A CONTINUING COLLABORATION WITH
This exclusively field-based program, now in its third year, aims at familiarizing participants with the professional excavation of human remains from archaeological contexts. Participants will work side by side with professional archaeologists and bioarchaeologists in the excavations of a historic cemetery in central Ohio (HTCC).
The cemetery, located just 20 minutes away from downtown Columbus, was originally established as early as 1804 to serve as a burial ground for the local community. Due to its proximity to the Ohio-Erie canal, the site was subsequently used as a resting place for victims of the infectious disease cholera – an infection of the small intestine that killed tens of millions of people worldwide through various pandemics since 1815. The cemetery remained in use until 1859.
Preliminary investigations at the site have revealed the presence of several single burials with predominant east-west orientation, which appear largely undisturbed and lined up in the western two thirds of the cemetery. Several tombstones or simple markers are scattered throughout the field, but evidence of vandalism and consequent removal and restoration attempts by the township administration suggest that their current location does not mark any specific graves and does likely not correspond to the original layout of the cemetery.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES OF THIS PROGRAM
The excavation of the HTCC site is a multifaceted project with potentially important implications for reconstructing relatively unknown events in the history of the county, for shedding new light on the lives of individuals too poor to be visible in official histories, and for gaining insights on a disease that reaped millions of lives during the 19th century and that persists in the developing world today. Specifically, the primary goals of the research projects are:
- Locating individual and mass graves, which, following years of neglect and several episodes of vandalism, are no longer marked. If gravestones can be found, they will be erected to mark actual grave locations, thus restoring the cemetery’s original appearance.
- Reconstructing the life conditions of the individuals buried at the site (for both cholera victims and non‐epidemic burials);
- Providing accounts of the life and social identity of canal and farm workers, who are often stereotyped and almost invisible in historical accounts due to their low socioeconomic status;
- Investigating the presence of Vibrio cholerae at the site by conducting soil analyses aimed at amplifying and identifying ancient DNA, ultimately with the goal of studying human/pathogen interactions;
- Comparing skeletal and genetic characteristics of cholera victims and non‐victims to determine whether certain factors predisposed individuals to perishing from the disease and possibly improving modern approaches to treating the disease.
PROGRAM STRUCTURE & SCHEDULE
The field experience is designed to provide participants with first-hand experience of the archaeological and bioarchaeological field methods applied in a professional excavation. Typically, participants will work alongside researchers in a variety of activities, including survey, excavation of human remains, and documentation of findings. Given the research focus of the project, no formal lectures will be held and the didactic components of the field experience will be limited to hands-on excavation and work under the supervision of senior personnel.
Excavation will take place daily, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, with a short lunch break. All participants will be required to attend a general orientation at the beginning of the program, and daily briefings in the morning prior to starting fieldwork. IRLAB does not provide meals, lodging or transportation as part of this program, and participants are expected to make their own arrangements.
While this is a field-based program, lectures may be offered in times of inclement weather or to supplement learning objectives.
JULY 3-28, 2023
TUITION AND FEES
Cost: $ 1,250.00
The cost listed for each session covers Field School activities (excavation practice, lectures, laboratory activities and instruments).
Students will be required to pay fees in full within 15 business days of receipt of the invoice in case of admission. In case of student withdrawal, all fees minus a non-refundable deposit of $500 will be refunded.
This program welcomes professional archaeologists, students from any US and international institution, and interested community members. Although run independently of a specific university, participants may obtain academic credit for their participation in the program through independent study. We have a decade of experience working with students, their advisors, and administrative staff to develop customized independent study plans.
Participants must provide information on their health and complete a physical examination.
Participants must have valid health and injury insurance and must provide the insurance provider’s contact information, as well as the policy number, including a proof of tetanus vaccination (or booster) within the last 10 years.
All participants must read and accept the terms of the IRLAB Participation Agreement to participate in the program; a signed release form must be submitted prior to the start date of the field experience.
The IRLAB Sexual Harassment Policy applies to: faculty, staff, student employees, students, and volunteers. The University administration, faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers are responsible for assuring that the University maintains an environment for work and study free from sexual harassment (read more…)
Executive Director / PI
Giuseppe Vercellotti, Adjunct Assistant Professor, OSU
Francesco Coschino, Università di Pisa (Italy)
W. Scott McGraw, Ohio State University