Campus: Sonoma State University -- May 19, 2003

Excel Students Will Help Unearth Fort Ross Fur Warehouse In Archaeological Project on Jun 7-8

Sonoma State University's EXCEL students will thrust back through time as they assist local archeologists in the reconstruction of the early 19th-century Russian fur warehouse at the historic Fort Ross in northern California.

The students will camp over on the site, located west of Highway 1 near Jenner, on June 7 and 8 as they work with professional archaeologists.

Leading the eager young discoverers is Michael Newland, a staff archeologist from the Anthropological Studies Center at SSU, and the Crew Supervisor for the Fort Ross project. The Department of Parks and Recreation contracted SSU's Anthropological Studies Center (ASC) to assist in the reconstruction from May 27 through June 13.

In the summer of 2002, Newland taught an intensive class in archaeology to a group of students, ages ranging from 8-13 years old, through the EXCEL program at SSU. "I threw everything in the book at my students last summer and they tore right through the material. I was completely surprised at how sharp and capable they were," said Newland.

This unique opportunity to scope out the Fort Ross project is a gift to remember. "It's really going to be an amazing experience -- to use the techniques we learned, to get dirty, and to start digging," said Elena Hoffnagle, 13-year-old EXCEL alumni.

Newland said, "I want to give these kids, who have already expressed a strong interest in archaeology, the chance to do the real thing This experience will expand their training and engage them with the past."

The EXCEL Program give students entering the fourth through tenth grades an opportunity to attend accelerated enrichment courses. This three-time award-winning program for youth gives enthusiastic students the opportunity to explore their interests in depth by professionals and mentors.

For further information, contact Mike Newland, Anthropological Studies Center, (707) 664-2734.

Contact: Jean Wasp, Media Relations, (707) 664-2057

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