church of St. Charles.”

Lindenwood University’s Archeology Department is spending the next five weeks below street level in downtown St. Charles. Using hand tools, the field school is giving students an idea of the labor involved in this major.

“Very little shoveling, actually; simply because we have so many artifacts and shovels destroy those pretty quickly,” said Steve Dasovich, Ph.D., Lindenwood University Archeology Department Chair. “So we do it by hand. We can see what it is that we’re running across and we keep them in as big of pieces as possible.”

When dealing with dirt, one actually has to be tidy. After all, the ground can be grueling work, what with all the digging and dusting. Once they’ve collected enough clay, the students have to shake it up, and do some sifting. To suggest that soil is beneath these Lindenwood ladies is downright silly.

“There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh, damp soil,” said Kimberly Byrnes. “It’s amazing. It smells like spring and summer and childhood. It just smells amazing.”

“I found two knife blades and possibly a third one,” Vollman said. “It came to a full point at the end and was very interesting just sitting on top of a rock that I uncovered.”

And they’ll continue unearthing history this summer in historic St. Charles.