Brookdale Community College offers unique summer course for archaeology
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.
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.
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.
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