This post is by team member Mikaela:
This weekend Eckley Miners’ Village was home to Patch Town Days and the archaeology team discovered that the numerous artifacts in our lab and the well-excavated site on Back Street fascinated many visitors exploring the streets of Eckley. It was a weekend full of rain, music, pierogis, and a whole bunch of archaeology.
On Saturday, the first day of Patch Town Days, it unfortunately poured rain all day long. But, nonetheless, that didn’t stop people from coming to see Eckely and to learn about life in a coal-mining town. We spent the day in the lab washing, labeling, and learning how to catalogue the plethora of artifacts we have found this summer.
We had visitors coming in to watch us process the artifacts and learn about what we have been finding at the site. Fellow archaeology student, Esther was gracious enough to give the groups that came in a tour of the lab and explain some neat things about the drying artifacts. She was number one docent for Patch Town Days! We also had a wonderful reunion with Shannon and she seemed very excited about the things being found in the last unit she worked on. Despite the weather, it was still a good day.
On Sunday, the rain let up quite a bit and I was able to go out and dig in my unit in the basement of house #38. I got a lot of work done and was also able to share my knowledge of the unit to the people who stopped by the site. Dr. Shackel gave the visitors an overview of the project and then led them over to the basement where I explained my work in the excavation unit. However, there was a point when Dr. Shackel left for lunch and numerous groups proceeded to show up while I was at the site by myself. I had to take matters into my own hands and do my best to explain everything that I’ve learned thus far about the project and archaeology in general. I felt like it was a really great experience for me and it reassured me that I have learned an immense amount since I got here.
Overall, Patch Town Days was an amazing and wonderful experience. I enjoyed everything from the various vendors, to the delicious pierogis and halupkis, and the constant music playing throughout the town. But most of all, I enjoyed sharing archaeology with those people who stopped by.