LINCROFT — A unique opportunity is taking shape this summer at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.

Students can take part in real archaeological excavation as the field school studies the Cornelius Low House in Piscataway and New Jersey Revolutionary War-era history.

Anthropology professor Matthew Kalos, who will be teaching the course and heading up the dig, said the course will be offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from May 16 to May 27, from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Georgian manor that overlooks the former 18th and 19th-century port community of Raritan Landing.

This is an opportunity for students to learn about New Jersey history and explore what the state was like in the 18th century, said Kalos.

Cornelius Low acquired the property in 1741. Kalos said it was an interesting family because they had a multitude of leanings during the American Revolution that they were merchants. They were working on which side they want to ally on the Crown Forces or with the Patriots.

Kalos added that while many think the 18th century was unified in people wanting independence, there was a lot of cultural diversity.

Archaeological field work (Photo Credit: Michael J. Gall of the Archaeology Society of New Jersey)
Archaeological field work (Photo Credit: Michael J. Gall of the Archaeology Society of New Jersey)
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So, he said he's excited about the opportunity to look at the material culture that's related to this period.

Cornelius Low House is listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Places and currently holds the Cornelius Low House Middlesex County Museum.

During this summer course, students will learn about history, archaeology, material culture, and environmental sciences.

"Students will literally get their hands dirty. We're going to have them excavating test units. So, they're going to learn about the archaeological methods, the techniques for excavation, mapping the site, recovering artifacts through sifting," he said.

However, they do not get to keep the artifacts. They will remain with the property which is owned by Middlesex County.

But the students will get to touch and explore objects that have not been touched or explored in hundreds of years.

Artifacts (Photo Credit: Michael J. Gall of the Archaeology Society of New Jersey)
Artifacts (Photo Credit: Michael J. Gall of the Archaeology Society of New Jersey)
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Registration for the class is open. There are 15 spots available. Go to www.brookdale.edu and search for the course, entitled Anthropology 216.

Kalos said this dig is a very unique opportunity because it's typically not offered by a community college. It's typically associated with four-year universities or professional companies that do archaeology.

"To have this offered at the community college level is really exciting for our students and people in the region," Kalos said.

Anyone can sign up for the course. It does not have to be an anthropology major.

But Kalos said this course could be a resume builder for students who want to pursue careers in museum studies, archaeology, anthropology, history, and living history. It's a great opportunity that's not really offered elsewhere.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: