By Madeline Barillo
A high school student who digs ’s archaeology program has found an ancient spearhead more than 4,000 years old at an NCC-sponsored archaeology dig.
Chelsea Dean, 18, a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, took NCC’s Introduction to Archaeology (ANT 121) course during the fall 2011 semester to explore her career interests.
“I have an interest in archaeology and thought I might want to major it in college, but it’s a very limited field in terms of colleges offering it as a major, so I decided to get a taste of it before I applied to colleges,” said Dean, a Fairfield resident.
Dean loved the course, especially the accompanying field work. “We had a weekly opportunity to go to an actual archaeological site in Redding, Connecticut, and help with the excavation,” she said.
At the site, Dean worked side by side with archaeologists, NCC students, and members of the college’s Archaeology Club. She hit pay dirt just minutes before the group packed up their tools for the close of the fall dig season.
On the last hour of the last day of the season, Dean made a remarkable discovery.
“I found a projectile point that is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old!” she said. “It’s like an arrowhead. The section I was working on had a lot of stuff coming up, but nothing was complete. When the actual projectile point came up, it was the first intact artifact I found.”
Professor Ernest Wiegand, coordinator of the NCC Archaeology as an Avocation program, said Dean discovered a spearpoint made of white quartz. This type of ancient artifact is known as a Burwell projectile point and was probably used as the tip of a spear.
“It’s the first one of this type found at the Redding site. It dates to somewhere around 2,000 or 1,800 B.C. and may be even older than that,” Wiegand said. “Chelsea was very excited!”
The Burwell projectile type, defined by archaeologist Dr. Lucianne Lavin on the basis of her work with Lyent Russell at the Burwell-Karako site near New Haven, Connecticut, dates to the Late Archaic period and has been found associated with other point types of the “Narrow Point” tradition in Connecticut.
“One of the things I learned taking the course is that I want to continue with archaeology, whether it’s a career or recreational,” Dean said. “It can be tedious and tiring working at digs--and you get sore because you are sitting at weird angles--but I think it’s really rewarding.”
The NCC Archaeology as an Avocation Certificate Program is designed to train the amateur archaeologist. Successful completion of the certificate enables students to participate effectively in archaeological excavations at home or abroad. The program offers a wide variety of courses including physical geology, forensic science, cultural anthropology, world prehistory, Indians of the Americas, historical archaeology, surveying and advanced techniques in archaeology.
NCC’s Archaeology Club meets for monthly programs and fascinating lectures led by nationally renowned archaeologists. The Archaeology Club holds laboratory sessions every Thursday evening (except for Club meeting nights) from 4:30 to 9:00 pm. in Room W015, located below the Atrium of the IT Center of the West Campus building.
Madeline Barillo is director of Marketing and Public Relations at Norwalk Community College.