Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Ed Shed at Jamestown Offers Archaeology for the Whole Family

Archaeologist and Ed Shed Manager Natalie Reid teaches young visitors how to find tiny artifacts in sorting material. (Chuck Durfor, courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery)

JAMESTOWN — Historic Jamestowne’s Ed Shed has officially opened for the summer for the first time since 2020.

The Ed Shed allows archaeologists of all ages to experience the moment of discovery and investigate artifacts from actual excavations, according to Historic Jamestowne.

“We’re so excited to open the Ed Shed again this summer after being closed since March 2020. Jamestown’s youngest visitors love exploring the active dig sites and seeing artifacts in the museum and now they have a chance to handle real artifacts and support our research into life on Jamestown Island,” said Staff Archaeologist Natalie Reid, who has developed a new master plan for children’s programming at the Ed Shed over the course of the last year incorporating pandemic safety measures.

Activities include sorting through 17th-century food remains like oyster shells to discover what people ate on the island, using advanced geographic technology to map archaeological features, identifying artifacts, and more. Visitors can touch and examine projectile points, beads, wine bottle glass, pipe stems, and European and Virginia Indian ceramics, all excavated from Jamestown Island.

A young visitor recently found a mussel shell bead, a relatively rare artifact, according to an Historic Jamestowne press release.

Historic Jamestowne said programs and activities at the Ed Shed will focus on teaching archaeological research and scientific methods, including STEM-based topics like geomorphology, remote sensing technology, surveying and mapping, and photogrammetry, adding that hands-on activities provide a richer learning experience for visitors of all ages.

The Ed Shed is supported by funding from the Donna J. and James C. Reagan Fund for Educational Programs and a grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Ed Shed is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, through August 6.

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