CAPE MAY COUNTY, NJ (WPVI) — Students from Stockton University carefully dug up and cleaned the dirt on the grounds of the Cape May County Museum.
In the past few months, they have found pieces of shoes, marble, animal bones and fine china that probably date back to the 1700s.
“It’s cool to know that you’re the first person in a couple of hundred years to touch something like this,” said Alex Rivera, a junior at Stockton University.
The students are part of a new field archeology class with the goal of learning more about the history of the Cape May Courthouse property during the Revolutionary War.
The classes are part of a new history project for the museum.
“John Holmes owned this property,” said Bobbi Hornbeck, Ph.D., an archeology specialist. “We know he’s an important player in terms of how Cape May County contributed to the Revolutionary War.”
Hornbeck, a Stockton graduate, designed the class to give students some work experience early in their careers.
Students say that such hands-on research among students is rare.
“It sounds mundane, but I learned a lot about soil and rocks that I didn’t really know,” said recent graduate Noelle Engelbert. “I know it’s very important when you go into this field.”
“Archaeology is one of those disciplines that, I mean, you can read it in textbooks, but a lot of the terminology and concepts don’t make sense until you get into the field and pick up a trowel. all kinds of clicks. It all kind of comes together,” Hornbeck said.
For Englebert, it solidified her career choice.
“I think we can learn a lot from history. And if we can find out what they did, how they lived, how they managed to get through life,” Englebert said, “I think that’s important, and we can learn a lot from that.”